Showing posts with label simulation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label simulation. Show all posts

27 November 2017

Ramsey, Sterling, and the Art of the Dive...

Arjen Robben. Luis Suárez. Didier Drogba. All gifted in their own ways, but especially when it comes to simulation. Few if any could pantomime what it must feel like to get shot by a sniper and what it looks like to flop around like an electrocuted fish in the hull of a dory. It's a pity that such thespian theatrics are not rewarded by the Academy Awards. It's more of a pity that those antics are so frequently rewarded by the referees. With that in mind, we have two case studies: the penalty that Aaron Ramsey earned against Burnley, and the the penalty that Raheem Sterling earned against Huddersfield. 'Twixt the two, can we split any hairs?

23 February 2016

Barça are bootless, boil-brained canker-blossomed bullies. Say "boo" and they buckle. Pity we lost to that lot.

I don't know if I've ever seen a chintzier, cheaper display from such a massive, monolithic behemoth as I did when I watched Barça, they of the half-billion pound squad, dive and flop about the pitch on Tuesday, doing their best impression of one who has simultaneously had a rug yanked from under him while also being shot by a sniper and also uppercutted by Lennox Lewis. The only pity is that they wasted the performances so close to this year's Oscars, when their theatrics will be ineligible for any awards this time through and likely all but forgotten by this time next year. For a squad that boasts no fewer than a half-dozen world-class starters in its XI and could probably field a second-choice XI that might still win La Liga, it was more than a bit pathetic to see them resort to such desperate measures. Still, they're atop their little league and have an inside track on winning the Champions League, so maybe it's my own priorities that are all bass-ackwards.

11 March 2014

Arsène: "Robben did well; he dived well again tonight."

Speaking after the match, Arsène was as glib and as flippant as ever when he spoke of how Bayern escaped with a 3-1 aggregate victory to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals. It wasn't down to tactics or quality or match-ups or anything else. No, according to Arsène, "we have shown as well that we have the quality, I think to knock them out. and I thought that with two games, that aspect of playing with ten men was massive." He refused to blame the official; after all, the red-card against Szczesny was, according to the rules, the only call the referee could really make. Instead, Arsène directed his thoughts to Arjen Robben, whose diving histrionics in that first leg "made a lot of" the contact between him and Szczesny, and he made a lot more of a lot less at Allianz Arena.

20 February 2014

An irrational rage at Robben-esque theatrics...

First things first, Szczesny fouled Robben, clear and simple. Second, the rule in this situation is clear. Sort of. Szcz's foul denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity; thus, the red card came out. I'm not going to get into whether or not Robben would have actually recovered the ball (doubtful) or Sagna would have gotten to it first (likely), nor am I here to complain that the rule itself change. No, instead, I'm here to explain my own personal and, yes, irrational rage when it comes to the histrionics that Robben and others so often resort to to draw attention to their finely tuned if warped senses of justice. It all stems from my own brief experience as a footballer here in the United States.

11 March 2013

The Race for 4th, Week 28.5 (or something...).

Bit of an odd day today as most of the teams at the top of the table didn't play this weekend due to various postponements. The one result that did matter worked largely to our favor as Liverpool beat Spurs. Apparently, Spurs defender Assou-Ekott was foolish enough to bump into Suarez in the box, who predictably went flying. I've seen worse in the queue for the bus, frankly, but it was Suarez after all, a man who is to staying upright in the box what Spurs are to holding onto 4th. By which I mean, neither one happens. So Suarez outdid Bale on both counts, scoring once and diving once. At any rate, Gerrard tucked it home without much trouble, and that was that. In all honesty, Suarez's dive wasn't all that bad--Assou-Ekott did jump into Suarez and shouldered him. A player who is less susceptible to gravity would have kept his feet and simply scored. The ball ended up in the back of the net regardless, and the top of the table is now a bit tighter than it was with Liverpool climbing up into a tie for 6th with Everton.

A glance at the chart shows Liverpool shoving its way in the conversation, if only because they've played one game more than most everyone else. Chelsea hosts Steaua on Thursday and West Ham on Saturday, Spurs go to Inter on Thursday and Fulham on Saturday, Liverpool goes to Southampton, Everton hosts Man City, and we have to go to Swansea after our Wednesday trip to Bayern. This might just be a week that sees Chelsea leapfrog Spurs. As tough as our trip to Swansea might be, the schedule gives us a little help in that everyone save Chelsea faces a tricky match, and two of our toughest competitors for a top-four finish do so in a cluttered week. Yes, we have to face Bayern, but the task of winning is so far-fetched that I wouldn't mind us throwing on Squillaci and ten other cardboard cut-outs. Chelsea and Spurs, by contrast, face games that matter more and will therefore require more effort. Even if Franck "don't forget the 'C'" Ribéry himself might be out, along with Schweinsteiger and Boateng, few would blame us if we rest a few key players against Bayern in order to stay fresh for Swansea.

There's other noise out of Germany about Wenger and offers and stuff, but it's too irritating to deal with right now. I'll come back to it after I've had some coffee.

09 March 2013

Tottenham vs. Liverpool Preview: Hope for a Tie

As promised, a quick look at Sunday's match-up between Spurs and Liverpool. The most compelling storyline for most other writers will be on Bale-Suarez, but I worry that they might miss the boat by focusing too much on goals. Yes, it's true that Suarez leads the league and that Bale has been a tear lately, but the real issue concerning the two is not so much who will score, but will be be booked for simulation first. Between the two of them, it's hard to figure out who's best. Suarez might win for frequency, but Bale makes up the difference through silliness.  Both teams, however, come in in fine form, but Spurs arguably on a longer run of success. Sunday should see Skrtel and Sturridge return to action, but Adebayor may still sit after injuring his knee against us last week. Whether this helps or hurts Spurs is for anyone to guess.

I don't particularly care who plays for which team on Sunday, frankly. I don't bear any particular animosity towards either one. As it stands, one stands between us and a top-four finish, and the other is nipping at our heels for the same. With that in mind, we have to carefully consider our options. Normally, I'd pull for the lowest of the three teams concerned to win, in this case, Liverpool. This way, all three points go to the team least likely to finish above us. However, in this case, the situation is different. Only five points separate us from Liverpool, so a win for them puts them two back. To this point, I have not considered them as contenders for the top four, but five points separates us from Chelsea. If we believe overtaking Chelsea is legitimate, we have to acknowledge that Liverpool overtaking us is just as legitimate. We obviously can't hope for Spurs to win as this would put them ten points up, almost certainly out of our reach with nine games left to play. Further, this would then put them two behind Man City, contending for second place. I may not hate Spurs as much as a loyal Gunner should, but I do enjoy St. Totteringham's Day. So a Spurs victory goes out the window.

This clearly leaves us the only option--a draw. Both teams take a point, but this is our best option. Spurs remain in striking range, although it's long range, at eight points above us. Liverpool inch closer at four points back. Normally, it's best for us for the weaker team to steal all three points. However, given how tightly packed the top of the table is (at least 3rd through 8th), a draw is in this case best for us. For both Spurs and Liverpool, two points disappear from their ledgers, amounting almost to a four-point benefit to us. Along the way, I may claim to be above rooting for injuries to opponents, but I have no such compunctions regarding red cards. Should Bale, Suarez, both, or someone else see red, that's fine by me. The key, though, is the draw. May neither team win.