January 14, 2014

Screwcastle: Disallowed goal burns Magpies

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

Every week there’s one or two questionable offside calls made in the Premier League, but this week had one that has spurred a lot of debate.

It seems the Newcastle was screwed by an offside decision that robbed it of an otherwise great goal by Cheick Tiote.

To set the scene, the Magpies were trailing heavyweights Manchester City 1-0 in the first half when Newcastle was awarded a corner. That corner was cleared to Tiote just outside the box, who hammered home a shot across goal through three City defenders and just barely missed teammate Yoan Gouffran, who was near the goalline at the time. City keeper Joe Hart was helpless on the play, standing and watching the ball fly in a good yard or two to his left.

But, apparently the ref felt the need to call the play offside because Gouffran had not gotten back – which would have been correct except for one fact: He had no impact on the play.

The Frenchman didn’t touch the ball, didn’t interfere with a City defender or Hart and wasn’t in Hart’s line of sight of the ball.

There was no reason why the goal should have been disallowed and it’s something that the ref will have to answer for.

Instead of playing out the game 1-1, Newcastle was forced to chase the game, eventually losing 2-0 after Alvaro Negredo would pot one in second-half injury time.

That loss for Newcastle would be even more costly, as it was the only team in the Top 8 to not gain three points this Gameweek.

BIG WEEKEND FOR DEFOE

Jermain Defoe had one hell of a weekend. He comes back from injury, makes a substitute appearance for Tottenham Hotspur and scores against Crystal Palace, then travels to Toronto to finalize and announce his deal with TFC. Quite the busy few days.

While there are many on both sides of the debate as to whether this is a good move for both TFC and Defoe, I have three things to add to the discussion.

1. Take it for what it’s worth, but according to FIFA 14, Defoe is the second best player in MLS in overall rating, behind only Clint Dempsey (who hasn’t exactly sparkled since joining Seattle). Defoe, at 81 overall, is also one of three players that is rated 80+ in the game, along with Marco Di Vaio and Dempsey.

2. Let’s not say that this move means that Defoe won’t be playing for England in the World Cup this summer. Defoe has been on the outskirts of the team for a while now and is a longshot to make the squad anyways. With Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Rickie Lambert and Danny Welbeck all ahead of him in the striking pecking order a call to Brazil was always unlikely.

3. Just because TFC has signed Defoe, Michael Bradley and Gilberto as DPs this off-season, don’t automatically expect the team to contend for a title, or even the playoffs straight away. Soccer is a team sport and this team will be gelling on the fly with Defoe only joining in March. And remember what happened with the Blue Jays last year after their free-agent binge: Utter failure. So let’s take a wait-and-see approach before getting out hopes up.

FOUR DAYS, THREE TEAMS ON TOP

Thanks to a staggered schedule, we saw three different teams top the table over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, it was Arsenal on top of the league.

On Saturday night, it was Chelsea.

On Sunday night, it was Manchester City.

On Monday night, it was Arsenal again.

That just goes to show how packed the very top of the table is and how much can be gained and lost in just a weekend.

It should make for a great second half to the season, one that will keep every team in the packed top-half on the edge of their seats going forward.

AROUND THE PREMIERSHIP

Who would have thought that Stoke would have been capable of being part of such an entertaining game like their 5-3 loss to Liverpool on Sunday? Gone are the days of grinding 1-0 and 0-0 games for the Potters. Not gone: The Reds terrible defence. That’s the difference between them being in title contention and battling for Europe … That was a rough tackle by Mapoy Yanga-Mbiwa on Samir Nasri. It should have been a red card in an already-chippy game. The in-form midfielder will miss at least eight weeks according to reports, but it could be much more – even endangering his chances of playing in the World Cup … Manchester United got some revenge on Swansea after being bounced by them in the FA Cup last week, winning 2-0 at home. Yes, that wasn’t a typo: Manchester United won at Old Trafford. A great line from a commenter when the Red Devils scored first on Saturday: “…And the underdogs have pulled ahead!” … The Swans truly are the Welsh Barcelona. 61% possession and very little of it in the attacking third … After losing its past two games by a combined score of 11-0, West Ham avoided going to the bottom of the table by beating Vincent Tam’s boys 2-0. And that included a goal while down to 10 men late on which was set up by a returning Andy Carroll. To tell you how much the Hammers need a good forward like Carroll playing, the fact that Carlton Cole started the game should be enough … It seems that Dempsey’s return to Fulham barely moved the needle. How else can you explain it losing 4-1 to lowly Sunderland? Adam Johnson picked up a hat trick and was actually this week’s top fantasy scorer.

FANTASY CORNER

Sturridge was the pickup of the week, but may have had some owners disappointed after seeing him start the game on the bench. He made up for it late though, picking up a goal, assist and nine fantasy points in just 25 minutes on the pitch.

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