Tag Archives: kane

Does contact constitute a penalty?

The recent match between tottenham and Liverpool illuminated an alarming facet of the modern game.

The game ended in a 2-2 draw, but only thanks to some erroneous decision making that was then judged by the majority of authority figures to in fact, be on the correct path.

The game swivelled on two late penalties – both for tottenham – and on close inspection, with the aid of slo-mo technology and a myriad of angles, we can surely all see that both spot-kicks were incorrectly given.

Since when does contact constitute a penalty?

We can forgive the referee, Jon Moss, for giving them. In the speed of the game, some things take on entirely different views and mistakes are commonplace. If VAR was in place though, then neither would’ve been given, right?

Jon Moss was in conversation with his fourth official for the final penalty – when Virgil Van Dijk ‘collided’ with Erik Lamela – and after a lengthy discussion, he judged that the Dutchman had brought down the Argentine winger. Moss even asked the fourth official for the use of VAR – even though the technology wasn’t available for this game.

If Moss was so unsure that he needed the benefit of a TV replay, surely he shouldn’t have given it?

Jurgen Klopp raged after the game, the German coach was obviously convinced his side had bagged the points after Mohamed Salah had scored in extra time to put Liverpool 2-1 up.

Mark Clattenburg was asked in the days afterward regarding the awarding of both spot kicks and said that both were incorrectly awarded – but he was in the minority.

Harry Kane, when asked by BBC Sport about the award of the first penalty, when he went over Lorus Karius’s dive, said “I felt contact so I went down. I’m not going to jump out of the way because it’s football.”

Dejan Lovren was incensed about the penalty, and Van Dijk was quite candid, saying that Kane dived.

The second penalty, Jurgen Klopp said of Lamela;

“The softest touch in the whole game decided the game. Lamela was already on the way down.”

The PGMOL, Jermaine Jenas, former referee Dermot Gallagher and a host of other supposedly respected voices in the game all branded the penalties correct.

What does the actual law state for a penalty though?

‘If a player commits a direct free-kick offence in the penalty area, then a penalty is awarded.’

What constitutes a direct free-kick offence?

‘A direct free-kick is awarded if a player commits any of the following in a careless, reckless manner or using excessive force

charges

jumps at

kicks or attempts to kick

pushes

strikes or attempts to strike

tackles or challenges

trips or attempts to trip.

Did either incident involve any of the above? Does any of the above mention that contact constitutes an automatic spot kick?

No.

Raheem Sterling, Ashley Young, Delle Ali, Harry Kane, Ander Herrerra are all serial offenders, using a trailing leg or their forward impetus to sway the referees into a decision. Even our own players aren’t above simulating to earn an advantage – Welbeck vs AC Milan anyone?

Contact is going to be made in the game, and when a corner is swung in, players clamber over each other to gain leverage, yet no spot kicks are given. Harry Kane used Laurent Koscielny to climb and score the winner in the recent North London Derby, yet he wasn’t pulled up for this.

There are instances when players are unfairly penalised for not going down under a tackle, as the referee believes it isn’t a foul as the player hasn’t fallen to the ground like he’s been shot.

It is this that has led to players feeling justified in going to ground when they feel any form of contact. Why should their team lose out?

The game has changed, but it’s on dangerous footing. The current decision making is inconsistent and it can lead to massive errors.

Errors that can hardly have bigger ramifications with the financial rewards in the game.

VAR needs to be the impartial factor we all know it could be, but if match officials believe that contact constitutes a penalty, then what hope is there?

Arsenal Vs tottenham Match Preview

It’s that time in the season again when we battle with our North London neighbours and this season sees a depressingly familiar outlook for the match.




This season and last have seen tottenham enter the respective derby matches as favourites. After over two decades of Gunner domination, spurs can now call themselves favourites to win. Last year was the first time in 21 years that they had finished above Arsenal and the team they now put out is a real equal – or perhaps stronger – than the eleven that Arsene Wenger is capable of assembling.


We do have a strong home record to fall back on and it is this that must fire our boys to a win we so badly need. The last game was a loss to runaway leaders Man City that highlighted the gap now between us and the title challengers.


This game has to spark a revival and a charge up the table if we are to sustain a belief of a Champions League spot.


There will be many tasty battles on display in this game, which can be found in this Arsenal tactical report – and the one that will probably decide the fate of the result will occur right in the centre of the pitch.


Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka have been the preferred duo to marshall the engine room this season, but gelling between the pair has been slow to muster. They have been effective at time, but we will need more if we are to harbour any hopes of victory. Especially if Pochettino goes with Dembele and Winks. This combo is quick to win the ball and just as rapid to offload to a marauding Alli, Eriksen and Kane.


In terms of injuries, Danny Welbeck may be back available for selection if he passes a fitness test and his workrate may give him an instant recall – especially if Alexis’ display in our last game is anything to go by. The Chilean appeared to have already left the club and if selection demanded form, then Sanchez would be out. This probably won’t be the case, but Welbeck could start ahead of Lacazette instead – omitting the Frenchman from our defeat to Man City was something that incensed our support and would likely have the same reaction this time around. Olivier Giroud is out after picking up a thigh injury on international duty, but it isn’t major.


Our defence should have Laurent Koscielny included, but Shkodran Mustafi will likely again be out. With Rob Holding stillnursing an injury, it appears as if Captain Mertesacker will have the job of snuffing out tottenham’s attack – something he has done countless times before. If aided by Koscielny and Nacho Monreal, we could have the perfect platform.


Harry Kane and Dele Alli were not available for England’s recent bout of friendlies and this has given them enough time to recover from injuries. Kane has a frightening record of scoring in derby games, and if he is fed by Eriksen, then Cech could have a busy 90 minutes.


Our team is more than good enough to win this, but what is worrying is that we all know we need to be at our best – and that is something that has been a fleeting occurrence this season. We will need every bit of passion, pressing and stamina to grab three points in this game and stop moods amongst our fanbase from plummeting even lower. November isn’t kind to Wenger – it is statistically his worst month in terms of points per game in his long tenure – but what a game to buck this alarming trend.


Keep the faith, we can do this.


Predicted lineup – Cech, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Lacazette.

Predicted Scoreline – I have no idea…

Arsenal and tottenham Combined XI

Published on Arsenal Mania

There is always a fair amount of hype in the build-up to a much-anticipated fixture. The majority of it is to ride the crest of the wave as fans look forward to the game, but some is simply filler designed only to ruffle feathers and guarantee a reaction.


The North London Derby is no different, but the parameters for this last bout have changed. For over twenty years, Arsenal have governed this constituency, but this game saw tottenham in the ascendency. They were favourites – and for good reason.


So much so, that a recent Combined XI from respective club legends Ledley King and Thierry Henry recently for Sky Sports, saw just one Arsenal player in this amalgamated team.

Just one.


Is this fair?


Here is a more balanced version of an eleven made up from spurs and Gunners players. What do you think?











Petr Cech or Hugo Lloris?

Verdict – Hugo Lloris

Petr Cech has been a bastion of excellence and reliability ever since he came to the Premier League, but this season has seen a slip below his usual standards. Facts are facts, and he has 14 clean sheets to Cech’s 9, and has conceded 13 goals less. Hugo Lloris has maintained his performances, and his athleticism racing from his line sees him take the gloves for this team.


Hector Bellerin or Kyle Walker?

Verdict – Hector Bellerin

Kyle Walker seems to have the England spot nailed down, and his rapier speed has long been his trademark. Walker’s control has been his weakness, but he has really shaped up this season. Does it see him rise above Bellerin? Walker has more assists this season, but Hector’s passing percentage is higher. It really is closer than it was a couple of seasons ago. Hector’s haircut seemed to coincide with a drop in form, but he is faster than Walker, and his control is good enough to see him make the Spain squad. Bellerin for the win.


Toby Alderweireld or Shkodran Mustafi?

Verdict – Toby Alderweireld

The Belgian defender is a threat in the air on set pieces, and has strength and positional awareness in stock. Mustafi had a great start to his Arsenal career, but a drop in confidence for the whole team saw the German start to make errors. In spite of this, this is closer than most would give Mustafi credit for. He has more goals than Alderweireld, and has more aerial success than the Belgian. It is defensive stats that Alderweireld edges the German though. More clearances, more blocks and he makes less fouls. It is close, but in short, Mustafi is often shrugged off the ball, but how often have you seen Alderweireld suffer the same fate? Toby grabs the shirt.


Laurent Koscielny or Jan Vertonghen?

Verdict – Koscielny

Koscielny is viewed as a mandatory name in the side, and in the last few seasons, he has elevated himself and his displays so much that it wouldn’t be unfair to class him amongst the best in his position in Europe. Vertonghen is consistent, he is tough and when he is not in the spurs side, they look a little lost. But who should play? Koscielny scores more goals, and is a big-game player. He has a superior tackling percentage, makes less fouls and has played more minutes. Vertonghen makes more clearances and blocks, but he is blocked out of this eleven.


Nacho or Danny Rose?

Verdict – Danny Rose

Once the figure of ridicule, Rose has really improved. Up and down the left flank tirelessly, Rose is perhaps the most improved player in the spurs team. Nacho has been recalled into the Spain squad, and his attacking prowess is a real asset for Arsenal. Despite this, Rose has more goals in the League, and more clearances and blocks, as well as a superior tackling percentage. Rose has more than double the amount of bookings, but this Rose is planted into the eleven.


Eric Dier or Granit Xhaka?

Verdict – Eric Dier

The Swiss star is still adapting to the League, and his tackling style is continuing to get him unwanted attention from match officials. Eric Dier is adaptable, playing all across the backline and in defensive midfield, and the England man is strong aerially too. He has the edge in the defensive side of the game, with more clearances, blocks and less fouls. In terms of passing though, Xhaka obliterates his rival. Long balls, crosses, key passes are all in favour of Arsenal’s man. So who takes the shirt? Seeing as it is a defensive role, Dier edges it.


Santi Cazorla or Moussa Dembele?

Verdict – Santi Cazorla

Of course, the Spaniard is injured and has missed half of the season, but we are comparing teams, and Santi is undeniably part of this Arsenal side. Cazorla has played far less than his counterpart, and yet still has more goals and assists, as well as key passes. Dembele takes the defensive side of the duel, but Santi isn’t far behind, despite giving away so much in terms of physicality. Santi would benefit any team, this is a no-brainer. If it wasn’t for injury, this wouldn’t be a contest.


Theo Walcott or Heung-Min Son?

Verdict – Son

This is a toughie. The South Korean has more goals and assists than Walcott, but Theo better dribbling percentages, is dispossessed less, and has a higher match rating. Son is super-efficient in terms of chances though, and Son just gets the nod.


Christian Eriksen or Mesut Ozil?

Verdict – Eriksen

This is an oft-debated issue. Mesut Ozil has a fine pedigree, and his reputation precedes him. Eriksen’s star is still rising, and although last season he was eclipsed by Ozil, this season is a different story. The all-important assist totals is a one-sided battle, with Eriksen registering 12 to Ozil’s 6. Ozil has a better passing percentage, but Eriksen has more goals. The Dane has played six more games than the German, but this season has seen him become more dangerous, where Ozil has had to change his role with Cazorla missing. In terms of talent, Ozil bests Eriksen, but this season, Eriksen is in the eleven.


Dele Alli or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?

Verdict – Alli

This is a toughie. Arsenal’s left side is often changed, with no one really holding down the spot.
So, we go with the player who has played most from all the candidates, and that is The Ox. Here is a surprising stat; The Ox has the same amount of assists as Alli, even though he has made far less appearances. He also has a better passing percentage too. He has improved so much this season, but Alli has been talismanic. For such a young player, his threat in front of goal is huge. Alli must go into the team, but The Ox has pushed him hard.


Harry Kane or Alexis?

Verdict – Alexis

Both players are their teams leading goal-getters, and Kane is top of the charts when it comes to goals. In terms of assists though, Alexis leads the way with 9 so far. The Chilean also has better passing, key passes and shots per game. Although Kane has more goals, Alexis offers more than just goals. How can you leave out Alexis?

So, to surmise, here is the current combined XI –

Lloris

Bellerin

Alderweireld

Koscielny

Rose

Dier

Santi

Son

Eriksen

Alli

Alexis


This is viewed by some as the tipping point for North London. This season has finally seen tottenham emerge from Arsenal’s shadow. This is their best ever Premier League season, and they fully deserve to be where they are. Will this mean that from here, tottenham are the bigger team?

No. They may kick off a few seasons of superiority or they may not. Much depends on transfer activity and how spurs play at Wembley. For them to usurp Arsenal’s dominance in North London though they must first win the title, then win it at The Emirates twice, win more FA Cups and continue to be a presence in the Champions League.

Enjoy this season spurs, but this is not over. 

tottenham Vs Arsenal – The NLD Preview

Kickoff – 1630 GMT

Not for quite some time have our neighbours gone into a North London Derby as such overwhelming favourites. 

It really is a good thing that form doesn’t apply in these fixtures. 

If it did, then tottenham would win handsomely and enjoy the superiority they currently enjoy in the Premiership table. Sitting in second spot and chasing Chelsea hard for the title, they have left Arsenal choking on their dust. The Gunners are sitting in sixth place and the gap of 14 points is a chasm and the biggest it has been in over two decades.

Arsene Wenger must set his team up accordingly. This may carry a whole heap of pressure, but it is also a great opportunity to win the last derby at White Hart Lane – a place which has been a happy hunting ground over the years.

Wenger will have to deal without Shkodran Mustafi again, but talismanic defender Laurent Koscielny has a “60% chance of playing” according to the Gunners boss in his last press conference. Arsenal’s hopes could well hinge on if Koscielny makes the team, but if he does, will Wenger continue with his recent experiment with 3 at the back?

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be one who hopes so, as his performances have been excellent since the new formation has been implemented. The Ox was an unused sub in our last game, but could come straight back into the team. Theo Walcott or Hector Bellerin may be the men to make way. 

 Mauricio Pochettino is sweating on the fitness of Moussa Dembele, but if the Belgian misses out, then Eric Dier may come into the defensive midfield spot. Aside from Dembele and Danny Rose, spurs have a clean bill of health.

The title race may be filling the home side’s thoughts, but they won’t want to lose the last ever derby at their ground. They have recent derby results in their favour though, as Arsenal have one win in the last eight trips to White Hart Lane – which was in 2014. There may well be goals too, as despite the poor recent record, the Gunners have scored in 35 of their last 36 derby games. 

Arsenal players and Gooners know that if tottenham win, then for the first time in over 21 years they will finish above us. We cannot allow them this luxury. There are some stats worth remembering though.

This is Wengers 50th derby, and he has lost only seven so far. spurs have the only unbeaten home record left in the league, and have already amassed their best ever points total.  We meanwhile, have lost four of our last five away games and tottenham have won their last 8 league games. 

The man to watch out for? Christian Eriksen. He has been involved in 16 goals in his last 12 games, and the Dane is playing the best football of his career so far. Harry Kane – the mouth-breathing, non-annunciating goal-getter, has a great record against us too, so our newly-shaped defence must be drilled and prepped. 

It’s a good thing form doesn’t apply…….

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Gabriel, Koscielny, Holding, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xhaka, Ramsey, Monreal, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud

Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal. 

Who Will Win the Golden Boot?

With just over half of the season already played out, the pecking order in the Premiership table is starting to take shape. 

The indicators for which sides are the cream rising to the surface, and which are simply floating with no purpose in the middle, are clear to see. These teams grouping near the top of the league are there through superior tactics, a stout rearguard or ample firepower. Even if they have a modest armoury, these clubs will not be sitting in the position they are in without at least some goals.

Goals are the currency on which results are earned, and every team has to pay the price to get into the VIP club – the European places. Without goals in your pocket, you will not get past security.

Chelsea, Arsenal, tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United and even Everton have contenders for the crown of top goalscorer for the season. Whomsoever of these hotshots grabs the accolade, it may just be enough to fire them above their rivals for a very esteemed league position? 

So, who is odds on for the Golden Boot? We look at English Premier Betting at William Hill for a hint at which of these strikers may just give their side an edge in the latter half of the season:




Diego Costa





















The turbulent Brazilian turned Spaniard has apparently turned over a new leaf since Italian coach Antonio Conte has taken over at Chelsea. His 15 goals scored thus far have seen the best of Costa, and his efficient finishing has seen him rise to prominence in Chelsea’s rise to the top of the league. If things continue in this current vein, then Costa will be one of the leading contenders to win the top scorer award. It wouldn’t be Costa without one blot on the copybook, and his recent hiatus from the side was shrouded in mystery amidst rumours of a bust-up with the very coach who has been responsible for returning him to form. What the fallout will be from this is debateable, but Costa is sitting pretty right now. 



Alexis Sanchez












This striker from Chile is on fire. He has been on such form that defenders have no answer for his high jinx. He is currently level on goals with Costa, and has rescued his side on numerous occasions. He is also regarded in the same way by the bookies, as his odds are similar to Costa’s too. Fitness is one thing that Alexis prioritises as well as playing time and that should see him get enough games to grab the goals that keep him in contention. He is also the striker with the most assists in this list. An all-out Action Man.






Zlatan Ibrahimovic
















The giant Swede has continued to bang in the goals after his move from Paris Saint Germain, and his aerial ability and self-belief have given United a life raft in the sea of mediocrity. Jose Mourinho has overseen a run of results which has seen them ride on the coattails of the frontrunners, but fail to make any inroads on the gap between them and the Champions League places. Zlatan has been the difference between points – and no points. He did go through a dry spell, but he is only one goal behind the top two strikers, so it obviously didn’t hamper him and his giant ego too much. 




Harry Kane













This slack-jawed poor annunciator has continued his goalscoring from the previous season, and his team are looking very dangerous. He has also missed a few weeks and is still amongst the hottest of strikers. Kane is profiting from plenty of chances crafted by Delle Alli, Christian Eriksen and their effervescent full-backs. Harry Kane is indeed the real deal and will definitely be amongst the shouts for top scorer, but right now, he is two goals behind Sanchez and Costa. Last seasons top scorer has some work to do.


Romelu Lukaku





















The big Belgian has his detractors, but just like last season he is firing the goals in. The Toffees have been ridiculously inconsistent, but the one thing they have been able to rely on is Lukaku. The big man is surely on the radar of some big clubs, and has 12 goals so far. Even in his teams poorest spell he was still bagging goals, so he cannot be discounted. Last season he finished four goals behind Kane and in third place overall. Can he go two places better?



Sergio Aguero































The Argentinean is four goals behind in the stakes, but only a fool would not consider him. He has missed a large part of the season – four games alone through suspension – but he is still in contention in the face of this. He has the pedigree, but does his team? Man City are stuttering, but he will be forever amongst the goals. If his hamstrings stay healthy, then Aguero will be on the list. Maybe a bit more teamplay may benefit Aguero – he is the only striker on the list who has not registered an assist. 

There are a few others in the running. Jermain Defoe is proving age and playing for Sunderland is not doing him any harm. The 34year old has 12 goals so far. Just imagine if he was playing for a team who created just a little more. Delle Alli has eleven goals to his name as his star burns ever brighter. There is no reason why this youngster cannot continue to plunder as he has done thus far.
These are the runners and riders for the Golden Boot 2016/17.

Who is your money on?

Beware the False Herald…..

Originally posted on Goonersphere

It would seem that the media got a little carried away with our defeat at the hands of our dear neighbours. Not only did they get to see us being taught a lesson by our rivals but they also got to see their next pedestal-warmer.

Harry Kane.

Ugly Kane

I may be criticised for raining on Kane’s parade but am I the only one who feels that he hasn’t entirely proved himself yet? He hasn’t played one full season in the top-flight and has yet to ply his trade against the cream of Europe  – yet articles such as this huge pile of hyperbole

lend credence to the theory that journalists enjoy the ending to a game of Jenga rather than the taking part.

Talking of articles that are written solely to infuriate and include nothing other than frothing – take a gander at respected pundit Danny Murphy’s comments

This is another domino in a long line of toppled pieces. The previous fallen hero? Look no further than the current incumbent of the title ‘England’s Saviour’ as it is one of his team mates. Andros Townsend.

Only last year, hacks were clamouring for Andros to be labelled as England’s one true talent as he had a knack for going past a player. The reason Townsend raised his profile so much is that his style was in direct contrast to the national side. Not since the days of Glenn Hoddle in France ’98 have we had an England side with even the remotest of swaggers in their game. Townsend racing past a prone full-back was a thrilling sight as NO-ONE had done it in an England jersey for so long.

Poor Andros has fallen to earth with a crash and now lives solely on the goal-bonuses he receives for scoring spot-kicks. Other than that he seems to be treading along a path well-worn by Aaron Lennon.

It is not solely national sides that enjoy a dash of pedestal-smashing. Club sides all over Europe all have a player that is ‘The Next Big Thing’. These labels are so heavy a burden that they sometimes are responsible for the crushing death of a career. For every Robbie Fowler you have a Neil Mellor. Ditto for Joe Cole and Ravel Morrison.  Either way, with media adulation comes a fierce spotlight that with extended exposure comes the inevitable fallout.

As Gooners, we’ve seen a long line of starlets that had the shelf-life of a DairyLea CheeseSlice. Francis Jeffers. Quincy-Owusu-Obeyie. Jay-Emanuel-Thomas. Graham Barrett. Sanchez Watt. Tomas Danilevicius? The graveyard for Wunderkinds careers is vast and ever-growing. A living can be forged as a journeyman of the lower-leagues and perchance a few seasons sharing the limelight in the Premiership with a promoted team willing to take a gamble on a former child prodigy can be achieved. The dream however, is still dashed.

Arsenal youth team celebrate Arsenal-yth-2000

For luminaries of their chosen field to hang an albatross of gargantuan weight around a player of undoubted promise – as these journalists have done with Harry Kane – is a potential death knell and at the very least shoddy, ill-advised scrawling. Kane has bagged 22 goals this season in 34 appearances. On the face of things, that is exemplary. What it doesn’t mention is that his stats for the season are severely bloated by scoring seven in seven in Tottenham’s Europa League campaign – facing off against such worthy adversaries as FC QuestionMark of lower Slovenia and Sporting Club de Whothefuckareya no doubt do his figures the world of good. His League stats though are still International class, he has 12 in 20 League apps.

For him to be heralded as the healer of England’s ills is preposterous. There is no doubt in my mind that he deserves an England chance – but what of Charlie Austin? Wasn’t he the flavour of the month in December? Surely if they are England-class then form is temporary? What about a player that bagged 15 goals in the same amount of time? In a far more limited side? That would surely warrant the fiercest of spotlights? Well, that player was Michael Ricketts.

Ricketts

My point is that haste is not the best tactic when judging a player. Danny Murphy has simply seen a wagon speeding by in his peripheral vision and realised that it was travelling quicker than his own pedestrian career. Hence him jumping on it and attempting to take the reins and thus being responsible for the potential mardi gras if Kane does fulfill his potential.

Let us see if Kane continues what is currently a purple patch. Let us see if Ross Barkley can find his best position. Let us hope that The Ox can find consistency to match his endeavour and skill. Let’s not hinder them as they attempt to take off. Unless Kane stays at spurs. Then hinder away.

By @JokmanAFC