The new handball rule is outrageous and ruining football

The new handball rule has been affecting Premier League games of late as no one seems to know what is going on.

Goals have been disallowed and penalties have been given, too many it seems. There has been 5 already given adjudged for a player to have handled the ball, and we are in the first month of the league. Last season there was 19 the whole season. The rules have without a doubt changed what is happening on the pitch- but for the wrong reasons.

There were plenty of controversial moments just this weekend. The game that sticks out is Tottenham v Newcastle. The home side were pretty much dominant for the whole game, creating plenty of chances, although deep into injury time the score was only 1-0. That was until Andy Carroll headed the ball towards Eric Dier’s arm, Dier was looking away at the time, and whilst Newcastle appealed for a penalty, the referee waved it in. For him it wasn’t a penalty, and he had made what looked like to be the correct decision.

Yet a few minutes later, the game was recalled back because VAR had got involved. Once the referee went to the on screen monitor and checked again, he changed his mind. The question is did he change his mind because he was told rules are rules or did he change his mind because he genuinely thought he had got ti wrong? Newcastle got the penalty and scored- it was their first shot on target the whole game. They had been poor and deserved nothing from the game but because of the new rule which states even if a player handballs by mistake off of another attacker a penalty should be awarded.

There were other incidents too. Everton won the game at Crystal Palace due to the same incident at Tottenham. Yes there was handball but it was very clear that it wasn’t intentional. And then why was nothing said when Kai Havertz handled the ball in Chelsea’s run up goal which gave them a 3-3 draw at West Bromwich Albion?

It makes very little sense, if on one hand the rules stay and there not good for the game, then at least make them consistent. But that has always been the problem, and whilst the rules are mostly to blame so is VAR. Had VAR not got involved in the Tottenham game and respected the referee’s decision Tottenham would have won the game. And there are plenty of sides to the argument. For example if Tottenham were 2-0 up and the penalty was given, would this even be a story?

The IFAB who approve the rules need to take a long hard look at themselves. They and VAR should never be the star of the show, just like before VAR, the referee should be respected but never seen, it’s an art. Since when did we suddenly forget the job the referee does?

If this continues it seems clear that the referee’s job will be obsolete soon. No officials are complaining as of yet but as time goes on who wants to keep being overruled in the biggest decisions?

Last night there was a panic meeting where a back tracking IFAB admitted that referees and VAR could use leeway in how they judge their decisions for penalties from now on. Wrong decision, the new rule should have been abolished there and then, watch this space because the recent meeting will change nothing, in fact it will bring even more controversy.

One final harrowing thought is on cheating. We know that even the best professional players in the heat of the moment can cheat, mostly to wind up a player to get them sent off or dive for a penalty, we don’t like talking about it, but it does happen.

How long will it be until skilled players going for a header, choose to head towards a defender’s hand and not the goal, knowing that they can get a penalty from a useless situation? It is worth thinking about.

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The FA would be wrong to punish Tottenham’s Eric Dier

Eric Dier made more headlines off the pitch then on it as Tottenham crashed out of the FA Cup in midweek against Norwich, who are currently bottom of the Premier League table.

As the players were leaving the pitch with his side Tottenham having just lost on penalties to the Canaries Dier could be seen to jump into the crowd in amazing scenes. What transpired was that he was reacting to something that was said to his brother who was in attendance. As a fan had shouted abuse, Dier found his tipping point, blood boiling and entered the stands to confront the fan. As cowards go, this fan was top of the list and seeing Dier coming towards him he ran off. Not in a million years did he actually think Dier would jump the advertising boards to confront him, but he did.

Inevitably the FA have got involved and Dier could be looking at a ban, but the FA need not show their power in this incident. When matters of racism arise in England the FA are always quick on the mark and show a zero tolerance attitude and they need to be applauded for that, other leagues can learn from the FA’s attitude on this. But it does seem that the FA love to show their power to other matters.

Take the Everton game when Carlo Ancelotti was sent off for swearing at the referee after seeing a last minute Everton winner ruled out against Manchester United. Whilst the FA rescinded the red card, they still fined Ancelotti £8,000. Pocket money to him, but why the fine for a swear word?

What Dier did was nicely summed up by his manager Jose Mourinho who said it was not professional but he could understand the circumstances as it was an attack on his family member.

Some have tried to compare the incident to Eric Cantona’s infamous kick on a fan in 1995, and that is so wide of the mark. There was no violence in this confrontation, although the fan ran away so we will never know. What Dier did wasn’t correct but there is two sides to the story. No abusive fan bullying his brother and no incident. That is as clear as day and one would hope that the FA would consider this.

The ideal scenario would be to see the fan banned from the ground, if not for life at least for the next couple of years. The season is almost over, so a season ban makes no sense. They should talk to Dier and that should be it, no ban and no fine. But make it clear that they won’t tolerate that behaviour again. For example why didn’t Dier motion to the stewards to act on the incident before he had too?

So Dier was silly to react but he was also protective. Maybe the people who decide his fate need to think what they would do in that situation before handing down judgement.

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EPL Best XI – Aubameyang and Lacazette lead the way

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Unbeaten Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool are only separated by goal difference at the top of the Premier League table after Week 8 of the 2018-19 season. Let’s take a look at which players made our Best XI of the weekend…

GK: Hugo Lloris, Tottenham – seven points
Hugo Lloris started his first Premier League game since August as Tottenham narrowly defeated Cardiff 1-0 on Saturday. The Frenchman earned seven points in the match — no other goalkeeper picked up more over the weekend.

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EPL Player to watch – Harry Kane (Tottenham)

kane8The Premier League ends a seemingly endless summer of waiting this weekend when it returns to action, and with football up and down the country fans are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of another nine months or so of constant matches, stories and controversies. OK, so there has been a World Cup since last season concluded back in May – and what a time to be an England fan – but one of the Three Lions’ key players will set out to end one of the most bizarre existing curses in the English top-flight. Despite scoring a whopping 52 goals in 59 games for club and country last season – a truly exhausting campaign with little respite – Harry Kane will be desperate to find the net against Newcastle in Spurs’ opener.

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Oliver Skipp to break into Tottenham first team this season?

skippFollowing on from Harry Kane‘s success at this summer’s World Cup, while namesake Harry Winks continues to impress domestically there have been rumblings that English football could be ready for the next big breakthrough to emerge from Tottenham’s youth academy. The identity of that player could well be none other than Oliver Skipp, a 17-year-old Hertfordshire-born talent who is thought of very highly in the corridors at Wembley. Skipp has been starring for Tottenham’s U23 side over the last year, and has represented England at U16, U17 and U18 levels. With no first team experience to his name just yet it still seems a gamble to claim he will be a breakout star this season, but Tottenham’s success (or lack thereof) so far in this summer’s transfer market bode well for him.

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Maradona apologises over England “robbery” rant


Legendary Argentina striker Diego Maradona has apologised for claiming that England committed “monumental robbery” in their World Cup last-16 tie with Colombia on Tuesday evening. The former Napoli star was incensed that American referee Mark Geiger had apparently shown a bias towards England, punishing Colombia more often than the Three Lions. Speaking on a nightly World Cup show on Venezuela-based Telesur, Maradona had said: “Here’s a gentleman who decides, a referee who, if you Google him, shouldn’t be given a match of this magnitude… Geiger, an American, what a coincidence.”

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Gareth Southgate’s big call – Eric Dier or Jordan Henderson?

Generally speaking, Gareth Southgate made good use of the two friendly fixtures he scheduled in the build-up to this summer’s World Cup. England took on Nigeria at Wembley before travelling north to host Costa Rica at Elland Road last week, with the Three Lions registering wins in both matches.

The England manager tested out options in goals, with also giving both Danny Rose and Ashley Young an opportunity to stake a claim at left wing back. Southgate will pick between the two for the opening World Cup group game against Tunisia on June 18, with many now of the opinion that Rose has the edge.

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At the back, Southgate has also experimented over the past few weeks and months, but there is a consensus that the back three will consist of Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker. Walker might be a natural right back, but this way Southgate can fit both the Manchester City defender and Kieran Trippier into the same side.

In attack, Harry Kane will lead the line, with Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling all useful options as supporting attackers. It’s not yet known who will start against Tunisia, but all four will surely be utilised throughout the tournament. There may be some rotation.

It’s in central midfield where Southgate is left with his one, last dilemma – Eric Dier or Jordan Henderson. The England manager has made clear that only one of the two will play from the start, pitting the Spurs and Liverpool midfielders directly against each other. The dynamic would have been even more interesting had Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stayed fit to make the flight to Russia.

Henderson has been handed the vice-captaincy for the World Cup this summer, which ordinarily would suggest that he will be given the nod by Southgate. But recent reports claim Dier will in fact be favoured. It’s easy to see why Southgate might prefer to play the Spurs man over Henderson.

England boast a lightning fast attack. They might be one of the quickest teams at this summer’s World Cup and Southgate looks ready to make the most of that quality, if the friendlies against Nigeria and Costa Rica are anything to go by. This approach means Dier would be the better option at the base of the midfield.

Dier is the more defensively adept of the pair, as demonstrated by the fact that he can fill in at centre back. While Henderson is more of a natural number eight, Dier is a number six. He will provide balance to this England team, holding things together while more attacking talents, like Alli, Lingard and Sterling, bomb on into the final third.

Henderson’s game has developed significantly over the past season. As shown by Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final, he is capable of competing at the top of the game. But Dier might be a more natural fit to start in the centre for this England team. This call could come to define England’s World Cup.

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Game of the Week – Newport County 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur


With a distinct lack of Premier League football this past weekend thanks to the fourth round of the FA Cup taking place, it is only natural to look at that competition to fill in as this week’s “Game of the Week”.

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VIDEO: Sanchez speculation amid ‘the worst’ Arsenal team

The Premier LeagueLa Liga and Serie A are all back up and running this weekend so to talk you through some of the news and fixtures from across the three leagues, Nicholas Carroll provides this week’s Euro Fantasy League preview.

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EPL Weekend Picks – Week 23


With the return of the English Premier League after a brief hiatus for FA Cup action, it’s now time to look ahead to this weekend’s fixtures and find 11 players worth keeping an eye on. Continue reading