January 19, 2016

Is it time for replay in the Premier League?

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

Was there anybody, except for John Terry and the sideline official that thought Terry wasn’t offside when he scored the game-tying goal in the 98th minute against Everton on Saturday? I didn’t think so.

It wasn’t even a call that looked borderline, the Chelsea captain looked clearly ahead of Everton’s defenders after Oscar flicked on the ball to the Blues captain.

It’s the type of crucial call that needs to be made and the type of call that officials can understandably have trouble with.

But with the addition of goal-line technology and the game evolving more each year, the next big leap forward should be coming shortly and it should be replay challenges.

Almost every other sport in the world has instituted the use of technology to review calls and with the amount of cameras in every stadium for broadcast purposes, it would be all too easy.

While purists would quickly point out that lengthy delays would hurt the flow of the game, there are ways around that. Either give the fourth official access to a TV screen or even an iPad to quickly look at the replays, or have another official up in a press box watching the game feeds. With everyone in communication with each other using headsets, it’s not that hard to relay information quickly among the officiating crew. It would have taken less than a minute to see Terry was offside and rightly wave off the goal.

Instead, the Blues and Toffees split a point each and Everton can feel robbed of a chance to jump up to eight place in the table.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

It looks like King Kun has returned.

Sergio Aguero scored twice and had an assist in Man City’s demolition of Crystal Palace, a true return to form for one of the world’s best players.

It was also a return to form for the Sky Blues, who have been slacking recently despite sitting just a point off the top of the table.

This is the sort of showing that we know City is capable of, but we need to see more often. With many saying that Arsenal is the favourite to win the title, it wouldn’t hurt Manuel Pellegrini to get his lads up for these “smaller” games and put up big numbers to remind the league just how dangerous they can be.

OUT FOXED

It might be time to start worrying about Leicester City.

Things were looking good against Aston Villa when the Foxes were up 1-0 and won a penalty before the end of first half. It was downhill from there.

Riyad Mahrez, who has been one of the players of the season this far no doubt, was stopped by Mark Bunn, giving the Villans a breath of life.

Aston Villa certainly looked the better side coming out of the break and would go on to tie the game against the league’s second-ranked side.

Was Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri tinkering too much, taking off goal-scorer Shinji Okazaki after 58 minutes or Mahrez 10 minutes later?

The moves didn’t appear to help the Foxes too much and, realistically, this is a side that shouldn’t have a problem beating Villa.

Maybe their run has simply come to an end. It’s hard to keep up should a magnificent pace in the Premier League this long with a side that isn’t incredibly deep. With the spate of fixtures over the holidays, it’s easy to get worn down.

Just look at the Golden boy Jamie Vardy – after scoring in 11 straight games, he has just one in eight contests and has been playing hurt.

It has been an incredible run for Leicester, but it looks like it might have been figured out. Whether or not the Tinkerman can fix this remains to be seen.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Aston Villa is one of seven teams to play in the Premier League every season since it started more than 20 years ago. That might end this season. No team has stayed up with this few points at this point of the season … B ig shoutout to Bournemouth’s Charlie Daniels, who scored the rare hat trick for fantasy defenders by picking up a goal, assist and clean sheet for a nice 18 points this week. Look for his price to rise, but don’t expect that sort of return again … Despite seeing Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool play on Sunday, it was a pretty poor day of football. There was one goal in the two games and it wasn’t a pretty one, either. Wayne Rooney was left alone to collect a rebound off a corner due to some shoddy defending by Lucas Leiva for the eventual winner … It was a big goal for Rooney, though. He now has 176 goals with United – the most by any player for one club in Premier League history, one more than Thierry Henry with Arsenal. Rooney also has scored in four straight games, though none were particularly impressive or skillful … The Gunners should be thanking their lucky stars that Mesut Ozil is only missing one game with his toe injury that cropped up Sunday morning. They looked very unimpressive in drawing Stoke 0-0 on Sunday to stay atop the table … How about Jermain Defoe’s little outburst over the break, scoring five goals in two games before Saturday’s loss to Tottenham. That was wholly unexpected from the former TFC forward … Dimitri Payet should give a big boost to West Ham after returning early from injury. He’s basically the anti-Andy Carroll, who is injured once again long-term … How weird is it that while the German Bundesliga takes weeks off during the Christmas break, the Premier League plays more games than ever?

WAIT, YOU’RE STILL HERE?

I honestly kept putting off writing a Premier League roundup for a while because I figured I should wait for the inevitable Louis Van Gaal firing. Instead, he’s still going strong while United picks up points in about as boring fashion as possible.

Honestly, he probably should have been cut loose by now. Jose Mourinho should have been brought in – he wants the job, reportedly – and given the January transfer period to shape his roster a little bit.

Instead, it’s LVG steering this ship listlessly as United struggles to even stay in the Champions League places.

How long this lasts remains to be seen, but the Red Devils can’t keep coasting, can they?

THE LAST WORD

Perhaps the biggest news this week in the soccer world didn’t come out of England, it was the transfer ban handed to both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. While you might say this doesn’t affect the Premier League, I think it seriously does.

This summer, without the biggest spender in the world open for business, a player like Harry Kane won’t be poached by Real and Atletico won’t be after some of the players a tier below, or maybe a Spaniard like Juan Mata, who isn’t at the top of his game right now.

With Euro 2016 in France this summer too, there are tons of players looking to inflate their value for top clubs like these two.

But the real hit for some of the bigger EPL clubs is that it looks nearly impossible for either club to sell one of their top players – Gareth Bale, Antoine Greizmann or even Cristiano Ronaldo – because it is literally impossible to replace them. So you can scratch all of those Bale-to-United rumours for now because they simply won’t get done.

How this will shake up the transfer market – and even if this ban is upheld upon – will be a very interesting storyline to watch.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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