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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Match Of The Day: Conservative or Regulated?

Watching Match Of the Day last night, I was quite perplexed on a few issues. Issues during the respective games upon which no discussion nor analysis was made. There was only the goals and missed chances in the Spurs v Liverpool game to speak on. Then the programme focused on Stoke v Arsenal and predominately the Rory Delap throw-ins which seem to made sports headlines. The scoreline was covered, the goals were scored, but what about the injuries? Was there no information at the time of broadcast to pass on? How was Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott doing? Was Robin van Persie's foul on Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen a foul, a booking or a straight red as it ended? Usually the pundits would debate these issues but didn't do so last night.

The penalty at Fratton Park, conceded by Papa Boupa Dioup on Titus Bramble. They just skated over it briefly, saying they were sorry for him following on from the one he conceded at Anfield on Wednesday. When I replayed the moment, Bramble blatantly dived while Dioup had stuck his foot out but brought it back before it could make the significant contact to actually fall Bramble as he did. Move on to Wigan's Man-Of-The-Moment Amr Zaki, far more interesting to speak on, and his penalty score.

But the West Brom v Blackburn game was something else. Officiating on the playing field by fresh referee Mike Jones, who has handled this current season in the EPL the games previously of Hull v Wigan in August and Wigan v Aston Villa last weekend, and he was therefore considered the 'freshman'. The awarding by Jones of a Blackburn penalty for a Ryan Donk tug on Jason Roberts' shirt was considered by MOTD as 'soft', despite the fact it is an offence in the rules of the game and as such gives away a penalty if committed in the penalty box by a defender.

'Soft' as it may be, the pundits felt it was a good decision. For me Mr Jones had excellent vision to see it and then give it, for I have seen a number of shirt-tugs during corners and freekicks that always seem to go unpunished. However, the awarding of a red for two bookable offences to Benni McCarthy was also considered unfortunate for McCarthy. I don't understand why. McCarthy had gone into West Brom skipper Jonathan Greening and earned a first booking. With that, he then came to meet a high ball that was due to go over him with his arm, a clear deliberate handball. He was rightly dismissed.

With this 'Respect' for officials that is being campaigned, albeit quietly, there has been a call for officials to do likewise and ensure they do genuinely grant decisions appropriately. Yet when they do, they are castigated. Jones was said to have given the penalty more for the fact he is in his first season in the EPL and knows he is being thoroughly monitored as to his performance. For me, that has nothing at all to do with the awarding of the penalty decision.

I'm sure it was MOTD who said Andy Johnson's first goal for Fulham against Wigan on Wednesday was on-side, when it was clearly off-side! I know my colleague, T, has stated his opinion regarding the MOTD pundits as being bias or clearly not as accurate or succinct as it should be, particularly when they look over the performances of Arsenal. For me I ask the question after last night's broadcast as to whether they are conservative with their views, choosing on what they look over and analyse, or they are regulated in what views they provide by the programme producers.

There have been other issues in which they have stated a view that, to me, was very contradictory to what actually happened, and I'll be on the look-out to report them here on EFT. Considering they use the latest technological equipment to break down moments in the game (particularly their '3-D pitch' facility where they freeze the moment in a game and produce it exactly as it is in a 3-D graphic, turning the graphic around to what could be the best angle to make judgement from), they should be much more accurate with their opinions on all issues.

I do value MOTD for its analysis, I don't depend on it solely, and to think it has to be called into further question is quite troubling. but it wouldn't be the only one. Sky Sports' Andy Gray for starters has been having a dig or two at referees regularly, and I think such sided opinion gives more pressure to referees from players, managers and fans where it is not necessary.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree 100%
i still cant beleive the likes of hansen and to a less extent shearer are allowed to be considered pundits for a highly watch MOTD show

11/02/2008 11:27 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hansens the best pundit around. he criticises arsenal but is always right in the end. arsenal fans criticise arsenal, so why shouldn't he?

11/03/2008 12:53 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a load of bollocks!! Ha! Who cares what Arse-al get up to, they've been giving it plenty to us when we were down and now they're in the shits as we start coming good and coming up. Thought they could beat us at The End-all-rats thought they had won the game at 4-2 Adebay-bore and Van Pussie all laughing and then two goals later we've comeback!! Luvley! Didnt Fabou-ass say their Ladies team could beat us???? hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha Wankers and they cant defend little throwins go down Goners COME ON YOU SPURS

11/03/2008 11:31 am

Blogger T said...

A good topic Redsman. I tend to think that the analysis by Lawrenson and Hansen is lazy rather than conservative or regulated.

For instance, when Hull beat West Brom 3-0 to keep their great run going Hansen focused on Zayatte to explain their rise - because he scored a goal from a corner and was a loan signing doing well at the back. I remember thinking - surely there has to be more of an explanation for Hull's play.

The next day i skipped my morning run and had breakfast watching Goals on Sunday where Chris Kamara produced a great analysis on Hull's use of an attacking 4-3-3 and the interplay of the front-three supported by a solid midfield three. Kamara may have an image of a 'joker' due to his adverts and catchphrases but when it comes to serious analysis he is always incisive and highlights things with use of video that are stimulating to think about. In fact, I can't recall the last time Hansen or Lawrenson has made me think this.

I also feel that MOTD gloss over things as you mentioned above - and its unsatisfying stuff for football watchers who want high quality analysis.

Finally, I totally agree with your comments about Andy Gray and his criticism of referees in some of his recent commentaries. I think Gray is a great co-commentator - very engaging to listen to - but some of his prejudice against certain referees is not good to hear.

P.S. On Hansen and Arsenal. Yes, true to say he is right at the moment. But in those days when we were right up there he could barely conceal his dislike for our success and style of game. Not sure why that was.

11/03/2008 4:47 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

I remember the talk on Zayatte and wondered if it was because he'd scored why Hansen went into depth on him. Felt the analysis was too soon on the player.

Andy Gray is bought and paid for - like a number of people on TV. He has the excitement and high voice enthusiasm Sky have been paying him for and I think he goes a wee bit too far on certain issues during matches.


11/03/2008 8:53 pm


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