Bits & Pieces: Including – The Draw Would Have Been Fixed, Antoine Griezmann, Eden Hazard And The Retrospective Diving Rule

Posted: December 21, 2017 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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So here we go again dear readers. Another opportunity for Manchester United to advance to the semi-final of a domestic cup competition, another opportunity blown.

They had the easiest draw as they were playing the only club from outside of the Premier League and their inept performance was inexcusable.

Despite José Mourinho insisting that Bristol City were lucky, they gave United a lesson in how to keep possession and how to take chances but at least there is a silver lining in the defeat.

Their loss means there is now no reason for the draw to be fixed so that United play City in the semi-final because, believe it or not, that is what would have happened, it always does!

Manchester United and Manchester City have NEVER met in the final of  major competition and, for some reason, the powers-that-be like it that way.

Griezmann to United?


Antoine Griezmann probably won’t go to Barcelona except for when he has to visit the Nou Camp with Atlético Madrid.

His club has accused the Catalans of tapping him up by inviting his family for all sorts of little prezzies such as expensive meals, a few of the best quality pacharáns and a tour of the stadium.

So annoyed are Atlético that they have reported Barcelona to FIFA, an organisation who know all about bribes and how to handle them.

So, apart from wondering why Liverpool failed to report the same club over Philippe Coutinho, we can only assume that the door is now open for Griezmann to make his protracted move to Old Trafford.

This is a move which would show a lot more character than the guarantee of relatively easy pickings which would be had by leaving for Barcelona.

Hazard to leave Chelsea?


Eden Hazard, according to some reports, is wanted by Manchester United or, to be more accurate, by their manager José Mourinho.

Yes folks, this IS the same Eden Hazard who, reportedly, was one of the players speaking out against Mourinho shortly before he became the ex-manager of Chelsea. It is also the same Eden Hazard dropped by Mourinho for his last couple of games in charge.

So why would Hazard want the move? Well, either of the two Manchester clubs are a better proposition than Chelsea at present and it is also true to say that, when he first came to England, he was interested in joining one of the Manchester clubs or Chelsea. The fact was that only Chelsea retained a firm interest so his desired choice of three never really materialised.

Is this just paper talk, or is there any truth in the rumour? Watch this space!

If we were to like the occasional flutter, which we obviously don’t, our money would be on Hazard going to Real Madrid if/when he leaves Chelsea.

Welcome to the dive


And finally, what is this retrospective diving rule all about? Is it anything like synchronised swimming?

As we understand it, a player who is deemed to have dived to gain an advantage, thereby conning the referee, can be suitably punished if found guilty by a panel of “experts” after the game has ended.

Poor Stoke have been punished TWICE after their game against West Ham ended in a 0-3 defeat and it was a WEST HAM PLAYER who was guitly of offending!

Firstly, referee Graham Scott failed to spot Manuel Lanzini’s dive and instead awarded a penalty to set West Ham on their way to the win. Secondly, Lanzini’s retrospective ban means he will be suspended for West Ham’s match against Newcastle, thus weakening them against Stoke’s closest relegation rivals.

We also watched the Leicester City versus Manchester City Carabao Cup game where, if a panel of “experts” can agree, Demarai Gray, without being touched, went over very easily and “won” his team a penalty.

Our question is this. If that penalty had resulted in Leicester winning the game, but a panel then found that the awarding of it had been a mistake, would it then be cancelled, meaning that the game needed to be replayed?

If not then the rule is, to an extent, pointless. Punishing the player but allowing the team to benefit from his dishonesty reeks of double standards of the very worst kind and certainly, as in the Stoke game, punishing the innocent party is totally shambolic.

It is a very small step in the right direction but, as with most “solutions” dreamed up by the authorities, it is half-baked and not very well thought out.



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