The weekend where Garth Crooks picked a sensible team of the week
Garth Crooks has taken a bit of a pasting over the summer. Arguing that Brazil were lining up with 12 players during the Olympics and then suggesting that West Brom midfielder, James Morrison, should be on Roy Hodgson’s radar, despite his 25 caps for Scotland. This week’s line up (in a 4-3-3) was almost feasible and instead of loading six strikers into a formation there is balance to this week’s side. Juan Mata and Chris Baird in a central midfield three, is a slight stretch of the imagination, but good effort Garth.
Chelsea were left ruing a number of refereeing decisions after their 3-23 defeat to Manchester United, but the club might want to look introspectively before blaming the officials for the defeat. There can be no complaints about Ivanovic’s feigned attempt at clumsiness in checking Ashley Young and Fernando Torres was also responsible for his own red card. Never mind that his lunge on Tom Cleverley for his first yellow could have warranted a red, the forward was guilty of gross exaggeration following contact from Jonnie Evans. By the letter of the law there was contact so the second yellow should not have been produced, but in real-time I called a dive and as Sir Alex Ferguson pointed out Torres had a chance to run at goal before he decided to hurl himself in the air like a certain Uruguayan striker. Referees have an extremely difficult job and although the super slow-motion proved there was contact, we should be applauding the fact that Mark Clattenburg was brave enough to dish out a second yellow for the simulation that managers are desperate to eradicate from the game.
Wait goes on for Reading
Many people had Reading v Fulham as the Royals first win of the season, but after a pulsating game, where they lost the lead twice they will be happy with a point. Brian McDermott has seemingly settled on his ‘Premier League’ side after weeks of tinkering and Reading showed great character to force the draw. Reading’s late surge to clinch the Championship last season was based on their impervious defence of Federici, Harte, Pearce, Gorkss and Cummings but the back five against Fulham retained only Gorkss and Cummings. Their starting XI has had to evolve to the extra demands of the Premier League and once the back-line becomes more settled they should pick up their first win of the campaign.
Juventus edge closer to Arsenal record
Juventus moved to 48 games unbeaten in Serie A courtesy of a controversial 1-0 win over Catania and are now just two games away from beating the Arsenal ‘invincibles’, who went 49 games before Wayne Rooney and United halted them. However two highly contentious refereeing decisions clouded, what commentators agued was the Bianconeri’s sternest test to the beating the Arsenal record. Catania had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside after Juventus officials appeared to get involved and the same official failed to notice Nicklas Bendtner was offside in the build-up to the Juventus winner. In a week in which Napoli became the latest club to become embroiled in allegations of match-fixing, the Catania president brandished Sunday’s events as the “death of football”.