It was another interesting weekend in the Premiership, with 3 derbies on Sunday and action at both ends of the table.
At the top, things bunched up slightly with Arsenal, City and
all closing the gap on Man United who increased their points tally for the season by one making it an impressive 21 games unbeaten in the league this season. Chelsea
At the bottom, West Ham continue to struggle and their day ended with what looked suspiciously like a farewell from Avram Grant. Wolves put up a decent fight against
and look to have goals in their locker; it’s just a case of finding some solidity at the back. Perhaps if Mick McCarthy can find a centre half from somewhere they can pull clear of the relegation zone. Man City
I guess that the two main contentious issues from the weekend are the sending off of Rafael in the Spurs vs. United match and the fan hitting Steve Harper in the Sunderland vs.
The issue of fans entering the field of play is a difficult one. To have police or stewards around the pitch for every minute of every game would be an expensive business. Indeed, if police were used it would surely deflect resources from elsewhere where they are needed. On top of this, is it necessarily fair to treat all of the supporters as one and assume that the behaviour of the collective is as bad as that of the worst individual? On the other hand the behaviour shown is completely unacceptable and efforts must be taken to ensure that it stops. Extra policing or stewarding is one such method but another could be to introduce harsher penalties so that the consequence of misbehaving acts as an incentive not to. Unfortunately his is unlikely to stop those who have had too much to drink, especially in local derbies, and lifetime bans already exist for the worst offenders. Perhaps the Premier League could enforce that those games likely to cause trouble (
Newcastle vs. Sunderland, Villa vs. , Arsenal vs. Tottenham etc) are played as lunchtime games with local pubs closed before kick off? This could be added with reduced ticket allocations for the away team making the group easier to police. If, over a few seasons, the clubs behaviour is exemplary then the ticket allocation could begin to be ramped up again. Comparably, more trouble would see the ticket allocation reduce accordingly. Birmingham
As for Rafael’s red card I agree that the second one was a bit soft and that he didn’t appear to be attempting to trip Assou-Ekotto. However, the fact remains that he bought him down illegally (played the player without the ball) and gained an advantage from it. Had he not been booked it would have warranted a yellow card and therefore it should also be a yellow card having already received a booking. Furthermore I think that his first yellow card was fortunate in that the tackle was very high and some have suggested that it should have been a red. Ultimately over the course of the game the lad did comfortably enough to get himself sent off, including a waving a imaginary yellow card to the referee which has no place in the game. Players should learn to let the refs run the game and concentrate on what they are doing.
So another week passes and