Sunderland was a big win on Saturday. Of course one journo described it as a lucky 3-0 win whose score wasn’t an accurate reflection of the game itself. His guide dog must’ve written the report. Or his bookie.
Anyway, let’s see if this translates into any sustainable momentum after another useless international break. Seems that whenever we look like we might be able to regain some shape and get back into the driver street, some arbitrary international fixture pulls the hand brake and we turn in another train wreck of a performance.
I am apt to agree with Rafa as he bemoans the loss of 3/4 of his squad to international duty when the outcome is irrelevant – and now even more so because of the hamstring injury to Fernando Torres that will keep him out of Sunday’s game against the Blues at Stamford Bridge.
Sunday is looking to get even bleaker for the Reds. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Kalou and Drogba will be excused from their consolation 3rd place game in the African Cup of Nations against the Ghanaian Black Stars and so might be back in the line up against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon. Pisser.
Anyway, this fixture last year in Anfield was arguably Liverpool’s best performance in the Premiership, ending in a disappointing draw after a suspect penalty decision against Steve Finnan in which referee Rob Styles adjudged him to have pulled Salomon Kalou down inside the box – a decision that saw Styles benched for a week by the referee governing body. Having watched the game, it only cemented my belief that referees should be hunted like vermin for sport.
And speaking of poor refereeing, it seems that another whistler in an Everton game has been asked to sit out for Saturday’s dance. The first one was Mark Clattenburg in the match against Liverpool, and now Alan Wiley and his assistant Glenn Turner have all been on the business end of a reprimand by the Professional Game Match Officials group.
I watched the Liverpool game and Clattenburg was shocking. He missed a couple of clangers with Jamie Carragher all but catching a ball on his own line and then two blatant takedowns of JoLeon Lescott inside the box.
The debate continues to rage over the use of video replays to help match officials in the EPL determine whether or not balls have crossed the goal line. We should be using this much-vaunted technology to determine whether or not referees are actually human. I have more sympathy for some things that are stuck to the sole of my boot.
Allowing replays into the game is a slippery slope and one that managers should be wary of wishing upon themselves. Referees are generally a capricious bunch and don’t take to being questioned as is evidenced by the unwillingness of NFL referees to overturn calls when there is clear video evidence to the contrary. Individuals that are this small – ahem – minded generally tend to want to puff out their chests when their authority is questioned.
Also the nature of the game is such that one day you’re a referee’s heir apparent and the next you are his cellmate bitch. Is it frustrating? Undoubtedly. But in any venture, and specifically in sports, you have to weather Fate and its whistle-toting minions.
Join me tomorrow at 2:30pm for Corner Kicks with Mark Suchy on Such on Sports for your thoughts and views on the Beautiful Game.