Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Andy Carroll: Will the FA officially sanction cheating today?

I only saw the Chico Flores-Andy Carroll love tussle for the first time on MOTD2 last night, and on first viewing, I must admit my heart sank. From one angle, Carroll definitely swings his arm back and appears to make contact. And that's the view the referee had.

But seen from the other side, all becomes clear. Yes the arm moves backwards, but not maliciously, and the reaction of Flores is absolutely pathetic.

So now the FA face a challenge. What is more serious, a swinging arm that if it makes contact can result in a broken cheek bone or nose, or out and out cheating? I fear they will stupidly err on the side of personal safety, and in so doing, do untold damage to the game.

The sensible course of action would be for the red to be reduced to a yellow and for Flores to be charged with bringing the game into disrepute. And when found guilty, a significant ban and fine should be imposed because if we do not drive this appalling simulation out of the game then cheating will grow like a cancer.

So, is the risk to the health of one player or the risk to the health of the entire game more important? It's clear what the panel should decide - even Laudrup admits Carroll shouldn't have seen red - but I'm not holding my breath!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Any three from ten as relegation waters muddy with West Ham's win over Swansea

Well it looks like being one hell of a scrap to avoid the drop this season. We were briefly out of the bottom three, only for Moyeschester United to choke yet again - this time at Stoke. So now three points separates tenth placed Stoke and relegation - and that is crazy with more than half the season in the can!

What's even crazier is that our survival could now depend on an appeal to Carroll's red card. Nolan's two goals today showed how important the pairing are likely to be - and one without the other is about as useful as a single chopstick. Laudrup has sportingly said that the red card was harsh and hopefully that will help - and given Swansea are themselves deep in the mire, that was a very noble gesture indeed.

I couldn't see the game today as I am in hospital; and following it by constantly refreshing the Official Site match report was more painful than my operation to remove my gall bladder - especially after Carroll's dismissal. What's truly amazing about the last two games, of course, is that we have kept clean sheets without starting Reid and the new signings have been periphery too. Thank God in the case of Johnson!

What is clear from this window is that Sullivan and Gold are costing in relegation. No money was spent and the wages of the loan signings will not be carried over to the Championship. The decision to part with Rat was disappointing for me, but Allardyce clearly doesn't rate him. Let's hope the new Colombian is more professional than Montano; and the life of his family doesn't hinge on West Ham losing a key game!