Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Unprofessional Foul

I can't deny this blog has been a bit football-centric lately - it's just that with QPR doing so well and Barnet top of the conference I can't get enough of the beautiful game !

So much so that I watched Palace-Fulham last night, which was a decent game (much better than Chelsea-Liverpool the day before). The game was turned by the early sending off of Fulham defender Ian Pearce. If you didn't see it, Pearce underhit a back pass and then pulled Andy Johnson down as he raced onto it, a clear red card. What no one mentioned (of course) was the fact that this happened with only 6 minutes played. From a risk-reward point of view, committing a professional foul like this so early in the game must be wrong. Maybe it's more pot odds than risk-reward. Fulham's gain is that Johnson is denied a one-on-one opportunity - from which he has no guarantee of scoring, in fact he missed one later in the game. Their loss is that they have to play with 10 men for almost the entire game (the resulting free-kick was so far from goal that this loss is insignificant). If this happens in the 86th minute instead, it would clearly be "value" to commit the foul. In the 6th minute, it can't be. Even Palace can pass the ball well enough to punish ten men over that length of time. In the event they could have had 4 or 5 in the last 20 minutes, Fulham being exhausted. They settled for a very comfortable 2-0 win.

Are any coaches smart enough to tell their players not to commit professional fouls early in the game ? I doubt it. Wenger maybe, he is "The Professor" after all :-)


Blogger Frode said...

The professor? I wonder.

Being a fanatical Arsenal supporter I watched in amazement as Professor Wenger made an astounding tactical error in a Champions League-match two years ago. Arsenal was entertaining Roma the fifth match of the second group stage and the scoreline was 1-1 with ten minutes to go. In the other group match Ajax were hosting Valencia and they too were drawing. If these results held up, Arsenal would be secure of qualification if they could manage a draw away to Valencia in the last game. A win for Arsenal against Roma would still mean that they would have to get a point in Spain, but by winning they would elimnate Roma from the competition, thereby making it easier for Ajax in the remaining fixture (as Roma would almost certainly leave their best players out of a - to them - meaningless match).

A loss however would mean that Arsenal would have to beat Valencia away to make it to the last eight.

Now most people would agree that taking big risks to get a winning goal in this situation, would not be worth the possible reward. What reward, you might ask? You are right, there wasn't one.

Wenger however, chose to substitute right back Lauren for (although admittedly underachieving) striker Kanu. The day after the match he admitted that "it seems a draw was actually not a bad result".

Amazing that he didn't realize this during, or before, the game.

PS: Great blog.

1:44 AM  

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