Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Size Doesn't Matter on Big Decisions

Old Trafford.

Sunday afternoon.

14 minutes gone.

Wayne Rooney slips a little throughball for Ashley Young to run on to.

Big chance to score.

Big chance to put one hand firmly on the Premier League trophy.

Enter Shaun Derry.

The QPR defender inexplicably hauls down Ashley, giving away a clear penalty and earning a stone wall red card.

Usual complaints ensue from the offending players teammates but all falling on deaf ears.

However, as the match is being televised by hyper detailed coverage of Sky Sports, the viewer is about to be afforded the opportunity to review the situation from the best of 24 different angles.

Just as conclusive as Sky is at having an angle to find unequivocal proof, Ashley was a yard offside.

Another big decision.

Another big mistake.

Another example of the decision going in favour of the ‘big’ club when in opposition against the little one.

Only one day before had Branislav Ivanovic taken advantage of this ‘occurrence’ by slotting home for his big club from an offside position even more overt than that of Ashley’s.

Two weeks ago, Manchester United were 1-0 up against Fulham and with only seconds remaining, Michael Carrick upended Danny Murphy in the box.

Again, at first viewing it appeared Michael won the ball as it had clearly changed direction.

Thanks to Sky though, the viewer was able to see upon closer inspection that the referee had again made a mistake.

A goal for Fulham here and the title race might have swung in Manchester City’s favour.

But again, another big decision goes the way of a big club.

However, what most people seem to forget was that Patrice Evra had a clear penalty in the first half not given.

It wasn’t deemed as big a decision as Manchester United went on to win 1-0.

But it was a decision that went against them and it would have been a big one had Danny Murphy denied the leaders 2 points.

The 75,000 shouting at Michael Oliver couldn’t convince him to give Patrice a penalty.

Likewise, I don’t believe the 75,000 influenced the decision not to penalise Michael Carrick.

Instead I look to the attacking statistics in the game.

Manchester United had 60% possession with 21 attempts on goal compared to Fulham’s 7.

Against QPR they had 72% possession with 28 attempts compared to QPR’s 9.

The more possession a team has and the more chances they create on goal, the more likely they are going to give the referee a big decision to make.

It doesn’t matter what size the club is.

It matters how successful they are.

Because the more successful they are, the more time they spend around the oppositions box.

Liverpool are a perfect example.

One of the biggest clubs in the world yet right now they are going through an extremely poor patch.

Suddenly, all the big decisions seem to be going against them.

If the big clubs are getting all the big decisions then Liverpool Football Club must be the anomaly.

Focus on the referees failure to send Mario Balotelli off against Arsenal and the landscape changes further.

One big club got the decision in their favour that time and another one didn’t.

And as most of the decisions they have to make seem to be when the bigger clubs are attacking - they’ve created this stigma around the leagues best.

It’s not the big clubs that get all the big decisions in their favour - it’s the successful clubs.

The more times you ask the referee to make a decision about a penalty incident, the more times you’ll be awarded one.

It’s the law of averages.

Something all the successful clubs have in common.

None more so than the team at the top of the league...

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