Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Come on, that’s what life is about, as we bound forward into a new weekend of pure fantasy of the footy season, there’s everything to play for in the world of fantasy league. And let’s face it, this weekend has got to be better than last.
Last weekend was tumultuous for most of us, I mean Haaland captain two points. Maybe Pep has a wager on with some of his mates in his own fantasy league, but he’s scrambling most of us. I know someone who had Udogie (-4). Romero (-4) and triple captained Erling (3). They’re not of this parish, but let me share some of my pain with you from my XI last weekend:
- Vicario 1 – let in four, but he only had eight players in front of him so excusable.
- Cash 0 – played pants at Forest and got injured, could be out this weekend.
- Burn 1 – only did 45 minutes as he got injured, missed out on a clean sheet, out until 2024.
- Romero -4 and banned. Silly boy.
- Ødegaard 0 – didn’t play, forgot his kit apparently.
- Douglas Luiz 2 – as pants as Cash at Forest. I wonder what I think at times.
- Maddison 1 – went off at half time injured. Out this weekend.
- Salah 2 couldn’t be bothered; it was only Luton .
- Gordon 7 – hurrah for VAR.
- Erling 2 – off at half-time.
- Alvarez 2 – Doku was running the show so went into a big sulk, did nowt.
Total 14 points and looks like suspension and injuries removes five from my starting XI this week.
Top bean last week was Rhys with 54 points, Chelsea players (28 – Palmer 12, Jackson 16) and Newcastle (16) serving him well. Sasha with 47 points – with a Doku inspired pick giving her 22 points – was second and James S (410), James B (40) and Hayley (39) cantering behind in a low scoring week. Top dog remains Mr Wright on 695, with Michael and Nikita (both 680) snapping at his heels and James S (678) making moves. As it was the first week of the month, the weekly scores are the order in the race for the manager of the month award.
This week’s photo is a football of the ages classic, James B holding his half-time Bovril at the recent Bolton v Northampton League one scrimmage, sat with a Cobblers fan in the away end.
Spurs 1-4 Chelsea: Unpacking nine VAR checks.
It was box office carnage and chaos. The weekend games produced more managerial ranting about VAR, and referee Michael Oliver was probably hoping for a quiet London derby. No chance…Spurs v Chelsea was up there with 2004’s Ferguson v Wenger Battle of the Buffet, where most of the real action, up-ended trestle tables and flung Sloppy Giuseppe’s, took place off-camera. It was probably the equal of its forerunner, 2016’s Battle of the Bridge, when Mauricio Pochettino played Harald Hardrada to Guus Hiddink’s Harold Godwinson.
Those in the Stockley Park videodrome took understandable time over decisions. Even those that were debatable went the way of adding to the fun whilst the Spurs pair of Romero and Udogie got earlier squeezes of the Wash & Go.
There were numerous VAR interventions including four disallowed goals, three red card checks and two penalty checks. Mercifully Spurs manager Ange Postecoglou was measured with his post-match verdict, saying: That utopia where there are no wrong decisions in the game will never exist. It’s our own fault as we complain about decisions every week. Here is a recap of all the major incidents:
14 mins – Spurs goal disallowed. Son’s tap in, but the flag is up for offside, with VAR confirming the tight offside decision. Very, very close.
18 mins – potential red card for Udogie. He makes a risky challenge as he dives in two-footed, off the floor, on Sterling. Booked, VAR has a look, the yellow card remains. Uncle Gary thought it was a red.
22 mins – Chelsea goal disallowed for handball. Sterling’s shot deflects onto his arm off Porro but he keeps going and forces the ball into the net. VAR rules the goal out for handball.
22 mins – Romero kicked out at Colwill in the build-up to that disallowed goal. VAR check comes and goes, and Romero stays on the pitch… for now. Gary said it was 50-50.
28 mins – Chelsea have another goal disallowed. After a VAR check, Jackson is ruled narrowly offside, decision stands.
28 mins – Chelsea get a penalty, Romero sent off. Lucky to have stayed on the pitch earlier. Palmer converts the penalty, in off the post after Vicario gets two hands to it.
37 mins – Chelsea have another goal disallowed. Jackson converting Sterling’s cross, but this is an easy decision with Sterling clearly offside when receiving the ball.
43 mins – Postecoglou booked. It’s feisty on and off the pitch. Spurs boss talks himself into a booking. He wasn’t over the top, just gave the fourth official a bit of an earful.
45+7 mins – Sterling goes down, no penalty. Having gone to ground easily, is lucky to have not been booked for diving.
45+8 mins – Colwill and Sarr booked for pushing and shoving.
45+11 mins – There’s a clash between James and Udogie. It is a check for a possible red card, with James catching Udogie with a flailing arm, but no action is taken.
There are fewer incidents in the second half but still some – not to mention Jackson’s hat-trick.
55 mins – Udogie is second Spurs man sent off, red for his second booking. It is a late, mistimed sliding challenge on Sterling and Spurs go down to nine players.
75 mins – Chelsea take the lead. Jackson steers in Sterling’s cross. There’s a VAR check to see if Sterling was onside, and he is, so the goal stands.
79 mins – Potential Spurs equaliser disallowed. Dier’s strike was the fifth disallowed goal in the match. He thinks he’ s made it 2-2, volleying in at the back post. The flag is raised, but another lengthy VAR check follows keeps the decision as no goal.
Here’s Postecoglou’s post-match presser Ange Postecoglou The more I listen to him, the more I respect his level of integrity, the best manager interview on VAR I’ve heard, a breath of fresh air.
Mikel Arteta was left with egg on his face as his comments on Liverpool’s VAR decision resurfaced where he was quick to defend referees and VAR after their howler cost Liverpool at Spurs, which saw them wrongly disallow a Diaz goal for offside. but changed his tune after his Arsenal side were undone at Newcastle.
The Spaniard was fuming as he saw the Gunners lose for the first time this season. Anthony Gordon scored a second-half winner that was shrouded in debate with VAR having to check several aspects of the goal – three VAR checks: did the ball go out of play for a goal kick before it was crossed? Nobody knows for sure. Was Gabriel fouled by Joelinton in contesting the cross? Nobody knows for sure. Was Gordon offside when he scored? Nobody knows for sure. Arteta labelled the decision embarrassing and a disgrace just weeks after calling for more understanding towards referees.
In his own words: Arteta rant
The day after the game, Arsenal FC issued a Big Statement of their own, backing their manager’s impassioned and slightly unhinged post-match rant. As entitled and pompous as it was pitiful, it was obviously lapped up by Gooners fans but greeted with a mixture of rolled eyes, bemused bafflement and ridicule by folk who don’t sleep in Gunnersaurus-branded jimmy-jams.
Less than a month earlier, Arteta had acknowledged the fallibility of match officials in the Spurs v Liverpool game: They are trying to make the best decisions. We need to give support and understand that mistakes happen, and that that pressure is very difficult to manage. On Saturday, a man bearing a close physical resemblance to Arteta but clearly in no way related to the Arsenal manager, spat his dummy out and went off on one because Stockley Park had arrived at a conclusion that wasn’t necessarily wrong but just happened to be one with which he disagreed.
What we do know with a fair amount of certainty, is that if Arsenal scored an identical goal and it had been chalked off by the officials for any one of the three reasons Newcastle’s wasn’t, their manager would have completely lost it and insisted it should have stood.
Whilst I’m generally wholeheartedly in favour and amused by the kind of entertainment generated by the Spaniard’s post-match meltdown, his tantrum, and the endorsement of it by a weird club statement, will only serve to legitimise and further fuel the paranoia of the disturbing number of dingbats among football supporters who appear to genuinely believe referees are conspiring against their team. While there is no question that a number of bad decisions are being made, Arteta must know deep down that the most egregious ones on Saturday were made by himself and various players on Arsenal’s team.
Worth a watch: What’s not to love about a penalty shootout? 44 kicks and 18-17 was the outcome Penalties
Gary likes his chips. Uncle Gary, officially the Busiest Man in the World, owns the Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester, but the restaurant has recently closed. I’ve unearthed an interview with Dragon Gary where he showcased his business acumen and put his finger on the potato, sorry, the pulse, as to why that side of his venture failed. Over a starter of steak tartare, Neville regaled the FT interviewer with wisdom on people, micromanagement, learning, dealing with failure and his revolutionary concept of mini retirements. This bit confused me no end, as it appears Gary sees ‘mini retirements’ as taking time off at the weekend. But doesn’t he work most Saturdays and Sundays for Sky?
Anyway,, Gary couldn’t help reprising his old vendetta against new fangled potato dishes: I grew up 50 yards from a chippy. When someone puts in front of me Parmenter potatoes or boulangère potatoes or roast of Dauphinoise or even mash – because the problem with mash is that there can be fifteen different types with leek in, with onion, cheesy mash -then the mash may have too much butter in or sometimes it’s dry. Honestly, fry the potatoes. A chip, chips are fine. I absolutely love chips.
Transfer deadline is 11am Saturday. No tips or thoughts from me, I know nothing and have no players this weekend!