Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Call it Right... But get it Right

We are only two weeks into a new season, and already, the mistakes are still being made by match officials. They are making easy decisions look very hard and it is affecting the outcome of the games. I have always believed that a good referee is rarely seen during the game and does not bring problems on himself. A lot of the referees I have worked alongside over the years, always told me to never go looking for trouble, as it will always find you if you do. I am not a lover of the showman referee and never will be, as it is a trait in a referee that I hate.

Like many other supporters I sat down to watch all the live football over the past weekend and in fairness I really enjoyed the games. I cast my eye all over the games to pick topics for my usual weekly blog for the boys at Pitch Talk and I was not to be disappointed. I have picked out two referees and two big decisions to discuss and try and unravel where I see it was called wrong.

The two men involved in the decision making were Craig Pawson and Mr.Showman himself Mike Dean. What you have to remember with these two, is the fact that they’ve been around along time now and should not be making these mistakes.

I will start off by having a look at the ultimate showman of referees; Mike Dean, and his performance in the Stoke City v Manchester City game. Well not so much his overall performance but one utterly unbelievable decision he gave when awarding Stoke City a second half penalty when Sterling was adjudged to have fouled Ryan Shawcross. Now I know there is a directive to players this season about holding players in the penalty box. Referees have been instructed that if this happens they are to award a penalty and it is something that is long overdue. The pulling and pushing has been going on now for a few seasons and it is about time it is cut out. But on Saturday Mike Dean got it totally wrong and awarded a penalty when in fact it should have been a free kick out. At no time in my opinion did Sterling foul Shawcross, it was clearly the Stoke player who was the aggressor and the referee called it totally wrong.
You can always tell from players reactions and in this case, the reaction was utter astonishment showing on their faces. As I said earlier, as a referee you should not going looking for trouble but on Saturday Mike Dean brought his problems all on himself by trying to be center stage on the penalty decision, totally bad refereeing in my opinion.

Craig Pawson is another official who has come under the microscope before and on Sunday in the West Ham United v Bournemouth game he had a big call, that I feel he got totally wrong. Sam Byram in my opinion should have been sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession. Byram was guilty of first barging his opponent to the ground and within seconds took down another Bournemouth player, the first foul was a yellow card and so was the second. Referee Pawson only blew on the second foul as he was trying to play an advantage, but in my opinion he should have shown Byram two yellow cards. If he was going to book the player for the second challenge there is no way he could close his eyes to the first challenge. Trying to play an advantage was ludicrous as it was always going to get him into trouble, he should have just blown on the first foul and no one would have had anything derogatory to say or write about. Whilst reading this you have to remember Craig is a FIFA referee, and in my opinion this was a decision that he should have got right.

Well there we have it, only two weeks into a new season and the bad decision making continues. It is really now imperative that the powers to be take the referees aside and have a strong word with them as bad decision making costs games. It is a real worry that it is guys who should no better are making such ridiculous decisions. We may have to look for divine intervention this season so that things are put right, but please do not hold your breath. It is going to be a long season and I am looking forward to enjoying every game as we roll along. What we do not need to see is bad refereeing on a regular basis, which causes controversy. It would be great if one weekend we are talking about great refereeing and not the total opposite.

So until I blog again for the boys at Pitch Talk enjoy your football and let us hope next week I am not blogging about a bad refereeing decision made against your team. Until then " Ciao "

Monday, 15 August 2016

The end of the road for Alberto Moreno?

Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool, sounds in theory like a rip roaring game and it was an entertaining watch, but as a Liverpool supporter there's 1 person I have to focus on... Alberto Moreno. Myself and one of my housemates were saying (literally 24 hours before this match) how disappointed we were that Flanno (Jon Flanagan) has gone out on loan (to Bournemouth as mentioned on #PTLIVE August 8th 2016 episode) as Flanno is miles better in terms of positional sense, composure and basically every area that's important as a full back.

The only bad thing was his injury last season, which sadly, has slightly hindered his progress and probably resulted in the decision to send him out on loan to get regular game time. For me, Al Moreno is our version of a David Luiz, liability who shouldn't be played at the back as he's as bad positionally as Micah Richards (another player i've criticised on #ptlive shows before).

I'm maybe a bit over critical/harsh on defenders (in the eyes of some) generally on the Pitch Talk live shows that I cohost, BUT Moreno embarrasses me as a Kopite and a defender at Southern Amateur League level with ibis Eagles AFC as he gets the utter basics wrong.

In the 1st half of this match he went up for a header he should have left to Ragnar Klavan and yes he recovered to slide in on Ramsey and concede a corner, but that was a warning. Later in the 1st half he gave away one of the clumsiest penalties you'll see this season by fouling Walcott, who fortunately had Mignolet pull his fat out of the fire by saving the penalty Moreno gave away. That was a second warning and basically foreshadowing what was to come shortly thereafter.

The Walcott goal, is sadly perfect case in point and a damning indictment of Moreno's shortcomings. As a back line (no matter what level you play) when you clear the ball, you press out as a unit, as a back 4, not you press out and are 10-15 yards further forward than the rest of your back line and leave a gaping chasm behind you, that can be (and in that case was) exploited.

Gary Neville came out with a spot on quote 'having Moreno in your side is like starting a goal down' and in all honesty, it pains me that I totally agree with that statement. I said to friends of mine subsequently on WhatsApp and on Facebook (somewhat in jest) that Moreno tried twice to give Arsenal the advantage deliberately!

If there's 1 thing that drives me up the wall (apart from Jose Mourinho's public persona) it's poor defending and Moreno (as much as I hate to single out and bury individual players) needs replacing and sharpish.

I'm glad we beat Arsenal on the opening day of the season, but frailties are still clear for the world to see and hopefully Jurgen Klopp, like Vince McMahon in relation to Stone Cold Steve Austin in the WWF in September 1998 going into the Break Down: In Your House pay per view event (yes I had to crowbar in an #OWR), has a master plan in regards to our left back position, and I don't mean having James Milner (as versatile as he is) play there all season!

I'm Straight Shootin' LJA...and that's my opinion!!!

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