A mid-year review of the Premier League - Part 2
|Jose Mourinho and a member of his coaching staff point the way forward at Old Trafford during Manchester United 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. (Image credit: premierleague.com)|
VAR and the curse of blunders
While it can be argued that the English premier league is the best in the world, the spate of referee errors will continue to blight the claims.
Every champion has a story or luck to tell.
When Liverpool lifts the big trophy in May, someone on the public address system must be fair enough to pay tribute to all the players that made it happen on field as well as VAR that did its part from not too far distance, not taking anything away from their magic this season, but would they have beaten Leicester in the first meeting?
The same scenarios of handballs were excused for the Kops at vital points, offside rules were highly debatable and many questionable penalty calls.
The idea of technology introduction to football was to make it fair and just, that isn’t the case in the premier league and many teams would have been better off without it.
Everywhere else with VAR has an on-field monitor, not the case in the Premier League and the ref has to rely on the decision of the man in a room.
Norwich were denied a legitimate goal against Tottenham last round and Jorginho that equalized against Arsenal on Sunday should have been sent off moments earlier.
While it’s been spot-on on many occasions, the rate at which they get it wrong is bigger than ideal.
Speaking of technology, Goal Line Technology has been amazing, and it remains the only piece of technology that will forever be welcomed in any league.
The Premier League managers must stand up to VAR, either they allow on-field monitors or scrap the failing idea, teams should lose fairly and win honorably.
Beyond the errors, the excitement has been taken away from the game and it has to be looked into.
Imagine your striker wheeling away in celebrations only to be wrongly halted at the altar of a wrong call or losing a game you fought for simply because the man in the other room doesn’t understand basic offside rules... enough said.
Player power... managers on a tight rope?
Remember Jose Mourinho’s third season in his second coming at Chelsea? The season he was sinking the ship and players seemed happy with it, that episode started the modern player power exhibition.
Most recently, it was obvious Arsenal players were tired of Unai Emery.
Maybe they were right with their grouse towards the Spaniard but should players force managers through the door?
Shevchenko famously told Jose Mourinho “it’s easier to change a manager than twenty-two players”, this harsh reality will continue to endanger managers and it’s hard to help it.
In the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, no player was ever bigger than the gaffer, the fierce Roy Keane and Ruud Van Nistelrooy were effectively sold when they became larger than life, where did that stance go?
What were you thinking? Board decisions and their effects.
First, the Arsenal board and every decision-maker at the Emirates Stadium should apologize to all Arsenal fans for allowing things to get so bad before showing Unai Emery the exit door.
He may have lost one and drew one, but everyone and that includes critics can see the positive approach of Mikel Arteta who is coming eighteen months late.
Watford entered the new season with optimism only to fire Jarvi Gracia that led them to the FA Cup final and a place in Europe on playoffs after four unsuccessful games, proactiveness is good but that was one hasty decision.
Quique Flores Sanchez was handed the job and was subsequently fired after results continued to go south, leaving Nigel Pearson at the helm, the latter being a relegation specialist would know his job is not safe but it seems he’s getting his groove with the 3-0 win over Aston Villa.
Let’s talk about Westham and their decision to leave it late before firing Manuel Pellegrini and then the recall of David Moyes, will the Hammers enjoy the new year?
You can’t take anything away from the greatness Moyes achieved at Everton but he’s been poor since his ill-fated move to Old Trafford; fired at United, fired at Valencia, fired at Sunderland, fired at Westham before being recalled after 18 months, has anything changed?
Pochetino was fired at Spurs and was replaced just 10 hours afterward, while it might be a good decision to ease Pochetino out but is Jose Mourinho the right man?
Few matches in and the team is already struggling and dropping points.
He uncharacteristically lost at home to Chelsea recently, becoming the first time ever he’d lose at home to his former side, the latest being the stalemate at Carrow Road, if VAR had been honest they could have lost.
Jose will no doubt steady the ship, but with his reputation, is he a long term option? Can he be humble enough to turn Spurs to real title contenders? The following weeks will answer these questions.
Manchester United may have woken from slumber and seemingly ticking, but the decision to sell Romelu Lukaku and loaning out Alexis Sanchez without a replacement will continue to stand and the strangest of decisions by boards and managers.
Goal scoring has been difficult for Manchester United this season with the same set of people doing the honors week in week out.
The window opens again in a few hours and they will have an opportunity to bring in a forward that will join Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial up front.
If they don’t then the club’s ambition should be questioned...
To be continued...