Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Notes from the Big Leagues

Barclays Premier League: Howard Webb, who is supposedly England’s best referee, was terrible at the Manchester derby on Sunday. Of course, it is difficult to say that the referee was entirely wrong in brandishing Ronaldo a second yellow for what was deemed to be a deliberate hand ball. But that episode aside, the card happy referee branded needless yellow cards to Rafael Da Silva and Patrice Evra. Rafael who is all of 18 years of age was given a card for throwing the ball a few feet into the air in an effort to return it to the rightful place from where the free kick was to be taken. Evra who was booked for a tame tackle on Wright Philips which hardly befitted the whistle, let alone the card misses the game against Spurs as a result of the same. I think referees much like players and managers should be accountable for their decisions and I don’t see any reason why they cannot give a post match interview explaining their decisions on the field of play.

Spanish La Liga: Barcelona are playing a brand of fantasy football a la the great Madrid team that comprised of Zidane, Figo and Ronaldo. Unlike that Real team though, Barcelona are very strong at the back. They have a whopping goal difference of 31 from a mere 13 games and are without doubt the best team to watch in Europe at the moment. To compliment the attacking brilliance of Henry, Messi, Eto’o, Bojan, Xavi and Iniesta, Barcelona possess some solid centre backs in the form of Puyol, Marquez and Pique. I cannot imagine anyone in Spain catching up with the Catalan giants this season.

Italian Serie A: The land of strategic brilliance when it comes to football continues to churn out some of the best tactics. I recently read about and watched the most bizarre tactical ploy that has ever been deployed for an attacking free kick, courtesy the superb column that Gabrielle Marcotti writes for the Times. Catania midfielder, Gianvito Plasmati, who was stationed behind the wall, succeeded in distracting the opposition goalkeeper by dropping his shorts just as the free kick was being taken. Of course there were several observations made about the spirit of the game being damaged and so on and so forth, but that does not take away anything from what was a truly outlandish tactical ploy. (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=gUg_6fXztOM)


Rahul Saha said...

Haha. Thats a good one that is. Wonder why we never thought of it.

A Couch-side View said...

I was thinking of the same thing. We could have even used it when going up to take a penalty.