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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Arsenal taking the Pires??

Firstly, why is Match Of The Day scheduled on a Sunday morning so early at 7.45am?? Imagine socialising on a Saturday night, and wishing to catch up on the football highlights the next day, to find that you will not wake up for 7.45am unless:

a) You have to go to work.
b) You have to make breakfast
c) You are in the mood.
d) There is an emergency
e) You have unexpected visitors ( who better be family)
f) All of the above

A typical Sunday requires a lie-in for most, and 7.45am isn't a lie-in even if it is fine for those at the BBC. Match Of The Day 2 is scheduled for later on at night and the Saturday highlights should be shown then. Yes, if you have a recorder you can set it to tape Saturday's highlights but the likelihood during a occupying Saturday is you will not remember to do so, even in advance on a weekday.

No, I didn't miss Match Of The Day. I recorded it!

Something else I didn't miss this morning was Andy Townsend on TalkSport Radio, discussing the 2nd penalty taken by Arsenal's Robert Pires and suggesting it was an insult to Man City. Having taken one earlier and scored (the decision preceding which I thought was wrong from watching the replay but I will come back to that), Arsenal were granted another when Dennis Bergkamp twisted between Kiki Musampa and Stephen Jordan and Jordan's leg caught the Dutchman. Pires stepped up to take it and then scuffed the ball across the top with his studs to roll it for Thierry Henry to strike. Which is legal, providing the ball turns a full circumstance and the penalty taker does not touch the ball a 2nd time before another player does. MOTD showed a clip of Johan Cruyff and Jesper Olsen exchanging passes when playing for Ajax in 1982, and scoring. But yesterday, Henry wasn't fast enough to react and City got the ball away with David Sommeil taking it down the wing in a promising counter-attack only for Mike Riley to stop play for an in-direct freekick to City! It seemed very bizarre. Darius Vassell equalised with 10mins to go but had the effort ruled out for offside, which was a good decision albeit marginally.

For me, why is such a rule existing in the first place? What is wrong with the conventional placing on the spot and one kick, score or miss (unless rebound)? Does this now mean that teams will consider fooling the keeper by having someone ready to charge in once the ball is tapped by the taker? This is why defending players rush in as the taker kicks the ball, not only to clear any rebounds but to thwart a 'penalty one-two'?? And is it the rule that the ball not turning a full circumference from a penalty kick (or scuff) results in an in-direct freekick to the other side? Or had Henry fouled someone in trying to reach the ball (though I didn't see if he had)?

For Arsenal fans, had Vassell's effort counted, much less City scored another, would you have still applauded the 'penalty one-two', laughed at its attempt or seethed with frustration that what could have possibly sealed a home win turned out to have left your team open to an unnecessary defeat?

For anyone, do you think Pires, or better still Arsenal, had ridiculed Man City by taking the 'penalty one-two', as if they felt they could squander a penalty because they were likely to win or were showing-off? Or does anyone believe Pires and Henry, taken up with the day's presentation of a cannon trophy to Henry for his overall goalscoring achievement that broke Ian Wright's record, wanted to add amusement to the moment that was also significant for being Arsene Wenger's 57th birthday?

As for the first penalty decision, a number of critics are convinced it was, while I am not. I have the comfort of a replay as opposed to Mr Riley's speed of play, and saw Henry sprint and reach the ball, and then his back leg didn't come forward as you would expect of a player looking to go further, instead it stopped half way beside the other leg and then just buckled. It seemed to me Henry went for the drop as James came across for the ball. But in the speed of play it is easily given and James could have not dived but, knowing Henry's speed, just stood tall enough and pressure him away from goal.

After the match, Henry stated that he and Pires wanted to put some entertainment on for the crowd. For me, I want to win and prefer my player kicked the ball straight towards goal from the spot, BUT if it is legal to alternatively kick the ball and it goes in, good enough. While it may look to some as show boating, just as Cryuff and Olsen showed, it can work and no one would complain on the Arsenal side if it had yesterday. The team lead by Henry will have that flamboyant edge, that flair to dare to excite. From the controversial direct freekicks that Henry has taken without the referee's whistle blown to the penalty one-two, I don't doubt that the Frenchman, well Frenchmen, had a little of dare, flair and care added to the need to score. I don't think it was an insult to City, for they could have still won the game. I think it was another unorthodox way of scoring from the Gunners talismen.



Blogger T said...

I wouldn't take much notice about what Townsend says or any Talksport presenter- they are only interested in creating controversial angles to provoke fans into a response: cheap and dishonest.

The Pires penalty is fun for the pundits and a talking-point for fans. Personally it doesn't excite me too much- what does excite me is that Pires scored the first one and we took all three points.

In the past two seasons Pires has scored 36 goals from left midfield- and set-up just as many. In his five and bit seasons he has been terrific for the team; in his prime one of the best dribblers you're likely to see; and for these reasons I can easily forgive him his air-kick.

No disrespect was meant to Man City- just ingenuity for the Arsenal.

And if anything it shows Pires' typical unselfish nature- even when he has a pen to take he'd rather make an assist for a teammate!

10/24/2005 1:13 am

Blogger T said...

Slight correction to your article Redsman: Arsene celebrated his 56th birthday.

10/24/2005 10:44 am

Blogger Skippy said...

I can't see Pires at Arsenal next season. He does not appear to be focused on his game. Shame, because he was a great player.

10/24/2005 1:24 pm

Blogger T said...

I hope you are wrong Skipper about his departure.

I would agree that his focus is not at 100 per cent, and this has resulted in a dip in form from very high standards. It is no coincidence that it arises with the absence of Pat, Ash, and TH- who were the main players he operated with down the left-hand side. I don't know if you saw his thru ball last week for TH- whom he was happy to link up with again.

Moreover, the non-selection by the French coach in World Cup season and Arsene's policy of giving only one year contracts to old players when Pires feels deserving of two more years, may be preying somewhat on his mind.

At the end of last season when TH was out for six weeks he really stepped-up. A lovely free kick against the Pool and a high level performance at Chelsea in a goalless draw just a few months ago tells me he still has what it takes.

I believe soon he will be flourishing again, and will show he still IS a great player.

10/24/2005 1:42 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Sorry, T, read Arsene's year of birth was 1948, though I did hear it was his 56th birthday elsewhere. Should have stuck with who knew best....yourself!Conflicting sources.


10/24/2005 11:13 pm

Blogger Berry said...

I don’t understand why Distn is upset with the penalty. If anyone should feel upset is, it is the attacking team. The striker turns the defender and creates an opportunity to cross or shoot but the defender chops him down in desperate tackle. The striker is entitled to feel upset and do what he likes with the penalty.

10/25/2005 1:31 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

True. A disrespect perceived from the method taken, but however the penalty is taken, if within the rules then there shouldn't be any problems with it. Goes to show how Arsenal have looked on past attempts and the rules and others not. Does it then emphasise how Arsenal are an entertaining side as well as a title chasing one, that they choose to be unorthodox, perhaps with some overconfidence of scoring?


10/25/2005 3:12 pm

Blogger SKG said...

If the penalty had worked, it would have been hailed as one of the most ingenious goals ever. However as it failed, Arsenal have been made to look rather sill.

10/25/2005 9:03 pm

Anonymous Phyper said...

Here here!!! I agree with SKG.
Everyone would have be praising Pires and TH had the move be excecuted to the T. However because it went Pete-Tong suddenly its a houleer an insult and disrespectful to the other team. Recall TH's 2 freekicks while the goalkeepers were trying to set up a wall. Remember TH introduced the all ways offside style of play into the PL making it difficult for defenders to do thier job.

I'm sorry but the fact is at 1-0 that was the perfect way to take the penalty. Had it gone to plan it'ld have been a certain gaol. Had Pires tried the more convensional way the goal keeper may have saved it or RP missed the target all together. Had it come off TH would have simply had an open gaol to quite literaly walk the ball into.

I accept the mistake could have all backfired and nearly did given the disallowed goal but at 1-0 this penalty strategy was the only and less riskier way to make certain of the 3 point. The fact is innovators really think within the box. You study the rules of the game and your situation and take the necesary actions. There was nothing illegal about the penalty, TH's freekicks or the playing from an offside position. Just because everyone else lives within a limited action set does not mean that's all that is there. Cantorian and Godelian Mathematics proves this. There are far more possibilities off the diagonal, it is up to us as comutational beings to seek them out.

Yes Yes Yes!!!!! I want to see more of this "out of the box" thinking at my beloved Arsenal granted with TINY bit more precission in the execution.

10/28/2005 7:52 pm

Anonymous Phyper said...

Hi just to correct a couple of mistakes in what I just wrote,

the "really think within the box"

should read

"rearly really think within the box"


"comutational beings"

should read

"computational beings"

10/28/2005 8:02 pm

Blogger T said...

I agree with all that Phyper- and good to see your return to EFT. Its ironic that after all the talk about TH and Pires this week, both are likely to be out of today's starting line-up.

10/29/2005 11:26 am

Anonymous Phyper said...

I know what you meant Said. But thankfully AW came to his senses befroe it was too late and them A*************£$£%$%$%$£$**£ Spurs did the unthinkable.
Personally I'ld liketo think he was resting them for CL action tomorrow. TH was appearantly still injured
Off course I think Reyes was right when he said Spurs would struggle to keep hold of Defoe.

11/01/2005 7:52 am

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12/18/2005 8:32 am


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