Monday 11 November
They actually scuffled as Sterling thought the Liverpool defender was mocking City’s loss at the weekend. Sterling has been dropped for the first match on Thursday.
Neil Swarbrick, who is the chief clown in charge of VAR, came out with the most ridiculous lie about the penalty City should have been awarded yesterday. He has forgotten that we have all been watching the absurd new handball law for a while now and we know that however incidental the contact if your silhouette is more eagle in flight than beanpole the decision is always a penalty.
Swarbrick, trying to back up the egregious mistake Michael Oliver made on the pitch, actually said “within the interpretations of the laws of the game, from our point of view, it has got to be deliberate”. Which is a lie. He knows that is the old interpretation which he is trotting out to cover the cowardice displayed by ref and VAR for not cancelling Liverpool’s opening goal and bringing the ball back down the field for a City penalty.
Cowardice is one thing, lying cowardice is taking refereeing into disrepute.
The new interpretation is that adopting an unnatural silhouette, and Trent Alexander-Arnold was doing jazz hands to stop the ball going past him, is handball. Swarbrick incorrectly stated that there was no arm movement towards the ball, when there clearly was, and he compounded his lie by say that “his arm is just in a natural position for his body posture at that time”. If that is true then 80% of the penalties that have been issued this season for handball are incorrect.
But having let Spurs off last week when Dele Alli had his hand above his head against Everton – Ifab regulations now states that a handball is awarded if a player makes his body bigger with his arm, and it is automatically an offence if the arm is above shoulder height – it is clear that referees and VAR are now making this shit up as they go along.
Sky made the point to Dermot Gallagher that Michael Oliver couldn’t see the silhouette of the defender from his angle, Gallagher said that the referee had seen the “speed the ball comes” he added that “striking an arm is not a penalty…” but, Dermot, we all know it is, that is how you have been awarding penalties since the law change.
Every time they make stuff up to cover their colleagues’ mistakes, because that is what they are doing, they actually add new layers of interpretation. The next player called for handball will simply state that his hands were in a natural position for his body posture and the referee cannot really disagree.
Ifab, the inept, jobsworths in Switzerland who make the law changes, where seeking to simplify the handball law. A combination of their total lack of understanding of the game and the self-justifying nature of the referee’s body, PGMOL, (in training referees like a monastic order, where criticism of one is mistaken as criticism of all) means we are left with a totally chaotic system that is incapable of delivering clarity or fairness.
It doesn’t help the charmless little Hitlers at Stockley Park that both the third umpire in cricket and the excellent use of video reviews in the recent rugby world cup show how the technology can be used by competent, impartial, grown-ups.
We are stuck with an organisation, in PGMOL, with an infant school mentality who are digging an ever-deeper hole to cover their utter incompetence.
Tuesday 12 November
Czech Republic 2:3 England
Beth England scored one and England did at least win but showed all the defensive frailties that have led to widespread calls for the manager’s head. We are unlikely to see him go soon however as he is not self-aware enough to realise that he is the problem and his bosses have too much invested in the decision to hire him. Millie Bright and Carly Telford both also played.
What are we saying he isn’t conscious of the need for defensive stability.
Ramona Bachman blasted in a hat-trick as Switzerland beat Romania 6-0.
Wednesday 13 November
Frank Lampard might not be able to sign any players but Emma Hayes is under no such restriction and unveiled Sam Kerr – only the world’s greatest striker, scorer of five goals for Australia as she took them to the last 16.
Kerr will join us in January and has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal. In the context of the women’s game the deal is huge. The 26-year-old is widely regarded as the best striker in the game, a bit like Frank signing Messi.
Australians have a bit of a reputation for positive thinking but Kerr seems a bit more nuanced: “The WSL is the best league in Europe. I want team success and I don’t want it to come easy … I feel Chelsea have been building something special over the years and I want to be a part of that – I want to lift some trophies.”
This isn’t a case of Chelsea outbidding others to buy success either. The Australian captain was offered more money by Bayern München, Lyon and Real Madrid but picked Chelsea because she wants to work with Hayes and live in London.
Meanwhile, Bernardo Silva has been handed a one-match ban for his racist tweet and will miss our trip to the Etihad next weekend. Not only did he get off with only a one-match ban but City are smarting that he was banned at all. Educating football about racism is going to be a longer path than we had at first thought.
Thursday 14 November
England 7:0 Montenegro
Tammy Abraham scored his first senior international goal in an England romp. Mason Mount is making a place for himself in the midfield, starting ahead of James Maddison, and he almost bagged a couple as his first was ruled out for a dubious offside and a defender lashed home for an own-goal from his knockdown.
It wouldn’t be Brexit Britain without the intervention of the meatheads booing Joe Gomez. As if he was in some way responsible for Raheem Sterling’s suspension.
VAR isn’t going to be substantially changed this season after a four-and-half-hour slanging match… sorry, diplomatic meeting where Mike Riley spoke for two hours and answered questions from club chairmen.
Christian Purslow, Aston Villa chief executive spoke for many when he said: “The message has got through to the league and to the referees’ association that fans are unhappy, and many stakeholders in the game think we have to do a whole lot better.”
Riley and PGMOL came out with some really telling statistics to prove that VAR was pretty good – they said that VAR’s accuracy was up from 82% at the beginning of the season to 91% now… what the figures best illustrate is now deluded and out of touch PGMOL are. Our own research suggest that referees get about 18% of decisions wrong per match and VAR foul up 91% of their interventions.
The PGMOL morons in charge of VAR are so woeful that they appear to have learnt nothing from the VAR experiments adopted in Germany, Italy, Spain and France. Each of those leagues had the same teething troubles: fans in the stadium being in the dark; decisions taking too long; interrupting the flow of the game and celebrations; on field refs refusing to use pitch-side monitors. Instead of studying those mistakes PGMOL ploughed on with their own mistakes… and some people wonder how the phrase lions led by donkeys could summarise so much of British history.
Our FA Youth cup game against Huddersfield Town with be held at Kingsmeadow on Wednesday 18 December. £3 to get in.
Friday 15 November
CAS threw out Manchester City’s bid to stop Uefa’s investigation into their nefarious double-dealin… erm financial fair play breaches. City actually tried to argue that Uefa do not have the authority to investigate them.
Having already been found guilty of FFP breaches and fined in 2014 and after failing in their arrogant attempt to avoid an investigation this time anything less than a European competition ban would be absurd.
Other fans hated Chelsea for ‘buying the title’ because of our spending after Roman took over. As if Liverpool or Manchester United had never spent a penny, never broken the transfer record in winning their titles.
Now Manchester City’s spending, arrogance and dominance is redefining the role of moneybags super club.
Andreas Christensen actually got a little game time tonight, although not much, as Denmark thrashed Gibraltar 6-0. Their qualification will rest on a match with the Republic in Dublin on Monday. Italy and Spain were already qualified but Willian was beaten in as Brazil lost to Argentina 1-0 in Dubai.
Conor Gallagher lashed in a shot from the edge of the area, to prove his fine form for Charlton is no fluke as England U21 beat Albania 3-0. Reece James and Marc Guehi both played the whole match to prove the production line is in fine shape.
Billy Gilmour wasn’t so lucky as his Scotland U21 side slumped to a 0-1 defeat to Greece.
Saturday 16 November
Walsall away in the next round of the Football League Trophy. Andy Myers U21 squad qualified second in the group and the competition remains regional until the quarter-finals. The match will be played in the week beginning Monday 2 December .
Sunday 17 November
Chelsea 1:0 Manchester United
Maren Mejlde stepped up to convert the penalty that saw us home in a tight contest. United’s main threat came from Reece’s sister Lauren James. We did have the better chances in a game watched by 4,790 which is a record crowd for a WSL game not played in the main stadium. It seems the first women’s football weekend has been a great success with over 70,000 watching live with four games in Premier League ground.
Ethan Ampadu starred as Wales beat Azerbaijan in Baku. Ethan played in a defensive midfield role and stopped countless attacks developing despite picking up an early yellow. It was a great sign that his season might be starting in earnest now he has had some minute with RB Leipzig.
Mateo Kovačić came on late as Croatia qualified the hard way for next summer’s Euros by coming from behind to beat Slovakia. Mario Pašalić stayed on the bench.
Michy Batshuayi wasn’t needed off the bench as Belgium beat Russia 4-1 with every goal scored by a former-Chelsea player.
Kosovo 0:4 England
Mason Mount kept a cool head to finish well for the fourth goal at the death, by that time Fikayo Tomori had taken the field as the latest Cobham graduate to grace the national side.
The welcome from the locals was in marked contrast to recent trips as well. Apparently, they remember that we weighed in to help the Kosovo Liberation Army back in the late 90s.
While we are all smugly congratulating ourselves about the number of Chelsea players forcing their way onto the national team, the England set up still needs work. As a nation we defend corners and breaks about as well as Watford.
Callum Hudson-Odoi played for an hour and had one telling run and shot just before Harry Winks opened the scoring. Callum is still getting up to speed but there is every sign that he is very nearly there.
Sunday 14 June for our next competitive fixture in euro 2020.