The Real Football Man

The past seven days has seen a multitude of domestic cup action in England and if you read last week’s article of mine then you would know that it was not just me who was struggling to get “Up for the Cup” with a number of clubs deciding to play fringe teams and almost getting punished for it.

Bournemouth, Chelsea and Leicester played weakened sides and now have to make do with the one thing that they didn’t want, that being the fact that they now have to worry about the additional game that a replay will bring in a few days time.

Hindsight may well be a wonderful thing and all that but had messers Howe, Conte and Puel gone with something resembling a more full strength lineup then they would not have to lament the fact that they failed to clear the first cup hurdle of the year.

Still much has been made of the role that the F.A. Cup continues to play in the modern game both here and elsewhere so we will put that diatribe to bed for another few weeks as I now focus on the main topic of discussion this week.

That being the fact that the Video Assistant Referee has been introduced to English football and quite frankly no-one has a clue how it works and quite honestly I mean no-one. The referee doesn’t know when to use it and that means the game then enters a state of flux as everyone watching the game tries to work out what is going on.

Not only that but it seems as if TV presenters, pundits and commentators alike simply have no clue as to how it works or if and when it should be implemented, I get the feeling that everyone is making it up as they go along and to be honest it is creating a poor spectacle for fans both in the ground at the home.

In fairness the much hyped Chelsea vs Arsenal Carabao Cup tie in midweek was nothing to write home about, if I was writing about that this week then I think I would have to have stopped in the introduction due to having no action to dissect.

You can sum a game up perfectly if its best moment is the fact that fans of both clubs were chanting “V A R, V A R, V A R” at Stamford Bridge. You suspect there was a large dose of irony in these chants and I’m not sure whether they will catch on, then again you could say the same about the Video Assistant Referee itself.

Admittedly it is new technology but surely there should have been something of a softer roll out then opposed to chucking it in at the deep end in two high profile cup competitions, the uncertainty of the situations helps no-one at the end of the day but at the same time uncertainty is precisely what the game needs.

Without the ongoing debate on whether a red card should have been awarded instead of a yellow or if the ball did go out of the play then  the game is going to lose a lot of the major talking points that it generates and therefore is in danger of becoming even more sterile.

Goal line technology is ideal due to the fact that we are dealing with an absolute, it is either a goal or it is not. The problem though with this new fangled piece of kit is that the decisions that are required to be made are from subjective matters.

You have a referee who does not know if he has made the correct decision in regards to the award of a penalty for example and therefore he refers it to someone else, problem that someone else at the moment doesn’t seem to have the answer either.

Which begs the question why bother with the video assistant in the first place? That is one that I cannot answer but it looks as if it is going to be here to stay. Hopefully it will get more seamless in time and it will get to a point where it is not even a point for discussion.

Before then I think we are going to have a few video nasties along the way.

Until next week