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Video Assistant Referee – Good or Bad Move for Football?

After officials watching on TV told the referee Deulofeu was onside, the decision was reversed

Change they say, is one of the constant things in life.

However, there are some certain things that come with change. If you have been used to seeing one thing happen the same day all your life and someone pops in from nowhere and makes some modifications to that thing, it can be met with agreement or some sort of resistance and that’s the dilemma we are expected to face in the wake of the newly launched VAR, or Video Assistant Referee, which was brought into the limelight in Spain’s 2-0 victory over France.

For the benefit of those that didn’t have the opportunity to watch the match, here are some extended highlights

It was a pretty straightforward game with two European juggernauts locking horns in a friendly encounter. The Spaniards opened the scoring after our very own Laurent Koscielny conceded a penalty, but this was after Antoine Griezmann had a goal that was rightly disallowed after the referee consulted with the video assistant referee in a remote location. Apparently, the referee and VAR could communicate via the headset but it was really awkward seeing how it panned out, as Griezmann and his teammates had exchanged hugs with the home fans celebrating what they thought was a goal, only for it to be ruled out when the ref finished his discussions with the VAR.

There were some time lag as the events elapsed but France took it on the chin and got on with the game. Later on, Gerard Deulofeu scored a goal for Spain but the linesman was swift to raise his flag like he had some eagle-eyed vision or something but the ref decided to consult his VAR who probably did some video playback and analysis which took up to one minute. Then he overturned the decision of his linesman and awarded what proved to be the match winning goal for Spain.

Didier Deschamps was magnanimous with his comments after the game,

“It is verified and it is fair, why not?. It changes our football a little. It is against us today, but if we have to go through this, it will be the same for everyone.

It is the evolution of football. That is how it will be.”

Well, it’s just a friendly game that didn’t mean much to both sides, which was also a very good platform to use the VAR initiative, so it’s all well and good, but would Deschamps had made the same comments if it was in the European Championship finals? It’s one thing to have a goal disallowed when the game was tied at 0-0 and to top that, you were chasing the game at 0-1 then your opponent scores what is believed to be an offside goal, then it’s overturned? Some Mourinhos *coughs* managers would go berserk.

The idea of the VAR worked its weight in gold in the game but there are other sides to it. Speaking in alignment with the initiative, the referee’s decision making was spot on, as he accepted to use the aid of the VAR to help him with such a huge footballing decision as awarding a goal. We can talk about countless occasions where goals were wrongly given or ruled out, so having this option can prove very vital in order to maintain transparency in the beautiful game. At first glance of Deulofeu’s effort, the linesman taught it was offside and did his job by raising his flag up. Many referees would have believed in their assistant’s judgment 100% and award a free kick to France but VAR proved that it was a wrong decision.

This would help in subsequent decisions like goals, penalty decisions, red cards and of course, the rare case of Andre Marriner awarding Kieran Gibbs a red card for an error committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. These are very key decisions that affect the outcome of games, so it would be nice if the VAR continues to be used in this regard.

My only delta with this technology is the time wasting bit. It took the ref one whole minute, I mean, a frigging minute to decide whether he wanted to award the goal to Spain or give France an indirect free kick. What if the linesman was actually right and it was actually an offside? A whole minute would have wasted and we would have come to the same decision that we should have had 60 seconds ago. Another delta would be the technical knowledge of the so-called ‘Video Assistant Referee’ – would he be as useless as those touchline Champions League officials that would see Javi Martinez foul Theo Walcott blatantly as still act like they saw nothing?

In the end, the pluses seem to overshadow the deltas but its going to be interesting to see how football teams embrace this change.

Sayonara

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The Evolution of FIFA (Video Game)

Today’s guest post from Barryy Robertson takes us on a trip down memory lane and track the development of FIFA, game-by-game, from start to finish, to see just how far the franchise has come from its humble 2D, diagonal camera view beginnings, to today in all its glory.

It’s a nice infographic that was worth sharing.

Enjoy!

Fifa-infographic-final-mod

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Thoughts on Thierry Henry and the Arsenal Managerial Post

Image result for wenger thierry henry

In recent weeks, a lot has been said about Arsene Wenger’s future and it has become a tiresome exercise for the manager, the players and to some certain degree, the fans. We don’t know what the manager’s long term plans are, until he reveals it and its pretty much evident that our board is absolutely clueless on his plans as well. These uncertainties puts everything in limbo and all we can do is speculate about who would be his successor after 21 wonderful years of service with the club.

The media outlets and pundits alike have wasted no time in making their proposed nominations with names like Eddie Howe, Thomas Tuchel, Max Allegri and even Diego Simeone touted as his potential replacements. Another faction has mentioned the club’s greatest ever player, Thierry Henry, as a potential replacement and I’m going to dwell on that a little.

First off, the Sky pundit / Belgium assistant manager shared his thoughts on the issue with an interview with Canal Plus,

“It doesn’t depend on me, there are things to be respected, it’s my club of heart but I do not have any right-wings. My name is quoted to succeed Wenger, I hear that. But it’s hard for me to talk about it I have a lot of respect for everything the coach has done.

“Am I ready? I don’t know and nobody knows, but I also need to learn my job. I will not be a consultant all my life, but coaching is not my aim.

“I have not fixed any goal in the head, I will love it [being a coach] and I will do everything for it. But, right now, I’m in learning mode.”

The ex-Gunner has taken a coy approach here, not ruling himself out from the job if its available and most importantly, admitting that he’s still on a learning curve in football management.

Which brings me to my bone of contention – is Thierry Henry capable of managing a massive club with lofty ambitions (lol) like Arsenal football club? Your guess is probably as good as mine – Yes, No, I don’t care? So I’m going to look at this from a holistic view, before reaching a conclusion on what my thoughts would be in this debate.

Yes Faction

This belongs to the faction that probably that Thierry Henry is the man for the job. Scoring 228 goals in 376 games for the club, he was an unbelievable attacking prowess and as a manager, he would instill that mentality on his players. He is very passionate about the club and takes time out to always visit the lads in the dressing room and the stands, so you can say that he has an influential presence on the team. He had a brief stint with the youth squad and knows some training regimes that can be applied to the first team if he gets the role.

Then there is the stuff he says on that his comfortable Sky Sports seat. From his analysis and tactical displays on the show, he seems like the guy that would have some sorta master plan for the team and he always expresses his views on Arsenal as ‘we’. If given a chance, he could exhibit those things he says, buy those players he believes should be at the club, shake things up the way he would like and bring the club back to its glory days but of course, this is all theoretical.

No Faction

This belongs to the faction that strongly believe that Henry should not even be considered at all for the role. To them, he is largely inexperienced and has not proven himself capable enough to hit the ground running in a club of Arsenal’s magnitude. They’d prefer him to start up small in a lower division side and prove his mettle before playing with the big boys. C’mon, there are other managers out there like Diego Simeone that has won one La Liga (13/14), one Copa Del Rey (12/13), one Spanish Super Cup (’14), one Europa League (11/12), one UEFA Super Cup (’12) and most impressively, two appearances in the UEFA Champions League finals.

Then there is the Gary Neville factor that proves that not all good pundits make good managers. Neville got a dream Valencia job in December 2016, managing 28 games for the club before getting the sack in March 2016. He had a terrible win rate of 35.71%, winning just 10 of the 28 games for the Mestalla based outfit. That 7-0 defeat against Barcelona was the nadir of Neville’s time in Spain. Who knows, Henry can be another Neville? Those kind of fears would be allayed.

I Don’t Care Faction

Of course, they don’t care.

What I think

If Arsene Wenger truly decides to leave the club in the summer and the board, in their infinite wisdom, approach Thierry Henry, for the position of the club’s manager, I would be extremely delighted. I regard Henry as my favorite player of all time, so it would be awesome seeing him manage the team. Like the ‘Yes’ faction, Henry is a guy that could make things work and I know many would highlight his inexperience as a major factor but these things are not cast in stone.

In the end, Arsenal football club made the decision and it’s our job as fans to support the new manager, irrespective of his background and other criteria we may want to use to judge him.

Lemme give you a chance to tell me what you think

Sayonara.

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