The pre-game handshakes should be scrapped
PFA chairman Gordon Taylor suggested yesterday that the row over Anton Ferdinand’s refusal to shake John Terry’s hand could descend into a “Mafia feud”. Having watched the Sopranos I know what a Mafia feud looks like, and this is not about to become one. However, it is rather pathetic that we end up spending half the weekend talking about a handshake, or the lack therof, rather than another brilliant weekend of Premier League football.
These pre-game handshakes have caused more trouble than they are worth. First we had Terry v Bridge, then Evra v Suarez and now Terry again v Anton Ferdinand. Next weekend, we are going to have to go through the whole sorry debace again as Evra and Suarez come face to face. The PFA should have a look at how it’s done in the world of rugby and cricket. In rugby, they belt eachother relentlessly for 90 minutes but at the end of the game the mutual respect is clear. Whatever kicks, punches and eye gouges that are suffered stay on the pitch and that’s it. Similarly in Cricket, they sledge eachother and compete fiercly for 5 days but will sit down in the changing room at the end of the match and have a beer together.
They should scrap the handshake and let the players, who are grown up enough to do so, shake hands at the end of the game. This way, it doesn’t give them the opportunity to ruin what we are all actually all there to see, the football.
How long is it going to take to implement the obvious?
Ever since Frank Lampard had a goal disallowed in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinal, it has been clear, especially in the Englishman’s mind, that goal-line technology needs to be introduced. So, why hasn’t anything been done about it? Unfortunately, last night another fantastic game was marred by a poor decision that could have been easily rectified with it’s introduction. If Anichebe’s goal had been given Everton would have gone 2-1 up with 10 minutes to play against Newcastle.
There is an argument that says football is unique amongst sport because it is the same from the professional ranks all the way down to your average Sunday league kick about, but it no longer makes sense to not use the resources that are available. Enough is enough, the sooner it is introduced the better. Then we can get back to talking about football and what an enthralling match it was on Monday night.
Southampton are not as bad as they look
Southampton are stuck at the foot of the table with no points, but they have played both Manchester clubs and Arsenal and we are only four games into the season. Very few teams would have come out of those games with anything to show for it. It is fair to say that their loss at home to Wigan was the big disappointment, but the performances against the two sides from Manchester suggests they have a lot to give to this season. They were 3 minutes away from victory against Manchester United, and 2-1 up at The Etihad against City only to be beaten 3-2 in both.
They have a young side, with bags of talent. Jason Puncheon and England call-up and captain Adam Lallana terrorised Manchester United from the flanks. Top scorer in The Championship last season, Ricky Lambert has shown that he has the quality to score goals against the big boys with strikes against United and City. 22 year old Morgan Scneiderlin who signed for Southampton in 2008 despite interest from Arsenal and Chelsea, has represented France from U16 up to U21 level. He is a calm head in the middle of park and combined with 17 year old James Ward-Prowse who has started every game this season they look like an exciting young duo. Gaston Ramirez is still to be added to the midfield so they have enough good attacking players to trouble many teams. Nigel Adkins will have to temper his teams attacking instincts with a bit of defensive stability before they can truly flourish, but expect a lot more from Southampton in the coming weeks.
Just one final thought…
Last week we mentioned that Stoke’s run of draws may be worth a punt and they came up with the goods against Manchester City holding on for a 1-1 draw. This week, that run could well end. Stoke have a poor record at Stamford Bridge having conceded 10 in the last 3 seasons and scoring none, so expect a comfortable Chelsea win.
Elsewhere, Manchester United have not won in the League at Anfield since 2007 and Wigan have not beaten Fulham since 2006, both could be worth a dabble.