More On That “Away Goals” Rule And Wilf Wows The Women

Posted: September 7, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
Tags: , , ,

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Europe’s “top” coaches who, apparently, don’t include Pep Guardiola who is probably the toppest, but do include Arséne Wenger who is neither a coach nor was he, latterly anyway, one of the top ones, have requested that UEFA take another look at the away goals rule. You know the one, it’s when a cup tie finishes level and the win is awarded to the team who scored the most goals in the away leg.

We were always under the misapprehension that the rule was introduced to stop teams boring supporters to death by defending for ninety minutes in the away leg of a tie, usually having won the home leg 1-0. It was to replace the coin toss and encourage the away side to play attacking football, or so we thought.

Not according to The Guardian, who reported that, “The rule was first introduced in the former European Cup Winners’ Cup competition in 1965 as an alternative to tossing a coin or staging a replay on a neutral ground.

At the time, playing away in Europe was a huge challenge which involved difficult travel and intimidating, unfamiliar conditions abroad, a far cry from today where it is considered routine.

So there, that’s us told!

The other argument against the rule is that it actually encourages the home team to defend because they obviously don’t wish to concede an “away” goal.

So what is the solution? Ah, the assorted “top” coaches haven’t come up with the answer to that bit. They see their job as being the ones to complain about a perceived problem, not to actually contribute anything towards solving it.

So can we expect to see some experimental measures taking place. How about the “Golden Goal”? That was always good for a laugh but never really took off as it could take another two hours for one to be scored!

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The infamous David Trezeguet Golden Goal from Euro 2000

We could go back even further and decide the match on the toss of a coin, but that is grossly unfair on the losing team, (it’s also grossly unfair on the winning team but they don’t care).

What’s wrong with a good old penalty shoot-out? It is used in virtually every tournament and, although a little tacky, it gets the job done.

The problem is that no solution is going to be 100% fair. Look at the half-hour extra time played at the end of a two-legged tie in some cup competitions. That, basically, gives the home team an extra thirty minutes to try and win the game on their own ground. How is that fair? It isn’t but it is widely accepted as being a reasonable way of settling a match.

Also, if the scores are still level at the end of extra time, then penalties are taken. Again, they are taken at the home ground of one of the teams involved and they will, more than likely, have the majority of supporters cheering them on.

So deciding the winner of a drawn cup tie is most certainly not an exact science and both of these methods, extra time and penalties, are even less fair in Europe unless on a neutral ground.

There is always the option of a replay at a neutral ground but the problem here is that the poor dears are already exhausted if they have to play 180 minutes, (two games for those of you who failed maths), in a mere seven days, so how they would cope with another 90? They wouldn’t, is the simple answer, all it would achieve would be to give their already excuse-laden managers another reason for not doing their job very well.

Remember what we have always said, the players never complain of being tired it is always the managers who tell them they are tired. Most players would play every day if it were possible.

Anyway, good luck to UEFA on sorting this one out. We look forward to their solution in the same way as we look forward to Manchester United’s title challenge. In other words, we hope they get it right but doubt very much that they will.

And finally…..

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Wilf has impressed the ladies in the time-honoured tradition

Well done Wilf. Apparently Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha has made a “substantial contribution” to the women’s team. The reserves were told that they had to find sponsorship to the amount of £250 per player or raise the money themselves if they wished to continue playing.

Quite why a Premier League club such as Palace requires one of their own players to help out their women’s team is a little beyond our ken but it would explain why they didn’t sign many players in the recent transfer window, Cheikhou Kouyaté being their only signing with a fee attached, and that was a poultry £9.6 million.

Maybe Wilf paid for him as well!

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