Football has always been a case of one set of rules for one lot, another set of rules for the others – and that’s traditionally been based around the size of the club and all that. Yet in the FA Cup 3rd Round it actually was a case of different rules for different matches. VAR made its debut in slightly less thrilling circumstances than Virgil van Dijk in Brighton’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace. Glenn Murray’s winner was correctly given after a quick consultation with a video referee being punished for previous crimes by being told to sit in a Portakabin in Uxbridge. I have no problem with VAR being introduced at all, but it has to be in every single match in the 3rd Round onwards (or better still, earlier) and not just in a select few. What if, without VAR, Murray’s goal had been disallowed? What about all the other decisions that went for/against teams in the other 3rd Round matches that might have affected the outcome? All in or not at all please, and don’t even get me started on the fact that only one of the two League Cup semi-finals will be using it.
#2 The website guys at Nike
A couple of weeks ago Nike “accidentally” published content announcing Philippe Coutinho as a Barcelona player and letting people know of the special deal they could get on their Barca shirt with his name on the back. It turns out that content was timestamped to be published on the day the deal was actually announced – begging the question how long had the transfer been agreed with Liverpool not telling their fans?
#3 Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes went on to have quite a career under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. But, if it had not been for Mark Robins’ goal against Nottingham Forest back in 1990 there might not have been an Alex Ferguson at United for Sparky to do well under. So it was very nice of Hughes, knowing his position at Stoke was pretty much untenable, to allow Mark Robins another moment of FA Cup glory as a thank you. Hughes was sacked after the 2-1 defeat but was able to go to bed knowing he had done a nice thing for an old teammate.
#4 Joe Hart
Everyone is focusing on the fact he forgot to take a cap with him, but surely the bigger story is that he remembered how to keep a clean sheet? Well done Joe, don’t let the bastards suggest it doesn’t count as it was against Shrewsbury Town.
#5 Alan Pardew
The very same bastards will be in Pardew’s ear telling him his first victory as WBA manager doesn’t really count either. Exeter City are a good team, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise Alan.
#6 Jurgen Klopp
Kloppo has pulled off a masterstroke. People are bleating on social media about how he said Coutinho was going nowhere, but King Klopp was just playing the game to drive the price up. £145m or so for Coutinho is top work and it is already clear Virgil is going to score all the missing goals himself.
#7 Alex Iwobi
Alex Iwobi was pictured out at a Soho part at 02:37 two nights before Arsenal crashed out of the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest. Wenger was not happy at all…
“If that is true, he will be fined. It is impossible to go out 48 hours before a game. It’s unacceptable. I will have to of course see him to see if that is right or not.
“It was not the night before the game, it was 48 hours before the game. The night before the game awe were in a hotel. But it is not acceptable and I will have to speak to him about that. First of all you have to be cautious with the news coming out, when you read what is reported it is like he has taken drugs. He is not involved in that at all, he has been out at a birthday party. How long has he stayed? That is important. After, I will decide what happens.”
You see, the modern Arsenal cannot even get going out and getting pissed a couple of nights before a game right, can they? Tony Adams, Paul Merson etc all understood the rules. Nothing matters if you win. Everything matters if you don’t.