Forget Spearing’s dive for Liverpool: Lyon’s cheat in a different class

James Forrest & Dejan LovrenImage: Ronnie Macdonald (Lovren, right, practises ballet skills in Lyon v Celtic, Emirates Cup)

No complaints about today’s result. Whatever justified grievances we have with the match officials, Liverpool deserved to win and we deserved nowt. And, in the latest from our French Fancies series about football on the other side of the Channel, we identify a much nastier example of the ugly face of football …

In one way Jay Spearing is not a cheat at all. But then nor, in one way, was Gary McAllister. Both were indeed fouled by Sunderland players, so falling over was not an impossible consequence.

Their status as cheats is judged on what happened next. The fouls occurred outside the penalty area and the fouled players proceeded to float though the air (McAllister) or run and plunge (Spearing) to land well inside the box.

Read moreForget Spearing’s dive for Liverpool: Lyon’s cheat in a different class

Sunderland v Aston Villa: the Villa fans predicting Toon gloom

Image: Ben Sutherland

So, we put the same questions Gordon Nicoll answered yesterday to a younger Villa fan, 15-year-old karate star Andy Summers*, whose dad, Colin, couldn’t resist chipping in too. Highlights include fond words for the Ace Diver Gary McAllister (sorry lads, but he was with Liverpool anyway then), transfer bids for Bent and Cattermole and two more Villa votes for Toon Doon …

Salut! Sunderland: How could you go to St James’ Park and lose 6-0 and how do we avoid it when we go there a week on Sunday?

Unfortunately we played the Magpies too soon. First home game back in the Premiership they were obviously high on adrenaline and still had some momentum from their promotion. We think
it’ s best to play newly promoted sides a little more into the season
when they have had a few chunks knocked out of them and begin
to feel the pace a little bit. Having said that, Villa pressed the self
destruct button after missing a penalty. They lost their shape and
in some areas commitment was sadly lacking. Only one result after
that. For the Black Cats to avoid a similar result it shouldn’ t be too
difficult. North-east rivalry will have all players “ pumped up” and
this usually ends up with sides cancelling out each other. Steve
Bruce is a canny manager and we are sure he has firm ideas on
how to suppress Newcastle’ s flair players and exploit their lack of
pace at the back.

Read moreSunderland v Aston Villa: the Villa fans predicting Toon gloom

A Christmas football wishlist. 1 (A-I): Thierry Henry in Gaelic, Darlo in the playoffs

tree

Is Santa listening? Probably not, but Salut! Sunderland thought it would produce its own list of the presents it wants, the things it wants to happen not just for Christmas but for the coming year. Let’s see how many are granted. This is the first of three instalments. Come up with a better suggestion or two and you might win a prize …

A is for Arsène. The elegantly whingeing Alsacian – (“is that why they’re called Arsenal?” asked the daughter who knows nothing about football) – announces a new deal with Optical Express, suddenly sees things more clearly, apologises for his players’ occasional diving and heaps praise on teams that beat or draw against Arsenal as well as those that lose.

B is for Bruce: Steve wins three manager-of-the-month awards in succession and we’re not only safe but sixth.

Read moreA Christmas football wishlist. 1 (A-I): Thierry Henry in Gaelic, Darlo in the playoffs

Liverpool’s great escape – eight years before the Ngog takeoff

ngog


Forget Ngog (pictured courtesy of Christoper_tng) who tells me he’s a Liverpool fan), forget the beach ball that saved us from having to score one of the four sitters that followed. When it comes to Liverpool and luck – good or bad, depending on your allegiance – we’ve seen crazier things …

Poor Peter Walton seems to have paid a swift, harsh price for his calamitous award of a penalty for Liverpool when David Ngog launched into the sort of takeoff that has one football site asking this morning which Olympic sport France might consider entering him for.

According to the Daily Mirror, he will be relegated to the Football League or at best fourth official duties (if, indeed, that is seen as a punishment) when real football resumes after the international break.

It’s the sort of rough justice that comes after the most serious of refereeing blunders these days. But Peter should take heart (and feel aggrieved): Salut! Sunderland can assure him that it’s happened before (and that the culprit on that occasion escaped any sort of sanction that we know of).

Read moreLiverpool’s great escape – eight years before the Ngog takeoff