Football Round-Up

The big talking point of the weekend seems to be another referee in the firing line of a Premier League manager, and not for the first time the manager is Steve Bruce, and not for the first time the referee is Stuart Atwell.

Dirk Kuyt’s opening goal is the one sparking all the controversy. And basically it is down to interpretation for me. Did he take the free kick? Or was he passing the ball back to the keeper to take the free kick? It’s how you interpret the kick of the ball by Michael Turner.

Not surprising, and in keeping with the inconsistency of managers, Steve Bruce thought it wasn’t a goal, and Roy Hodgson thought it was a goal!

In Atwell’s defence, the ‘Premier League’s Professional Game Match Officials Board’ (PGMO) examined the goal and deemed “the correct decisions were made”.

It may be that the goal was legal, but in my opinion it wasn’t within the spirit of the game (you may well ask ‘What spirit of the game? This is football, and I wouldn’t disagree’). But everyone watching must realize that the defender was merely knocking the ball back to the keeper to take the free-kick.

But do I have any sympathy for Steve Bruce? No, I certainly do not. Bruce is one of the biggest culprits in the Premier League for ref bashing, he would appear to have learnt a lot from the master of deflection during his time at Old Trafford.

At almost every opportunity Bruce puts the boot in. To listen to him, you would be led to believe he has never put out the wrong team, or a team that played bad, it’s always the refs fault when things go wrong for him.

Thats why the PGMO have been forced to take this stance, every week their members come under attack from average failing managers, so I don’t blame them for standing behind Atwell in this instance. If they don’t, then who will?

It’s not just Bruce who has a career to forge in football.

I thought that the Man City V Chelsea match wasn’t overly entertaining on Saturday either, I suppose thats what you get when two Italians come up against each other. Chelsea look to have got away with it though after Arsenal and Man Utd couldn’t capitalize on their defeat. Chelsea are still favourites for the title at a best price of 5/6 with William Hill.

On Sunday it was amazing to hear Jonathan Pearce say on Match of the Day that Emile Heskey’s career has been revived under Gerard Houllier – in just two games? Yes, of course it has, lets get him back for England.

It was a good goal in fairness to Heskey, so he can now go three months without a goal again.

In Spain, I watch the so-called Special One’s, Real Madrid side play out their 2nd, 0-0 bore draw in their opening 5 games of the season. It seems that Jose is finding it hard to leave his Italian football experience behind him.

I understand that to build a successful team you have to build a solid foundation from the back. But this is Real Madrid, you don’t get time to build a team properly here. And you can win the title winning 1-0 every week, and still get the sack.

Barcelona are still streets ahead, and even without the injured Messi they are still far more entertaining to watch than Mourinho’s team parking the bus.