Premier League 23/24 Thread

lejackal

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I hate tactical fouls (and yes, I know Arsenal do them) - but if you play for the manager that practically invented them you can get ****ed
 

edd_jedi

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Christ, that was even worse than the City - Arsenal game. Zero quality at either end of the pitch, both teams had half a dozen good chances that they squandered.
 

weasel

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5th should get you a CL spot assuming City/Pool/Villa do well in their respective European competitions. I excluded Arsenal cos I know you ain't cheering for them and I suspect Leverkusen will have too much for WH, sorry @Cazza
 

Cazza

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Thought last night was quite an entertaining game, but agree @edd_jedi that the quality in front of goal was poor. Right result in the end. I was jealous of your subs- our benches were so different in terms of quality.

@weasel I agree, they should have way too much for us, but you never know. Think they're still unbeaten in every competition this season! We put out prime Sevilla a couple of years ago, when no one gave us a hope. I'm just going to enjoy the occasion. Alvarez will be a massive miss for the first leg. Liverpool definitely got the easier draws!
 

weasel

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Agreed, and I'll be cheering for WH. Not cos I think they will be easier to beat, I hate playing English sides in Europe, more cos I'd like to see them (and all but the obvious 2 English sides) do well.
 

Cazza

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Interesting article from The Times:

No apologies. When Howard Webb next sits down with Michael Owen to record his PGMOL blooper reel, the last thing the game needs is another round of self-excoriation.

Unlike Elton, sorry always seems to be the easiest word for Webb. But it's too late. The damage is done, the result confirmed. It is nice that Webb is prepared to admit mistakes, it's the polite thing to do, but ultimately nothing changes. And things need to change. The next time Webb goes in front of a camera he should ensure that gameweek 30 is the last time Anthony Gordon, or any other player, can win a penalty like that. Win a penalty without making a serious attempt to play the ball.

What happened in the game between Newcastle United and West Ham United on Saturday was a travesty. Everyone who has played knows it and most observers, too. Gordon is making it his party trick, but he's not the only one. And Webb has the power to stop it. He just needs to start using his platform for good, rather than for public relations.

Late in the second half of the match at St James' Park, with West Ham leading 3-1, after pressure in the visiting side's box, Kalvin Phillips was preparing to clear the ball. Gordon, from behind, put a leg in the space where Phillips would swing his boot to make that clearance. He didn't play the ball, or really attempt to play it. He just put a leg there. And because he was on Phillips's blind side, as he made to clear he kicked Gordon's leg. Rob Jones, the referee, who is not good enough, did not give a penalty but David Coote, the VAR, who is also not good enough, summoned him to the pitchside monitor for review. The inept Jones was then influenced by an equally inept colleague, the penalty was awarded and Newcastle scored. It does not follow that West Ham go on to lose 4-3 — that is on them — but it was certainly a significant moment.

Yet what if it had happened at the other end? Take the play into the Newcastle penalty area. Phillips is in a good position, preparing to shoot at goal, Gordon attempts to defend the shot by putting a leg in front of him, but doesn't play the ball. Phillips swings his boot and trips over the outstretched limb. Verdict: penalty, 100 per cent. But it's the same action. So how can it be a foul on the Newcastle player at one end, but a foul on the West Ham player at the other? It's a con, that's why. It's not a real tackle, not a real challenge. It is a ruse to fool the referee. And it will continue succeeding unless Webb intervenes.

Jamie Vardy used to get away with similar antics. Harry Kane, too. Vardy at his peak had devastating pace and a way of initiating contact with the defender in pursuit. He fell and made his opponent look devious, clumsy or careless. The record confirms his success as a penalty winner — 23, the second highest in Premier League history. Yet Raheem Sterling, who tops the table with 26, has played for big clubs that make a lot of chances — Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Vardy's 23 have all come for Leicester across nine Premier League seasons, three of which have involved bottom-half finishes — including one relegation — and only one of which has seen the club in the top four. Vardy's ability to earn penalties was very big for Leicester. Yet, over time, it was increasingly highlighted that it was Vardy who made sure he was tripped. He would leave a leg trailing, he would slightly change course or slow. And sometimes he would be genuinely fouled, because he's a very quick, very dangerous, striker. Yet scepticism grew. Then he wasn't winning as many penalties, then he started picking up yellow cards, then it stopped being such an issue.

The same with Kane, who used to back into defenders and fall forward to win the foul — it was a well-worn tactic and Mark Hughes was brilliant at it. Again, that stopped once it was publicly noted. Yet those raising questions didn't have anything like the influence over referees that Webb has now. He could put a stop to this latest trick in one broadcast.

Other changes require outside help. In the same match, Fabian Schär fouled Mohammed Kudus, but appeared to be caught by his arm as he did. Schär went down holding his head, although replays showed the contact was minimal. West Ham asked to take a quick free kick, which Jones permitted, even though Schär was still on the ground. As play is supposed to stop for a head injury, this rather suggests he felt the player was exaggerating the consequences. Then West Ham scored and Newcastle were outraged; even Schär, who seemed to make a robust recovery.

Again: shouldn't happen. A decent intention regarding player welfare, inspired by increased awareness of issues around head trauma, is increasingly used as a means of stopping or slowing the play. Jamie Carragher highlighted it earlier in the season when Nicolò Zaniolo, of Aston Villa, went down in a match with West Ham. "People are milking head injuries," he said. "It's ruining the game. Players go down when they lose the ball in a dangerous position and the referee feels he has to blow the whistle. This has to stop, it's happening too much. It was brought in to help players and they're now taking advantage."

He was right, of course. The problem is, without concussion substitutes, football leaves itself open to accusations of negligence unless it takes head injuries seriously. Yet there is a way of maintaining player welfare, while also preventing a sound initiative being abused. Make concussion checks mandatory for any player claiming to have suffered a head blow, certainly one that puts them on the floor. The counter-argument will be that this would make players hide head injuries rather than send the team down to ten men, but that is where concussion substitutes come in, if used as they are in rugby.

Nobody who had suffered a serious head injury would stay on the field, knowing a replacement could come on, and maybe some of the eyelash-clutchers would treat a brush with the hand as the irrelevance it is. Not something that Webb could enforce, unilaterally, but surely worth a discussion the next time Ifab meet up to ruin the game?

In the meantime, though, Webb surely does have the power to make the referees under his command listen. Football doesn't need another mea culpa. It just needs to be reacquainted with what a foul really is.
 

weasel

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Hard to disagree with any of that.

He is on to something when he includes Gordon in the same category as Vardy and Kane. Maybe just use VAR whenever a known diver (ie cheat) is "fouled" in the box, or near it. And get someone on VAR who is more use than your average Ref. He doesn't have to have played the game like all the ex pro co-commentators keep saying, anyone with an ounce of common sense will be able to do it.

And, yes, Liverpool have players who dive too. I just think Gordon is about the worst in the league, and Kane was a disgrace before he fecked off, but Engerlund Captain so he's just "clever" and definitely not a cheat.
 

edd_jedi

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I'm no Chelsea fan, but I have zero sympathy for United losing last night. They had all clocked off already! ETH must be absolutely livid, a draw was bad enough after being 2-0 up, but no excuses for that last goal. He should bench the lot of them as punishment, even the U21s could have done better than that.
 

Cazza

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Interesting scrap for Europe. Nobody seems to want it!

Why is Garnacho so intent on stealing Kudus' goal celebration? Weird.
 
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weasel

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I'm no Chelsea fan, but I have zero sympathy for United losing last night. They had all clocked off already! ETH must be absolutely livid, a draw was bad enough after being 2-0 up, but no excuses for that last goal. He should bench the lot of them as punishment, even the U21s could have done better than that.
Utd were 2 down, and then 3-2 up….in the 99th minute.

I'd be quite happy if they played their U12 girl's team in their next game. 😉🤔
 

edd_jedi

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Admittedly I went to check this stat because Arsenal got yet another penalty today, but I had no idea Spurs were joint bottom of the list. Coincidence that Kane has gone this season?

Screenshot 2024-04-06 at 21.57.12.png
 

weasel

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Spurs being joint bottom is surprising. Amazing what happens when a diver leaves. Even at that, I wouldn't expect them to be so far down, give how many points they have and that they are an attacking team.

Nice to see Pool have 33% of all missed penalties in the league.

And Harry Kane seems to have jinxed Bayern too. Leverkusen 1 win away from their first ever Bundesliga, after Bayern won the last 10 or 11.


As for today, that is two points royally ****ed away. That game should have been over at HT. I said then, "if you don't take your chances it comes back to bite you, watch Utd get a flukey one from nothing." (I have the whatsapps to prove that). Called it perfectly. Except they got two. No idea on the balance of play in the first part of the second half as I was in and out, but Mainoo will never hit a sweeter finish. Pool's finishing was woeful. Nunez alone should have had 3.
I dont expect City to drop and points in their run in and Arsenal look to be in better form than Pool. Pool been grinding it out for a few weeks now.
Still all to play for, but that is a massive 2pts ****ed away.

How do Utd fans watch that shite every week though? That first half could have been four, and that isnt the first time Utd have played like that either. It's almost a weekly occurrence.

Ohhh and can ANYONE tell me why Andre Onana keeps a tub of vaseline by his goal and rubs the contents on his gloves? How dafuq does slippy gloves help you save anything?
 

lejackal

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As for the gloves thing (and this is pure guesswork) I'm going with the Vaseline repels any water on the ball and actually makes the ball surface more grippy and less likely to spin off?

Beyond that absolute stretch of credibility I've no idea
 

weasel

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My understanding is vaseline makes things slippier, so the ball is more likely to slip out of your hands or glance off your gloves etc.

I'm sure there is a reason, but it seems bizarre.
 

weasel

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I half watched both games last night. Two good games. Some great goals in the City game, Real getting a bit lucky with two deflections, but you gotta fancy City to win at the Etihad.

Arsenal game looked interesting. I think they got the Saka penalty call right. He throws his leg into Neuer. You can't give penalties for that. The annoying thing, if you are an Arsenal fan, is if he had just kept going he was either going to get cleaned or get a tap in. Instead he blatantly throws his leg in. Bayern should have had a penalty of their own, Gabriel might not have heard the whistle, but ehhh that's his ****ing problem. Had he booted the ball away and said he didn't hear the whistle he would have been booked. VERY VERY lucky the ref went easy on him. If I was Bayern fan I would be raging. It was 2-1 at that point too.

Then we get to everyone's favourite "I can do what I like and I expect a free kick or penalty every time" Engerlund captain and his flying elbows. Had that been last season in the PL, he gets a free kick and Gabriel probably gets booked. But, despite it being in England the European ref's don't know the rule that Engerlund captain is allowed to do whatever he wants, and thus he got booked. The look of disbelief on his face summed it up. Could he have gone off for it? Possibly, he does look to see where the defender is before throwing his arm, but it is the fleshy part of his arm and not his elbow that hit Gabriel. I suspect had the ref red carded him VAR wouldn't have overturned it, but I think a yellow was about fair. That second leg will be interesting, Arsenal have left themselves a lot to do.

I would love to know why both those games were yesterday and today we have the snoozefest of GBH FC (Atleti) against the German Spurs (Dortmund) and the Rich man's plaything (PSG) against the most financially ****ed club in the world (Barca). Neither of which appeal.
 

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