I was cheered up after Sunday’s game by something Robbie Savage said while offering “expert opinion” on the Blackburn v Chelsea game on Radio Five Live.
The commentator had just described a foul by a Blackburn player on Didier Drogba when Savage piped up. I paraphrase……
“I’ve played against Didier Drogba many times in my career and I know exactly what he will saying after a challenge like that”
said the commentator doubtlessly thinking he was about to gain a useful and rare insight into Drogba the player as well as what really goes on a football pitch.
“What will he be saying?”
To which Savage gleefully replied…
Hook line and sinker however, such a response could sum up the situation we find ourselves in the Premiership this season. With Spurs and City winning over the weekend and Villa during the week the noose is closing (or should it be tightening), games are running out. It think to be on the safe side we need to get results from all of our remaining games and even then I suspect we will be looking at it going to the wire and relying on others to slip up? Jamie Carragher, despite Sunday’s defeat, remains confident.
“We have just got to recover from this as quickly as possible and get on a run of victories, We were playing against a top side yesterday and have run them close. It’s really disappointing to lose, as there wasn’t much between the sides in the game. You didn’t see too many chances being created but we have lost and you have got to move on, as this was the most difficult fixture we had before the season ends.”
Thankfully with the exception of Chelsea at Anfield our run is not too bad whereas Man City have to play Spurs and Villa and all three have to play some of the top three.
A bit of idle fun. The BBC website has “predictor table” where you can, as the name suggests, “predict” the outcome of the remaining premiership fixtures and update the table accordingly. Having done this I got us into the fourth place although it did go down to the last game of the season! Spurs ended up fifth, City sixth and Villa fell away badly to seventh. However my predictions, if you read the match previews in this blog, do leave a lot to be desired!
Back to Sunday and I guess with all this, and the small matter of Benfica, one should not look backwards to games about which we can do nothing about. However, this is the Mancs. The key talking point appears to have been their penalty. Rafa maintains that Valencia dived and that it was outside the box.
“The way he fell down is strange. When you see the replay it is suspicious how he went to the ground”
It was no surprise that Fergie disagreed
“The referee was right, he tugged him down. He didn’t bring him down outside the box, he didn’t go down until he was inside the box. The decision was correct”
I guess the key issue here is where contact was initially made. Clearly it was outside the box even though Valencia’s momentum meant the fell down inside. If initial contact was made outside then surely the kick should be awarded outside? That said it’s gone and, despite the penalty, we could have won, if we had been a bit more inventive and adventurous.
Fergie’s assertion that Mascherano should have been sent off is clearer cut.
“I thought it was a red card. There was no way Jamie Carragher could get across and stop Valencia from shooting – he is too quick for Carragher to get across. The law is if you stop someone from having a goalscoring opportunity it is a red card. Not today.”
Nonsense! Carragher may be in the twilight of his career but he is not in a bath chair! So presumably referees before making a decision now have to take into account the relative quickness of players. I await referees taking out a calculator and doing some complicated time and motion sum before awarding the decision. Distance of nearest defender from felled player multiplied by defender’s time at 100m divided by the number home fans in the stadium, add in a special “Fergie mark up” if playing at Old Trafford!
Fergie got the decision and he won the game however rather than be magnanimous, turn a blind eye or give the benefit of the doubt, he still complains in mean spirited way. In short everyone must come to conclusion that when it comes to pleasing him nothing is correct. “Accept my word”, “I AM right even if I’m wrong”, yet accordingly to Fergie the FA is the “power” in football that is “dysfunctional”!
It the words of Robbie Savage it makes you want to go….“Argggggggggggggggggggh” !