November 26, 2013

Rooney should’ve seen red

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

In any sport, there are missed calls, there are bad calls and then are calls that are actually described as “the worst decision of all I’ve seen all season” by reputable commentators like Ian Darke.

The call that Darke branded “the worst” on this week’s ESPN Soccernet podcast was that of Wayne Rooney not getting a red card for kicking at Cardiff City’s Jordan Mutch.

It’s not like the official missed it: Rooney was given a yellow card – one that came out of the ref’s pocket almost immediately. That quick reaction to grab the yellow probably saved Rooney and likely Manchester United.

You would have to think that if this foul happened later than in the eighth minute, the call would have been to send him off – which is something that a stronger ref would have done anyway.

Instead, Rooney stays on and again proves to be United’s best player with Robin van Persie out with a groin injury. Rooney scored the game’s first goal and assisted on the second, which obviously would have been impossible from the locker room.

It’s a real shame for Cardiff, too. The Bluebirds played well enough to win the game and if they were facing 10 men, they could have had three points in bag.

It would have also given them wins over both Manchester sides this season, something that few sides can boast about recently.


The Merseyside derby had its fair share of excitement and drama – as it always does. And it could have gotten a lot more interesting if Kevin Mirallas were sent off his putting his studs into Luis Suarez about a half hour in.

That was another call that very easily could have been a red card and ultimately led to a draw when three points were deserved.

Both sides have their claims that they could have won this 3-3 draw, but if Everton went a man down, it would have doomed the Toffees and given Liverpool the chance to keep pace with Arsenal.

It might have made the game a lot less entertaining though. A man down, Everton likely would have thrown everyone behind the ball in an effort to stop Suarez and Co.

So maybe it was a good thing that Mirallas only saw yellow.


Is there any team that stands a chance visiting Manchester City?

Tottenham may not be the league’s best side and certainly has its issues, but you would have to expect better than a 6-0 defeat against any team.

Even more shocking: Spurs had only allowed six goals this season heading into this weekend.

So, why can’t City do this on the road? The Sky Blues are an absolute wrecking ball at home, but have lost four times on the road – including at Sunderland.

There is a lot to be said for sleeping in your own bed the night before a game, but this is ridiculous.

Spurs on the other hand, actually need to keep on buying in the next window. This comes on the heels of spending virtually all of their Gareth Bale money before even selling him, but they failed to find a good second striker to pair with Roberto Soldado.

Perhaps that is what Tottenham needs to jumpstart a high-priced offence that has scored the third-least goals in the EPL. Spurs’ nine goals are just one more than Sunderland and two more than Crystal Palace. Really puts things in perspective, right?


Southampton has allowed the fewest goals in the Premier League this season after Spurs’ blowout loss. And considering that goalkeeper Artur Boruc makes one terrible mistake every week, you have to wonder if the Saints need to find a new keeper this January. His dipsy-doodle idiocy against Arsenal this week cost his team early and they couldn’t find their way back … Speaking of goalkeeper miscues, Hugo Lloris coughing the ball up for City’s first goal was a howler too. You have to clear the ball better than that. But that miscue shouldn’t take away from how great Jesus Navas’ finish was to finesse the ball over Lloris and into the far top corner while on the run … Frank Lampard finally broke his goal drought with a brace against West Ham. Just when critics started to write the old man off and send him to MLS, too … What an amazing free kick by Suarez. Swerving the ball around the wall and into the bottom corner from that distance was a spectacular sight. It will surely make a look of year-end lists … How does Norwich let a corner bounce through the box to Loic Remy? Terrible defending by the Canaries. Newcastle looks like a squad that is pulling itself together and won’t be mired in a relegation battle this season. That wasn’t the case to start the season … Nice to see the rare triple-switch by Aston Villa on Monday in the Midlands derby. In the 57th minute, the Villans swapped Gabriel Agbonlahor for Libor Kozak, Andreas Weimann for Aleksandar Tonev and Fabian Delph for Yacouba Sylla. It also turned the tide in the game – good managing.


That’s three league games in a row now that Joe Hart has been on Man City’s bench in favour of Costel Pantilimon. While it’s tough to say how long that will last, Pantilimon is available for the low cost of $4.9 and has a favourable schedule coming up. There are not any better options at that price.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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