The debate around video technology in football is one that will never be sorted, and one that will continue to split opinion. The introduction of goal-line technology in the Premier League is a welcomed improvement; the way the model works does not slow the game, and it provides a conclusive answer to whether the ball has crossed the line. It ticks the boxes, and the leagues across Europe should replicate the model from the Premier League – there needs to be a first for everything.
Where UEFA and the European scene particularly fail is with the fourth official on the goal-line during Champions League and Europa League matches. The instalment is not a proven method to help the game; you only need to look as far as the recent missed penalty on Theo Walcott after a foul committed by Xabi Alonso, and then just a day later, Luis Suarez’s simulation turns the tie on its head between Barcelona and PSG.
Yes Suarez dived, but i'm still shivering after that @FCBarcelona performance. Best emotions watching football since May 21st last year.
These are the bread and butter decisions in the box, which the fourth official should be taking command of. But they’re failing to, it needs to be stopped, and a new method trialled.
However, the immediate implementation of video technology has reason to not be brought in; it slows the game down, it makes the game too ‘perfect’, it takes away the debate, the controversy. Just look at rugby union, the constant referral to go upstairs kills games. It has become boring as stoppages are too often, fans too often pay money to see an official operating in an office. Never mind the momentum it kills for teams. Controversy, and that divide in football is what makes the sport; it’s what actually makes going down the local pub and speaking about errors an entertaining discussion.
Still, where there shouldn’t be a debate is around a referee carrying a hangover going into the Premier League. Of course, both Anthony Taylor and Kevin Friend had not just tipped up to officiate the matches at Old Trafford and the Liberty Stadium straight from Taylor’s celebrations, but they were too close to the game. Book the trip another time, book the time off; don’t participate in such an activity so close to a match as valuable as three Premier League points.
What would the media say had that been the players? The officials are the elites of their professions, like the players; they have to be razor sharp, the rationality behind their decision making can not be blurred. With such incidents, it only gives the video technology a stronger argument, which shouldn’t be necessary in our game.
With the referees often being scapegoats and at the front of controversy, going away on a stag do in Spain, and making a wrong call on the weekend will only put you in the firing line. It also raises the questions what do referees actually do when they’re not officiating? Sure, they will be reading appropriate rule books, and doing the odd game here and there, working on their fitness, but they must have a lot of time on their hands during the year. More appropriate times to celebrate your wedding, not close to a game where the fans pay thousands of pounds for the sport, and not for the officials to be star of the show.
Regardless of the referees shockers, what’s more criminal is the fact these chaps have hardly featured this season…
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GK) Asmir Begović
Of course, Thibaut Courtois, is rightly playing over Begovic. But, the Chelsea No.2 is so wasted sitting on the bench. The lad could have the No. 1 shirt at 60% of Premier League clubs; don't lower yourself to Mark Schwarzer. Image Source: Twitter
DF) Luke Shaw
Has become an all too familiar sight this season. No one knows what's going on between the left-back and Jose Mourinho - don't even think they do. Image Source: Twitter
DF) Mamadou Sakho
Another reason why Jurgen Klopp should get the chop, completely isolating a bloke who would massively help a very poor defence. Surely playing Lucas Leiva at centre-half is enough of a wake up. Image Source: Twitter
DF) Álvaro Arbeloa
From Real Madrid, to not making a very average West Ham side. Had the former Liverpool man been given a fair crack of the whip, the Spaniard would be able to offer more and help with his experience. Image Source: Twitter
MF) Moussa Sissoko
What a waste of £30million, the Frenchman's quality was shown in the Euro 2016 Final. Please play him more, Poch. Image Source: Twitter
MF) Morgan Schneiderlin
Getting more football now under Ronald Koeman at Everton, but a waste of a whole season for the Frenchman. Criminal that he was just warming the bench at Old Trafford. Image Source: Twitter
MF) Jordon Ibe
Bournemouth's record signing, yet restricted to just 12 Premier League appearances to date. Needs a run of games, and the reason why Liverpool rated the Englishman will show. Image Source: Twitter
Tough to get in the team when the starting XI is playing consistently well. But, was Chelsea's best player last season, and is one of the best set-piece takers in the league. Image Source: Twitter
FW) Lucas Perez
HAS to play more often. When there is a striker debate, and you have quality sitting on the bench it seems a no brainer to play the lad. Why sign someone for such a fee, and only give him eight Premier League games so far this season. Image Source: Twitter
FW) Daniel Sturridge
Sure, injuries and attitude will forever hamper the striker. But, his finishing and ability shouldn't be questioned; needs to leave Anfield in the summer, or will continue to be underused. Image Source: Twitter
FW) Anthony Martial
Slowly working his way into the starting XI, but that should have always been the case. United's best player last season, devastating when going forward, Mourinho needs to show Martial the love he deserves. Image Source: Twitter
Bench) Michy Batshuayi
Let's just remember the Belgian cost the Blues £33.2 million, and he's barely trusted by his manager. Not called upon when Costa is missing with Conte preferring Hazard as a false nine; the scorer of 17 Ligue 1 goals last season could be off this summer. Image Source: Twitter
Bench) Wilfried Bony
Had a shocking time since his exit from Swansea. Bony doesn't look to be getting game time at any club. and will probably join the Chinese entourage this summer. Image Source: Twitter
Proved himself to be a bit of a hothead, but the £13.8 million pound signing is looking a waste of money if Pep doesn't play him more regularly. Image Source: Twitter
Bench) Cesc Fabregas
In and out the XI too often. Deserves more of a regular starting spot. Sure, Chelsea have been the stand out team, but when the Spaniard's in the side, there's far more creativity. Exhibit A being the game away at the Etihad Stadium. Image Source: Twitter
Bench) Saido Berahino
Whatever the young lad's been smoking, this has been an absolute horror season. Just four appearances since his move to Stoke, NEEDS minutes before he becomes another England flop. Image Source: Twitter