Monday, September 24, 2012

Mark Hasley got it right

Relatively good week-end with 5 winners, 2 voids and 1 loser out of 8 selections. Barcelona, Porto, Chelsea, Southampton, Sunderland (+1 Handicap) won, Man City and Liverpool (+1 handicap) games voided but Swansea was thrashed at home to Everton.

On the overall 90 minutes, I think everyone agrees that Liverpool deserved to get at least a point out of the game. As expected, they wanted to win that game badly and were better for the most part against their arch-rivals. The Kops and many others feel aggrieved that referee Halsey cost the hosts the game on 2 controversial decisions; the first one regarding the sending off of Shelvey and the second one the penalty awarded at the end of the match. In my previous post my selection was Livepool, yet I have no qualms about the referee's decisions on both cases; Mark Halsey was right.

Shelvey goes in two-footed in his challenge with Evans. Remember the same Evans went two-footed in an Old Trafford game last year and was rightly dismissed.The action is a dangerous one, the contact is made, the rashness has to be cautioned with an automatic red card. In any other league other than EPL, people would not even be discussing this decision. Some are questioning the color of the card because of the impact on the match; it does not matter if it is a match of the highest importance or a normal League match; two-footed tackles, be it without intent to injure, are automatic red cards.

The penalty is questionable only when viewed on replay or slow motion. It is clear that on his retreat, Glen Johnson somehow unbalances Valencia. It is true that the Ecuadorian goes to the ground tamely but the England defender clearly clips him, however light the trip is. The referee does not have the benefit of replay to see how much contact has been made or how well Valencia reacts to the play. Once he sees that the contact, hence foul, has been made, he has to call the penalty. Even on replay, the hardest Kop fan must admit that there have been worse calls for a penalty. Some football analysts have called for referees to have access to tv replays to overrule such kinds of decisions. I welcome that approach, but even in that case, the penalty would have stood. Take it from the NFL where a team has a number of chances during a match to challenge a referee-ing call. If the referees cannot conclusively come to a different decision than the call they made, based on tv replays etc, in 1 minute, their decision stands. The penalty decision would have stood at Anfield because none of the replays conclusively showed beyond any doubt that Valencia went to the ground by himself.

Tough luck Liverpool or anti-Man Utd fans (from what I've seen, there are a lot of them among so-called tv analysts!), Mark Hasley was spot on during these controversial moments that turned the match upside down. I can say it even if it is clear that a favourable result for Liverpool would have been better for my coffers.

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