About Me

Hi I'm Tom, a 24 year sports fan. I like almost all sports but in particular football, and in particular Chelsea FC. Other favourites are F1, golf, rugby union and cricket. In this blog I will attempt to cover any football topics that tickle my fancy including reviews of the past weeks action and any big stories, and I will try to be as un-biased as I possibly can (although we all know how hard this is when talking about your own team!). It is not my intention to provide updates on football news as this is readily available, but rather to provide some in depth review of the English Premier League (games, players, transfers) as well as praising excellent performances, decisions and games in general. I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

And then there were three…

Last night Arsenal became the first English side to exit the Champions League, losing on the night 3-1 to Barcelona, meaning an aggregate loss of 4-3. And to be fair, I don’t think that there can be any complaints from Wenger or other Arsenal fans.

Throughout both legs Barcelona were by far the better team and it is testament to how far Arsenal have come over the past year or so that they were always within touching distance. Who knows, if Wenger had a higher calibre player than Bendtner on the bench Arsenal may have stolen the tie on away goals. But, it wasn’t to be.

The main talking point of the night surrounds the controversial manner in which Robin Van Persie was sent off but I have a slightly different opinion to the consensus. First of all I think that it is a very harsh second yellow. Whether rightly or wrongly, not all yellow cards are equal and this certainly didn’t deserve a second yellow. To provide a bit of context, a yellow card for kicking the ball away is appropriate, in my mind at least, if a team commits a foul and then kicks the ball away, thus preventing the other team taking a quick free kick. That is disruptive to the flow of the game, takes away the advantage unfairly from the attacking team and is rightly punished. In the instance of Van Persie last night he took a shot towards the goal and it was all pretty innocuous. However, to say that he didn’t hear the whistle and protest total innocence is, for me, a step too far. Firstly, all the other players heard the whistle throughout the game so why not in this instance. I certainly don’t think that 85-odd thousand Barca fans were that excited about him receiving the ball and it would be na├»ve to suggest that the Arsenal contingent drowned out the whistle. Secondly, Van Persie’s run took him towards the assistant referee and I firmly believe that he knew he was offside as he would have seen the flag go up himself. This is then compounded by the fact that Van Persie took a shot outside of the box with his right foot whilst at a difficult angle. All this adds up to say that he just swung a leg at it when he realised he was offside. That is not to say that I think he deserved to get sent off; far from it. But he knew what was going on and just didn’t expect to be booked.

The two other incidents that I took away fall into the categories of ridiculous and sublime. To cover the former, what was Fabregas doing with that backheel 20 yards out from his own goal?! Did he suddenly think that Barcelona may lay off the relentless pressing for a while? Foolish indeed and it got punished. And how it was punished. The boy Messi is absolute class and that little flick that lifted the ball over Almunia proved it. On first viewing I thought that he had half volleyed the ball and it had rebounded back into his path. No such luck involved here; it was all skill. Messi’s quickness of thought and fleet of foot produced a moment of brilliance that the naked eye took two views to pick up.

When compared to Bendtner’s chance late in the game, it is clear to see that the best side won.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes... and Elbows.

In the build up to the Chelsea vs. Man United game this evening the two stories that seem to be dominating the headlines are Wayne Rooney’s alleged elbow from the weekend and the shooting incident involving Ashley Cole, an air gun and a student on work experience. The question has been asked: should either of them be playing this evening?

First of all, I think that both incidents should be treated completely separately. Let’s take a look first at Wayne Rooney. For me I think that the ref has got this wrong and that it deserved a red card. No questions asked. I guess the interesting point to come out of this is the response of the clubs and the FA. I have blogged before about how outrageous it is that the FA aren’t allowed to hand out further punishment if the ref brandished a yellow card (it point blank refuses to accept that referees are human and equally capable of making mistakes as the rest of us), but in this instance the referee took no action in terms of cards and so the FA had the perfect opportunity to issue the appropriate sanction. It failed to do so. I accept that issues of violent conduct are subjective and that there will be disagreements but I do not think that there will be many football fans up and down the country that can defend what Rooney did.

Secondly, the Ashley Cole story. This one is staggering. I don’t know what it is about the guy but he just can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble. Whether he should be allowed to play this evening or not though is, for me, pretty straightforward. Taking the actual nature of the incident at the moment, what occurred was an example of misconduct at the training ground. The club have decided to reprimand him internally, which looks as though it could be a telling off and a fine equivalent to approximately 2 weeks wages. If the police decide to get involved to investigate whether a crime has been committed, so be it. The point I am trying to make is that it has the square root of nothing to do with football and should be kept as such. If you take into account that a weapon was involved and that someone was hurt then clearly this is a very serious matter, however speculating about what happened won’t get anyone anywhere. What I would say is that if you are carrying a gun around you are solely responsible for it and pointing at someone else is entirely unacceptable. It doesn’t matter if you think it is loaded or not; you may not get a second chance with a firearm. Maybe an appropriate course of action would be to remove any license that Ashley Cole may have (do you even need a license for an air rifle?).

So, in short I think that we are talking about two very serious incidents but two very different incidents and they therefore should be treated as such. One is to do with football and, directly, a game and any punishment should be in line. The other is possibly a criminal matter and as such should be dealt with by the police and the courts. Otherwise it is a private matter that can be dealt with accordingly.