I was watching Match of the Day last night and seeing two hotly contested games; Liverpool v Man Utd and Wolves v Tottenham. If you follow either of these teams, you will know that the games yesterday each consisted of some debatable incidents that have left groups of fans seething! I aim to discuss the incidents from BOTH GAMES and decide how Video Technology could have played a part in each.
Liverpool v Man Utd
We can quickly assess this match by saying that Man Utd were dyer defensively and Liverpool were excellent going forward. Watching the match yesterday highlighted the problems that Man Utd have had in their last couple of games. How to cope without Ferdinand and Vidic? Whether or not to play a 4-5-1 to protect an inexperienced back four? How best to accomodate Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov in the same team? and the list goes on.
Liverpool were quite the opposite, in that they began to show how their side can really operate as a unit. The loss of Fernando Torres seems a thing of the past as Dirk Kuyt is playing in his preferred Striker role (one he has played for at Club and International Level consistently before joining Liverpool). Luis Suarez was simply sensational; tearing apart Man Utd’s back line with irresistable ease. Defensive strengths began to show, with the exception of Jamie Carragher who I cannot defend.
Carragher’s tackle on Nani was worthy of a night in the cells, let alone the meager yellow card given to him by referee Phil Dowd. Much like we see in Cricket and Rugby, I believe Video Technology would have cleared the incident up correctly. The Fourth Official has almost nothing to do for the entirety of the match, other than ensuring that each manager stays within their pretty white boxes. Let’s assume for one minute that the Fourth Official has a monitor and can look at each incident immediately after it takes place. Phil Dowd could have consulted the Fourth Official and deemed the tackle to have been ‘reckless with intent’, thus shown Carragher a deserved Red Card. I am not a Man Utd fan and am in no way suggesting that a Red Card would have changed the result. I would just like to see Referee’s given more support in the incredibly high-pressure environment they now operate in.
Whilst I can tackle one or two other incidents in the match with a similar argument, I would like to allow you, the reader, a chance to put forward your own arguments in relation to the role of technology in the game.
Wolves v Tottenham
Simply an excellent game of Football. It had great goals, talking points, Penalties, debatable decisions and so much more. Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe scored his 1st and 2nd Premier League goals of the season and looked in clinical form. Kevin Doyle’s hard work was rewarded with two goals, one from the spot, which brings me onto my next point!
Those of you who saw yesterdays match between these two sides will have seen the Wolves penalty incident. Wolves were rightly given a penalty when Alan Hutton hauled down a Wolves attacker. Hutton was given a Yellow card and Doyle scored the penalty, which in my book is case closed. However, listening to BBC 606 last night showed me how incensed Wolves fans were that Hutton was not dismissed for his foul, given that he denied the attacker a clear goal scoring opportunity and was definitely the last man. Yet again, had referee Mark Halsey been able to consult the Fourth Official, he would have undoubtedly then been able to apply the correct law and POSSIBLY sent Hutton off. Later in the match, Wolved defender Richard Stearman scored what appeard to be a perfectly good goal, which was ruled out due to an ‘infirngement’. The ball has landed in the net, so what at this point would stop a referee consulting his Fourth Official and deciding whether or not a foul has been committed!?
What we have to accept as Football fans that Human Error is rife within our Sport. I do not believe in Referee bias whatsoever. I simply believe that Referee’s at the top level have too much to control and in such a highly pressured environment. So, my opinion is that we HAVE TO see Video Technology in the very near future. You may feel differently…Discuss!