Image: Mrs Logic
Are we destined to give away fluke goals to inferior opposition on a weekly basis? Arsenal and Liverpool have already profited. Will, next week, a spectacular Nani dive end in such a fashion that the ball bounces off his back and creeps into the goal when we play Man United?
Liverpool fans will claim they deserved revenge for the Darren Bent shot deflected off a beachball thrown onto the pitch by a (Liverpool) supporter last season. But most of them admit the better team won on that occasion.
Did the better team snatch a draw today, or were Sunderland unlucky not to produce a very rare Anfield victory?
I was unable to see or hear the match – whether via the usually excellent commentary of Gary Bennett and Nick Barnes on BBC Radio N**cas**e, or on one of those dodgy internet streams. Work required me to interview the French band Moussu T e lei Jovents in Marseille, and I relied on SMS messages from the game and occasional glimpses at internet text reports.
So I have only the word of every report I saw up to a few minutes ago that Stuart Attwell should never have given a goal when Michael Turner tried to put the ball back to Mignolet, for the keeper to take a free kick, only for Liverpool to intercept the non-pass and score (whatever lack of sportsmanship may have been involved, Attwell has since been backed by a referees’ body*).
And I only have their word for it that we went on to outplay Liverpool and that Bent’s double deserved to seal a rare Anfield victory for us. And I don’t even say Attwell should be boiled in oil; players make worse mistakes all the time.
Pete Sixsmith was there and naturally sent his Sixer’s Sevens verdict soon after the final whistle. Pete, by the way, loves Moussu T …
When his fuller Soapbox report from the game appears here will be governed by timing (he might even, on reflection, sympathise with Mr Attwell for all I know). I will be on the road from the south of France back to London, setting off Monday, and have a feeling French traffic cops would frown on using the laptop while driving on the autoroute.
Normal-ish service should resume on Wednesday, if another pair of hands hasn’t been able to help out in the meantime.
And we have two one decent Manchester United previews lined up, one a set of responses provided by a pal who was never quite good enough to play for his beloved Red Devils and had to make do with the lesser glory of having trials with Bury.
Oh, and he’s from Manchester more or less, which seems rather novel for a United fan. The other preview is from the admirable Republik of Mancunia site and both will go live in the second half of next week.
Nani hasn’t yet been asked for his thoughts on the game.
* The Professional Game Match Officials body insists the correct decisions were made:
“According to the Laws of the Game, having stopped the game for any infringement the referee is required to ‘indicate the restart of the match’.
In practice, in the majority of cases, referees indicate for the restart by gesturing to players to take the kick. These gestures can be minimal. For the more important ‘ceremonial’ free-kicks, which also involve control of the defensive wall, referees can indicate by using the whistle. However, there is no requirement by Law to use the whistle to make the indication.
The ball is then in play when it is kicked and moves. So, in this case, the ball was in play as soon as it is kicked by a Sunderland player.
Also, the Laws state that the free-kick must be taken from the place where the infringement occurred. Again, in this case, the referee correctly determined that the free-kick was played from the right place.”