Give it a go Emma.

Published: Monday, 16 May 2022

So we’re in the final week and we still don’t know where the title is going - nor who’s going down with Norwich (good) and Watford (good).

West Ham were terrific against City - posing a whole set of problems that Guardiola’s team don’t like. They didn’t stand off. They weren’t scared. They competed from the first whistle - got in their faces and put the ball exactly where City didn’t want to see it - over the top of their high line and into danger areas. Brilliant. It’s not rocket science. It’s really simple, but you’ve got to have the courage to do it. West Ham were roared on by that fantastic crowd, in an arena it looks as though they come to enjoy. Well done Moysey. There’s life in the dinosaurs yet!

What a job Moyes has done at West Ham. How the Hammers must now regret the ‘Pellegrini years’. There must be a reason Moyes was fired to make way for Pellegrini - who went on to spend all that money. I can’t for a minute think what it might have been.  

Still - they had the courage to invite Moyes back when the money had all gone (somewhere) and they were still on their arses. Moyes has reminded everybody what a good coach he is. His buying has been fantastic. Bowen was a steal. And I’ve said all of this before so I’m not some kind of Johnny come lately.  As for the stadium - winning is the biggest reason their fans are comfortable in it. Winning solves an awful lot of problems.

But fair play to City, who were a different proposition second-half. For players like the majestic de Bruyne I hope they go on and win the title. It would be a travesty if they ended the season with nothing. Liverpool have still got a CL final to win!

Just one thing - what didn’t Antony a Taylor see when Dawson brought Jesus down? Jesus - he was looking at it - but it was left to VAR to make the call.

Because he’s from Greater Manchester was he thinking ‘I can’t give this’. Maybe. Probably not. But it was another appointment by the PGMOL that had huge risk attached. I don’t know why they do it. Well - I do. We all do. Because arrogance emanates from the top in that organisation.

What didn’t Michael Oliver see when Richarlison almost had his shirt ripped off his back before Brentford broke and Branthwaite ended up getting himself sent off? That was a pen. Lampard was right. But it wasn’t given because VAR didn’t believe it was. How long am I going to have to make this point before someone else joins in and we can change the protocol? VAR now referees games - not the match official. Why wasn’t Oliver invited to have a look himself and make up his own mind? Again - I’ll tell you why - because VAR plainly thought he hadn’t made a ‘clear and obvious’ error. It’s the wrong way round. VAR should be assisting - and letting the ref make the final decision, but it isn’t. It’s making all the big calls. It’s wrong.

The pen at Spurs is another example. I’m sorry - that’s not a pen. As Mike Jackson rightly pointed out - you can’t take an incident like that in isolation. Football will never be ‘black and white’. There are grey areas. There always will be grey areas - despite the insistence of some that technology can change that. No it can’t. It never will. Have we stopped arguing about decisions since VAR was adopted? No. We spend more time discussing decisions these days.

Barnes was nudged before he re-balanced and his arm came out as a result. Kevin Friend was looking at it. Like Taylor at West Ham - his view was clean. He must’ve taken penalty box buffeting into account - but was told by VAR to give it. Yes - in isolation the ball brushes Barnes’ arm - but decisions should never be made from freeze frames. Friend was obviously happy with his decision. He could ‘feel’ the game - but he was then told to alter it. I repeat what I’ve said all season - we have a right to hear this conversations at the monitors.

That call at Spurs was cruel on Burnley - who deserved better. Livelihoods are at stake when these decisions are made.

Oh. Anyone at Old Trafford yet realised that they dropped an almighty bollock by not appointing Conte?

Back to Goodison,  where my guess is Michael Oliver felt he owed Everton a pen when he pointed to the spot on half time. That was never a pen. Richarlison conned him going to the ground screaming. Oliver couldn’t have seen the offence - so he guessed. If he’d been invited to look at the view we all had - from behind the goal - he’d have changed his mind. But he wasn’t asked to check his decision. Surely that’s what the technology is for - to assist?

I really enjoyed the Cup Final - largely because VAR was like Victorian children - seen but not heard. We didn’t have an intervention and the game was better for it. Well done Liverpool - that’s two Cup final wins now - without scoring a goal. 🤷‍♂️😂

Whatever happens at Leeds is not Jesse Marsh’s fault. If Bielsa had been left in charge Leeds would’ve been relegated weeks ago. Bielsa left a team brutalised by his regime - absolutely shot - running on empty.

Marsh has done brilliantly to have Leeds in with a chance of survival. I’d save all three clubs if I had my way. It’s going to be tough losing one this week.

I get the frustration at Watford - but don’t blame Roy Hodgson. Blame the owner. Good luck to Rob Edwards - whose appointment should’ve been handled a lot better.

Jamie Vardy again underlined what Leicester have been missing. He had a much better day than his wife has had in the High Court since the Wagatha Christie trial started. What on earth is that all about? Who on earth has been advising Mrs Vardy? She mis-understood one of my tweets once and couldn’t resist having a pop. Whoever wins - my guess is she’ll be a lot quieter on social media going forward.

And congrats to Emma Hayes and her Chelsea team, who completed a domestic double Sunday. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Hayes. I’d like to think that she’ll be tempted to turn trail-blazer and take a job in the men’s game next. She should. What else can she achieve where she is? Give it a go Emma.