Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The dentist & Barcelona v. Real Madrid

Was at the dentist on Monday and he had Talk Sport on the radio. They were previewing the upcoming match between Barcelona and Real Madrid (which turned out to be a great game to watch). They were speculating how Barcelona or Real Madrid would fair in the Premier League and how Chelsea and ManU would do in La Liga. What they didn’t talk about was refereeing and their interpretation of the rules. I certainly think Barcelona and Real Madrid would struggle to dominate in the Premier League with English referees who allow a more physical game and tend to warn players rather than book them immediately for physical transgressions. There was a raft of bookings in the Barcelona/Real Madrid match, many of which would not have been seen as such in England. But such an environment encourages skilful play and minimises the impact of those with a ‘good engine’ which, generally, is code for no skill, runs around a lot and can kick people.

Whilst on referees – the commentators on the Spurs and Liverpool match were discussing the apparent difference in the application of the laws of the game with regard to incidents in the penalty area. Atkinson failed to give a penalty when Assou-Etc’s follow-through on Kuyt upended him but booked Johnson for a similar situation with Bale near the half-way line. Atkinson was also the official in last night’s Carling Cup encounter and allowed a similar challenge/assault on Theo to go unpunished – it was in the penalty area, of course.

One of the fundamental problems in English football is the standard of refereeing and their collusion in the ‘good old English way of playing’ that minimises skill. This is one reason why England is never truly successful in the Euros or World Cups.

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