Based in London and writing for a global audience our aim is to produce EliteFootballTalk. Enjoy the site and feel welcome to join in our discussion on the beautiful game.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ray Stubbs', Alan Hansen's and Mark Lawrenson's lamentable consensus

I find the football analysis on Match of the Day to be a mixed bag at the best of times and truly woeful at others. And for me their analysis of the Arsenal match last Saturday falls into the latter category.

It was clear from the highlights, the match statistics and subsequent newspaper reports that the Toffeemen adopted a thoroughly negative strategy for their match. This is their right and in fact not much of a surprise given that more or less it is the stock response by many teams who have visited Arsenal in recent years.

Post-match Arsene Wenger expressed his frustration with what he saw as gamesmanship by Everton players in halting the Arsenal players taking free-kicks quickly and the goal-keeper taking an age over goal kicks in addition to their general limited approach. He said:

"I have nothing against negative football if it is played in the right spirit. Every goal kick they were moving it from one side to the other. Every foul they stood in front of the ball. It is like watching a film you've seen 10 times before. It is very frustrating to draw with a team that has had zero shots on target apart from the goal. It is difficult to take when you have 70 per cent of possession."

This match report from the Daily Telegraph by a presumably neutral journalist showed that Wenger was not alone in his frustration with Everton's approach:

"There were two brands of football on view at the Emirates Stadium: flowing, adventurous, shot-bristling yet goal-shy on the one hand, and functional, largely negative, unashamedly back-peddling on the other. Everton were disproportionately proud of the latter, and their one point here.

The calculated approach of David Moyes, Everton's manager — admittedly amid a bout of illness in the squad — earned as many admirers beyond Merseyside as they themselves had shots on target in open play. Zero. Their time-wasting was endemic, culminating in Moyes's dismissal from the touchline for histrionic provocation of the referee."


The other Telegraph match report said this:

"It also demonstrated everything that is wrong with the direction the English game is heading. This was a triumph for dull, limited football."

Yet this type of opinion was not reflected by the panel of ex-Liverpool defenders Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson and the presenter Ray Stubbs. In fact, Stubbs seemed amazed that Wenger should have expressed frustration with the Everton spoiling tactics. This was then followed - quite predictably given their general views on football - by Lawrenson and Hansen concurring with Stubbs and giving their blessing to Everton's tactics.

It was dire analysis - the worst I have seen in a long time; so bad that it was funny.

Sure Everton had the right to adopt their tactics and it paid off. But it does not follow that their negativity mentality should be immune from criticism as apparently was the consensus between Stubbs, Hansen and Lawrenson. On the contrary, they are the type of tactics that explain why the general state of English football is sub-standard and reflects why there is a lack of a widespread culture in England of cultivating progressive, technical, attacking football.

The BBC need analysts who can actually be analytical and see the bigger picture. This discussion between Stubbs, Hansen and Lawrenson summed up my opinion that it regularly does not deliver this basic aim.

29 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i felt the same.

especially as the fools don't realize they work in an entertainment industry. when viewing figures drop for motd because we get dire british coaches, they too can cry for their idiocy like des lynam.

10/30/2006 9:47 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They were amazingly vitriolic, as if Wenger had no right to question Toffee tactics. Yes Everton were entitled to defend, but how much time did they waste? what right did Moyes have to complain about extra time which was pitifully short of the time actually wasted. Riley was pathetic. Should they have got away with such blatant breaches of the regulations?

Are they so vitriolic because they blame Wenger for the state of English Football? That the united nations of Arsenal is anathema to them. And then the fear that Wenger is right - that the Arsenal team exposes English football for what it is - threadbare.

10/30/2006 10:15 pm

 
Anonymous Martin said...

I watched the entire match on ART Sport via a foreign satellite. There was an incident involving Tim Howard the Everton goalkeeper. Someone threw something onto the pitch and he stood looking at the crowd behind him for what looked like an age before taking his goalkick. Unlike the rest of the world we are not allowed to watch 3pm Saturday football so we did not see the incident on MOTD. Therefore Hansen, Lawrenson and Stubbs can analyse the bits of the matches and we end up with distorted opinions of the matches. This hardly seems fair on Arsenal who play the best football in the world, yet we get slagged off for it.

10/30/2006 10:25 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For jesus sake, give it a rest! We blocked you out and you couldnt do anything about it you had to get a freekcik to get past us, no disallowed goals, so stop moaning. You lot show how pompous Arsenal are. you get your wins and you are all Arsene all over the gaff. When you dont get a win you moan up and down the place the ref is against you, that was a foul no offside, that was a penalty. Look at Henry, he takes in all the fans praying to him but when it goes bad he is sulky. You cant take it when you are criticised.

You had Villa, Middlesborugh and Everton and we all took the lead and you just get a goal back. You had Sheffield united, Charlton, Watford, Reading, all easy teams and you had Utd when they were tired from playing Celtic, so you have been lucky and the truth hit you at the weekend. And so what if they were scousing red, Hansen and Lawrie? So they hate Arsenal?!?? What about Shearer or Gavin Peacock? Bloody moanies, the lot of ya, and we go on. Come to Goodison and see how we do it

10/30/2006 10:32 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'This hardly seems fair on Arsenal who play the best football in the world, yet we get slagged off for it.'

Oh shut up!! Your all like girls.

10/30/2006 10:33 pm

 
Anonymous Goteborg said...

To say that Hansen and Lawrenson are past their sell-by dates is stating the all too obvious. They are the most boring pair of pundits on television. Of course they were delighted with Everton's effort - it clawed back a couple of points for their beloved Liverpool. And they are retired footballing Brits living in the old Div One which, sadly, means that any flair football goes against the grain. I don't watch MoD any more.

10/30/2006 10:36 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hansen is usually spot on, but for the first time I felt he was harsh on Arsenal. All teams time waste, we all know that. But from the minute Everton scored, very early on in the game, they started wasting time in an unprecedented manner. You have to remember that people pay a lot of hard earned money to watch football, they don't pay to watch time wasting. What if you went to see your favourite band play live and they only played 10 songs instead of 20 because they spent half the gig walking off, taking long breaks etc. you'd feel cheated.

It's really up to the referees to sort this issue out. Normally, a little time wasting in acceptable, but time wasting from the 11th minute onwards is just ridiculous. Moyes had obviously told the team, if you get an early lead waste time for the entire match whenever possible. Is this the sort of manager you want in the game?

Look at what Wenger has brough to British football, entertainment wise, it doesn't matter if Arsenal win anything or not - the fact is Arsenal have entertained under Wenger and brought something very special to the Premiership, that Hansen & Lawrenson should sit there and treat Wenger's comments with almost contempt is a sad state of affairs.

10/30/2006 10:44 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stopped watching MOTD a long time ago. It is crap. It has been crap for a long long time.The three stooges are dull and incompetent - a complete waste of time.

I have kept this piece by Lineker in The Telegraph, from the day before Paris in May. Sadly, it is too long to print it all here but is all in the same vein. Here goes:-

"If Henry does go to Barcelona, which seems his most likely destination, it will make this Barcelona team an awesome prospect. They are already head and shoulders the best team in Europe and Henry will give them another dimension.

In fact, this Barcelona team is one of the best club sides I've seen in my lifetime. They have the best player in the world in Ronaldinho and a team of outstandingly skilful players around him. They are going into the game as big favourites and I have a gut feeling they're going to run all over Arsenal."

And there is more like that! Just think about that, if you want to get an idea on how profound is the insight of these MOTD sages.

10/30/2006 10:46 pm

 
Anonymous Rose said...

I almost wish Arsenal didn't play in this league anymore just so people like Hansen, Stubbs and Lawrenson would have to endure more games like the tripe served up tonite...Man City v Boro..awful..awful football but the future of the British game..

10/30/2006 10:49 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this article highlights something I have long believed regarding the English media. The pundits on Sky, BBC and ITV are from two eras. You have Hansen, Lawro, Peter Reid etc from one, and then Shearer, Dixon, Paul Walsh (??), Peacock and McCoist from the other. The point is they are all British footballers and basically there's too much of an 'old boys club'. They will very rarely criticise a manager like David Moyes, Sam Allardyce, Steve Bruce, Harry Redknapp etc. Why? Because they are 'good honest pros' who most of the pundits know very well, probably either play golf with, drink with or whatever else. The pundits are often fullsome in their praise for Wenger and Arsenal, yet if he criticises one of 'their lot' regarding tactics or their gamesmanship then they raise there eyebrows and seem to suggest that he's mad for complaining. How dare he criticise David Moyes for employing the most boring tactics available. Wenger is an easy target. He is foreign and therefore his often very articulate and correct comment is dismissed. Wenger doesn't come from their school of football and therefore whislt he is respected, sadly I doubt how much he has done for the game will be acknowledged by many of the pundits. Hansen won't be teeing of with Arsene on Monday, but he may well be in a fourball with Moyes et al.

10/30/2006 11:03 pm

 
Blogger petra said...

Honestly about the Arsenal-Everton game, it pretty shameless to defend everton's playing style. You surely know Hansen was always anti-Arsenal (maybe jealous?). Didn't he recently wrote to encourage Scotland's players to stop Henry by means other than footballing skills? Coming from an ex-professional, you would expect he understand what good football is about, instead now he is clapping his hands in approval of this sort of negative game. Then again, you can't expect anything more either. It just reflects the clubs and the managers. It also reflect the terrible and sorry state of the English game. At this rate, I cannot see how the English game can improve much, much less to win the World Cup. (It's been 40 long years ago). And very frankly, the English game is very predictable and now is becoming so boring - (you got to excuse me for saying this because I've been following the English game for decades!!). Everton, or whichever team it may be, got a point from the game (which hilariously to me they felt like over the moon), or maybe might even win, but it won't improve the standard of the game in England. Time wasting antics from the 11th minutes on??? .... phew!, I'm speechless. You may criticise Wenger for whatever reason till the cow comes home, but the real truth is the English game will be poorer without him, never mind he's not English. This is one glaring thing I find generally unappreciated by his critics about what he's done for the English game.

10/30/2006 11:39 pm

 
Anonymous Rose said...

I just wonder how popular, as a product, the premiership would be if you actually took out Arsenal. If the Premiership only had Manchester United as it's true entertainers how long would it last? I wish to god we could play in La Liga because even the bottom teams there will try and play football. They used to say the Premiership was best for attacking football and atmosphere but attacking football is a dying breed as everyone plays with too much fear and the atmosphere is dying too because no-one wants to pay to go and see such predictable rubbish.. I can't remember how many 4-3's or 3-2's we had last season becuase those are few and far between now, maybe 2 or 3 a season at the most. Don't laugh but I blame Chelsea for the shape of British Football and the direction it is taking because when your number one club and the Champions of your league play in such an uninspiring , yet successful way is it any wonder that everyone wants to imitate them and their success. Think about it did we regularly get these type of games pre- Mourinho?

10/31/2006 12:09 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there on saturday, I have seen all the other games at the Emirates and have to say I was really depressed by Evertons approach Ok they were poorly and most played mid week but this wasn't a cup game this was 4th v 6th in the first 1/4 of the season. It is also one of the best Everton teams for a while and they play like that not even going for it when Arsenal only had 2 defenders on the pitch.

As for Hanson and Lawrenson they fit into a general anti-arsenal bias that irritates me on the BBC like Alan Green who while commentating on the last Man Utd CL match stating CSKA had a goal dis-allowed incorrectly and Henry definately handled the ball! and don't mention their Beveren exclusive!

10/31/2006 12:13 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alan Hansen has made me to stop watching Match of the day. He seems to have negative things to say everytime. I thought it was just me who noticed it. The game against Reading, I thought there was no way he would not have something good to say, guess what? After one of the commentators praised Cesc like he was a good, Alan Hansen , who I think knows little about football says that when Reading open up what do they expect.

Yeah, even Theo debut he said something like it was just okay it was not special. And like a fool he is, he doesn't talk about the two goals he scored against Germany.

I think he has something against Arsenal. I hope we beat Liverpool like 4-0 and I will listen to the nonsense he has to say.He is so negative about Arsenal it is untrue.

For me, if you want to get honest opinion then go to Sky Sports. They say it the way it is. Alan will not be a good coach I can tell you now, I don't know what he did as a footballer LIVERPOOL LEGEND YOU SAY! More like Alan who?

Hansen should stop talking about Arsenal period. He has nothing good to say. What does he know about football.

I know he will see this for sure and he deserves every bit. Even when we beat Man Utd, he said something stupid like when you play football against Arsenal you will lose. He did not say Arsenal outplayed Man Utd. I have said it better.

Alan what's your problem with Arsenal. Does it collide with your football?

10/31/2006 12:20 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what Alan problem is. You know he wanted Arsene to coach England and when he said no, then he started saying bad thing about Arsenal team.

It is funny that after every England game they refer to Arsenal and say that that's the standard they should play.That's a shame because then when they Alan analysis Arsenal game, a style they want to see England play, they criticise Arsenal.

WHAT FOOLS

10/31/2006 12:25 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, well there's no need to go OTT - Hansen is in my opinion the best of the best when it comes to punditry. I'm not going to hate him because he says one negative thing about Arsenal - that would be childish, but I expect better from him.

You would think pundits would want to encourage Arsenal's style and not support its nullification by such extreme methods. What Everton did is not good for football full stop, never mind Arsenal. The more stylish and watchable the Premiership is the more viewers will watch it and the more people will get to hear Hansen's ego.

As mentioned earlier, Arsenal would be a great team in Spain - where such tactics as displayed by Everton would be crucified by the fans and media all round. Spanish teams have better technique all round, in the Premiership the entertainment is too focused on what happens off the ball rather than on it. To be honest, a lot of the football played by the bottom 12 clubs in the Premiership is hogwash - no wonder the England team is dire

10/31/2006 12:41 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was very interesting watching the “Last Word” on Sky Sports that within a few minutes of Andy Gray defending tactics by Everton, thus supporting MOTD, he was espousing the possible merits of increasing the goal widths and heights, for, on invited cross examination from Richard Keys, “fan wants goals and entertainment”. 11 man defences are one thing but time wasting in the first half is despicable. There should be independent timing of matches and the clock must be stopped until the referee blows a whistle at restarts whether throw ins, injuries or free kicks. Rugby fans get 40 minutes of play.

10/31/2006 12:42 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always thought that rugby was played over 80 minutes.

For all the time wasting, "packed' defence and so on, Arsenal managed 29 shots, 12 of which were on target...unfortunately not "in target" Would a 12-1 result have been OK? Maybe we need a bit more shooting practice guys?
Gooner for 59 years.

10/31/2006 1:06 am

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

"Yet this type of opinion was not reflected by the panel of ex-Liverpool defenders Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson and the presenter Ray Stubbs."

This, I believe, has certainly set the cats among the pigeons with the Liverpool reference, hence:

"Of course they were delighted with Everton's effort - it clawed back a couple of points for their beloved Liverpool."

"I think he has something against Arsenal. I hope we beat Liverpool like 4-0 and I will listen to the nonsense he has to say.He is so negative about Arsenal it is untrue....For me, if you want to get honest opinion then go to Sky Sports. They say it the way it is. Alan will not be a good coach I can tell you now, I don't know what he did as a footballer LIVERPOOL LEGEND YOU SAY! More like Alan who?"

The fact that the opinions given on MOTD at the weekend came from former Liverpool players has yet again flared the bias issue in some comments. Therefore there is a concern pundits who are former players are not going to be impartial, and that is a serious enough point to be raised with the BBC or Sky Broadcasting. Have anyone raised such issues with the respective broadcasting corporations?

To say Hansen and Larenson were happy for the draw as it held back Arsenal is ludicrous. What good does the draw do for Liverpool when we are already considered out of the title race? With the Liverpool connection established here, wouldn't Hansen and Lawrenson be more bias against Everton than Arsenal? Haven't they also commended Arsenal in the past? There was a comment previously in another article where Hansen was derogatively criticised with reference to him as a former LFC player. It was unnecessary. Would those who used the LFC reference prefer the MOTD punditry consisted of, as mentioned above, Gavin Peacock and Alan Shearer? Nigel Winterburn and Lee Dixon? And as bias as one may be, there is no doubt that Alan Hansen is a legend from his era, and Mark Lawrenson. As is Gary Lineker, of whom one comment above made a reference due to his Telegraph article. Being a former Spurs player, does this too mean he has an agenda against Arsenal, more so than Hansen and Lawrenson?

Recent comments have made more sense without the Liverpool reference:

"Hansen is usually spot on, but for the first time I felt he was harsh on Arsenal. All teams time waste, we all know that. But from the minute Everton scored, very early on in the game, they started wasting time in an unprecedented manner."

Yes, I agree. All teams do, and it is for the opposition to be determined and forceful enough to break it down and gain possession.

"Yeah, well there's no need to go OTT - Hansen is in my opinion the best of the best when it comes to punditry. I'm not going to hate him because he says one negative thing about Arsenal -that would be childish, but I expect better from him."

I agree, there is no need. Liverpool have been criticised over our away form, heavily in some quarters and it hurts, for sure. Some will say we deserve it but you haven't heard myself say it's because they are anti-Liverpool, they are former players from other clubs and because of that allegiance still hold a grudge against Liverpool. After the Man Utd v Liverpool match, I felt Andy Gray made a good comment on how Liverpool should play around Gerrard, despite the general feeling amongst LFC fans that Gray can sometimes be bias against us and not necessarily through his Everton connections. I have felt overall that Gray can be animated in his opinionating.

"For all the time wasting, "packed' defence and so on, Arsenal managed 29 shots, 12 of which were on target..."

I also agree with this, Arsenal had chances nonetheless. I refer back to the Champions League semi-final between Liverpool and Chelsea, 2nd leg, and Garcia's 'goal'. Though it was a very debatable issue, Chelsea had 89mins or so to gain an equaliser as much as Liverpool had to gain a second goal. Earlier this season, Liverpool were harshly judged via Reina's goal kick at Bolton and Speed scored from the freekick. Replays showed how wrong the linesman was but the goal stood and Liverpool had time from then to equalise but didn't. Everton may well have had underhand tactics in the game on Saturday, which I do not condone, but equally they did not play entirely behind the ball and Arsenal had chances to hit them either on the counter or from general build-up.

My comment is based more on defending the Liverpool connection. It is conjecture at best, particularly with reference to the comments above, and unproven. It should not be a factor as such as it leads to criticism of Liverpool when such criticism should be directed to those who make the opinions, nothing to do with the club. I notice none of the comments focused on the lone Everton 'fan' above.



RedsMan.

10/31/2006 8:04 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If 60000 people had paid to see a boxing match, and one of the fighters spent 12 rounds not fighting, timewasting etc, how do you think it would be received? No wonder English football is so technically deficent, when displays such as Evertons are roundly applauded. This wasn't even a team scrapping for Premiership survival, but one that would have gone above Arsenal had they won. Incredible.

10/31/2006 10:28 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's meant to be a sport!!!

10/31/2006 10:31 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's about time someone complained about hansen and lawrenson and I agree with the giste of most of what's been written here - i.e. they help to undermine the premiership 'product' and the English game by failing to condemn the negativity employed by 80-90 per cent of premiership teams that play Arsenal at home. Having said that, it makes perfect sense unfortunately for teams like Everton, Bolton, Boro etc to play like this because they cannot live with Arsenal in a game of football.

The fact is, we are drifting slowly but surely towards the formation of a European super league. There is now such a gulf between the top teams and the rest in England that it's getting ridiculous. To use that boxing metaphor again, it's like paying to watch two fighters that are woefully mismatched and then seeing the inferior one run around the ring for 12 rounds to avoid getting hit. How much longer will people keep forking out all their hard-earned cash to watch mediocre teams just trying to survive? The cracks are starting to really show now.

10/31/2006 1:24 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete says.....well done 'T'. It is time the 'pundits' were investigated. Normally they are reasonable without being accurate, but because AFC were playing a Scouse team 'brown nosing' suddenly took over.

The two ex Liverpool players were terrified of saying what most real supporters were thinking ie; Everton were overrun and deserved to be beaten 7-0 for the second year running. Instead like kids in a playground, they waited for Stubbs ( who is he, but another Scouse from Tranmere, and that makes him an expert on football?) to start his ridiculous rant, and they slimed in behind him.

My feeling is that all TV producers should be made to give presenting to true independents, and critics should be as independent as possible, say from ex refs and foreign players like Bergkamp & Zola.

In the end Arsenal showed the classic flaw in our armory.....16 corners without showing any danger of scoring! This above all should be critisised and our coaching staff need stuffing for the lack of ideas. Why is it we see no tall players standing by the near post to cause havoc with back headers. Why is Henry taking corners when we all know he is so dangerous if & when the ball comes out to him on the edge of the box? Why is it that at the other end we are not man marking? These are the point the so called critics of the BBC should be analysing,not the boring negative tactics of scared managers!

11/01/2006 10:58 am

 
Anonymous Fottie fan said...

For for christ sake belt up! You moaning minnies, you always want to see your team beating anyone in sight and when you diont, you moan. moan moan moan moan moan. It has nothing to do with scousers. they are Liverpool players they hate Everton right? so whats your problem? Thisd site is about Arsenal all over, someone else said that and they are right. Win games or shut up stupid lot.

11/01/2006 11:44 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Anon. 1.24pm.
"failing to condemn the negativity employed by 80-90 percent of premiership teams that play arsenal at home"!!!

What a superbly pro arsenal diatribe. That's easily one of the most dazzlingly self-aggrandizing, non-ironic posts I've read on here in some while and that's saying something.
Some of you gooners really are in a little world of your own. And good luck to you.

11/01/2006 1:58 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Arsenal fans really are brown nosing yourselves, right behind Wenger. He says this, he's right, he's says that, he's right. You lot think you are so good you should leave the EPL and go elsewhere, then go. your pompous, egotistical words show you think you are all that but your not. You believe in your own hype and you think your al that. Make me sick, really. I hope you drop out tonight

11/01/2006 2:15 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnerPete says...whoever you are 'anon 2.15' you obviously know nothing about supporting a great club with the greatest manager ever, do You? Arsene IS always correct, and yes we moan, so what? Its our team, and our manager, and football support is all about praise & moaning.If you hate everything to do with AFC & their supporters, go to a website that says everthing you want to hear.

Re; the BBC lack of talent critics,I say bring back Saint & Greavsy, a scouse & a cockney, just the right blend.

11/01/2006 4:51 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear strutting gooner peacocks,

Hanson & Lawro have been dissing Spurs with a smirk since as long as I can remember. I always took it on the chin. But then I'm not a pompous puff-ball with a superiority complex.

Try this. It's really well written and spot on.

http://spursvarse.blogspot.com/2006/11/this-is-spot-on-read.html.

11/01/2006 5:16 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GunnersPete, all you come here for is to hear a Gooner talk Gooner talk. As for this

"In the end Arsenal showed the classic flaw in our armory.....16 corners without showing any danger of scoring! This above all should be critisised and our coaching staff need stuffing for the lack of ideas. Why is it we see no tall players standing by the near post to cause havoc with back headers. Why is Henry taking corners when we all know he is so dangerous if & when the ball comes out to him on the edge of the box? Why is it that at the other end we are not man marking? These are the point the so called critics of the BBC should be analysing,not the boring negative tactics of scared managers!"

You lot couldnt beat Everton and you all sad abut it,blaming scousers, blaming BBc, go and blame your selfs. you lot didnt score more and you start crying mummy. Yiou lot put the arse in arsenal, go back in your shell and come out when you can talk properly

11/01/2006 11:11 pm

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

 

Locations of visitors to this page