Actual (Association) Football Talk.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby charliepanayi » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:04 pm UTC

You can be a 'better team' and lose a game, it does happen in football. Obviously that makes it worse when you are the better team and do lose!
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Garm » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:05 pm UTC

Dream wrote:It's a team sport. the team can play excellently as a unit and still fail at a very specific task, like finishing. Another team can play extremely poorly and by total chance score a goal or two that were not of their own making. One plays better an loses, one plays worse and wins. It's a perfectly normal situation in any team sport, and not something that's really controversial.


Which is an explanation of how the Marlin's won the world series in 1997 and most other upsets, really. The end result is what matters but it is possible that a team can be outplayed and still win (not saying this happened today, couldn't watch the game). I believe the phrase I've heard during EPL matches to describe this is "against the run of play."
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Amie » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:07 pm UTC

How exactly are they the better team?
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Dream » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:08 pm UTC

Amie wrote:Um, they did get choked when their shots were on target. That's what I meant. Every time.

You thought Sanchez choked? Rubbish, he held his nerve perfectly and lobbed the ball without panicking. Just because he put too much on it (by about three inches) doesn't mean he choked. You might say Fabregas chocked, but that would be stretching the definition of choking to include situations where the ball falls suddenly on your bad foot and you hack at it. His judgement was poor, he should have controlled and finished at lesiure, but that's not choking.

How exactly are they the better team?

Because much as you might like to think otherwise, scorelines don't always reflect situations on the pitch. If you take Arsenal's recent losses to relegation battling sides, QPR were poor, played negative football that was more about preventing a loss than controlling the game and defining a winning strategy. Wigan were much, much better. Yet both teams basically scraped a win, against a side they spent most of their time containing rather than dominating. Did Wigan deserve more for playing better? No. They deserved only what was one the score sheet at the end. Better and worse dont' come in to it when you win. And they don't some into it when you lose either.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Amie » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:16 pm UTC

They were destroyed!! Barca played well but it wasn't enough and it wasn't good enough. Anyone who has been watching Chelsea this season will tell you just how much their defense was up today. It was amazing even without Luiz in there.

Also, I am asking why you call them the better team. What makes you say that? Scoreline doesn't indicate it, apparently, so what does? Pray tell.

Also, it's almost 3:00 AM and if I am not sufficiently coherent, I'm sorry about that... going to bed.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Dream » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:25 pm UTC

Every statistic besides the score favoured Barcelona. Including attempts and shots on target. Some, like possession and passes and pass accuracy, were MASSIVELY in Barcelona's favour. By any metric you want to measure the team performances, Barcelona played the better football. Again, if you think that means that they score more goals, you're pretty naive about team sports.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:48 pm UTC

Let's talk about baseball. In 2003, as much as it pains me to say it, the Detroit Tigers won 43 games and lost 119, narrowly avoiding the modern-era record for losses in a season and finishing with an impressive .265 win ratio. Also that year, as much as it pains me to say it, the New York Yankees won 101 games and lost 61 before winning the American League pennant.

The Tigers played the Yankees six times that season. Five times, they lost. However, on May 31, the Tigers beat the Yankees 2-4.

So were the Tigers temporarily a better team than the Yankees on the afternoon of May 31? or did they just get a bit of luck?
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Negated » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:54 pm UTC

"Better" is a very subjective term though. The statistics you mention only deal with the part of the game when the team has the ball. It says nothing about how a team defend without the ball, as Chelsea did for much of the game. Possession and number of passes and pass accuracy are deceptive, as they don't tell you where the passes happen. One can say Barca were playing a patient passing game, while one can also argue that Barca lacked a more direct approach. Both arguments are based on the same statistics and neither is more valid than the other.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby jakovasaur » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:02 pm UTC

Sounds like soccer needs some better statistics.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Dream » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:11 pm UTC

Negated wrote:One can say Barca were playing a patient passing game, while one can also argue that Barca lacked a more direct approach. Both arguments are based on the same statistics and neither is more valid than the other.

Other stats, like the domination in attempts say that Barcelona were doing all the attacking, and Chelsea were only feeding off scraps on the break. And if you look at some of the nigh-supernatural long balls to the Barcelona wings in the attack, they certainly didn't lack for directness. Sure, if it's a few stats, there is great room for interpretation. If it is ALL the stats, there is much less.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Negated » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:24 pm UTC

Last time I checked, directness means taking the ball forward to dangerous position in a few touches. Barca typically takes like 30 touches just to get the ball near the penalty area. A cross-field ball to the wing has absolutely nothing to do with how direct a team is. Barca is certainly not a team that plays direct football - they don't even have a target striker in the box. Their style of football works 7 times out of 10 and Messi would make up another 2 times when it doesn't. But there are occasions that I think they should have a real striker in the box, a plan B.

If you take all the stats, Chelsea would be winning all the defensive stats like number of interceptions, tackles, blocks, and aerial duels won. Chelsea were defensively outstanding. Barca had most of the possession and chances. People just seem to ignore the defensive work when they compare two teams.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby sdkelso » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:32 pm UTC

Dream wrote:It's always very frustrating to watch a team drag down a better one. Some of Chelsea were really great, Drogba when he was on his feet, Cahill especially. But it was 11 men behind the ball and hope desperately that Barca's efforts didn't go in. Chelsea don't deserve to win a match if their strategy is to let Barcelona come at them for 90 minutes and keep their fingers crossed that the inevitable chances are fluffed. The score could have been 8-1 to Barcelona, but could only have been 2-0 to Chelsea. It's sad to see a match go that way.


What??? Barcelona were completely inefficacious. Sterile. We had them in our pocket. Yes they played their 'watching-paint-dry' possession style, but they couldn't do anything with it. They had two real chances (I really don't understand where you get eight from; I think you're counting many of those chances that would not have happened if the first had gone in). The commentators kept their jetstream of bullshit going with all of their 'ooh now Messi has the ball' talk, but he never actually did anything. Not impressed with Barcelona at all--extremely overrated team.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Dream » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:33 pm UTC

Negated wrote:A cross-field ball to the wing has absolutely nothing to do with how direct a team is

Times when Barcelona did that were times when they moved the ball 60 or 70 yards forwards in only a handful of touches, and finished their move in the opposition penalty area. Direct doesn't mean a straight line, it means an efficient attacking pattern that converges on the opposition goal. Dropping the ball on Dani Alves' toes from half the pitch away, in the corner ready to cross the ball, is very, very direct.

Yes, they do place a great priority on maintaining possession, but that doesn't mean they can be very decisive when it looks on. They can and were.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Negated » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:38 pm UTC

sdkelso wrote:
Dream wrote:It's always very frustrating to watch a team drag down a better one. Some of Chelsea were really great, Drogba when he was on his feet, Cahill especially. But it was 11 men behind the ball and hope desperately that Barca's efforts didn't go in. Chelsea don't deserve to win a match if their strategy is to let Barcelona come at them for 90 minutes and keep their fingers crossed that the inevitable chances are fluffed. The score could have been 8-1 to Barcelona, but could only have been 2-0 to Chelsea. It's sad to see a match go that way.


What??? Barcelona were completely inefficacious. Sterile. We had them in our pocket. Yes they played their 'watching-paint-dry' possession style, but they couldn't do anything with it. They had two real chances (I really don't understand where you get eight from; I think you're counting many of those chances that would not have happened if the first had gone in). The commentators kept their jetstream of bullshit going with all of their 'ooh now Messi has the ball' talk, but he never actually did anything. Not impressed with Barcelona at all--extremely overrated team.

I think hitting the post twice and missing a few one-on-ones and missing an open net would count as more than just two real chances. 6 to 8 sound about right. Though to say the score could have been 8-1 is lolwut.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Dream » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:41 pm UTC

Negated wrote:Though to say the score could have been 8-1 is lolwut.

I'm basing that solely on chances to score, not likelihood of it actually happening. Chelsea fired on target twice in the match, Barcelona 8ish times. Cech made a few great saves, and Barca players made a few shocking misses. The same can't be said at the other end, and again, that's just a fact, nothing to do with how well anybody played.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Amie » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:25 am UTC

They play the passing game. That's been their style of play since forever. We don't. All stats will obviously tip in their favour - especially possession. That doesn't make them the better team. They attacked, yes, and we didn't lie low either. We had no illusions of grandeur about how this game was supposed to be. That's why our defense was great. That shot where the ball bounced off the top bar would not have been in even if it was on target. Cech was there right below that ball and he'd have got it covered. You're saying that because how we play is different from how they play, they're the better team. I'm disagreeing with you because we knew what we were doing. We knew what would happen if we conceded. We knew what would happen if we didn't score when we had the chance. We played with tact. We knew ball possession is how they dominate and we weren't intimidated. You and people in Holland can call their game "art" but it's like RDM said: We play football.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby charliepanayi » Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:06 am UTC

Barcelona are 'extremely overrated' now? The arrogance of some of you Chelsea fans on here is hilarious. Be happy with the result but all means and Chelsea may well go through now (especially with the lack of an away goal), but the tie is only half done.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Amie » Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:10 am UTC

Arrogance of some of the Chelsea fans? You haven't been arrogant at all on here, then? Pot calling the kettle black and all that.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby charliepanayi » Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:24 am UTC

Where has my arrogance been? I said I hoped Barcelona stuff Chelsea, not that they 100% definitely would do so. I certainly haven't made ridiculous statements that a side who has won three European Cups in the last six years is 'extremely overrated' based on one game.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Dream » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:45 am UTC

Amie wrote:We played with tact.

Drogba's repeated, ridiculous faking of injuries was tactful now?
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Amie » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:02 pm UTC

CP: You repeatedly telling a rival club's fan what they should and shouldn't say and how they're being "arrogant" for pointing out obvious flaws in a game? That.

Dream: Oh please. You speak as though Mascherano did nothing disgraceful. Him pushing Drogba, tugging his shirt and very blatantly making him fall and THEN claiming he was diving? Was that not disgraceful? I don't hear anyone talk about that. At least Drogba scored.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Dream » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:44 pm UTC

Amie wrote:I don't hear anyone talk about that.

Because it has nothing to do with anything. Drogba faked injuries regularly to slow the game down and let Chelsea rest after chasing the ball. He was even carded for it eventually. No one on the Barcelona team did anything like it. And you compare that to shirt pulling? It's quite sad if that's the best you can come up with for Barca gamesmanship, but you still think they were worse than Chelsea about it.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:48 pm UTC

Dream wrote:By any metric you want to measure the team performances, Barcelona played the better football.

How about keeping the ball out of your own goal? The number of shots doesn't tell us who the better side is. The number of goals tells us the quality of the shots and the quality of the goalkeeping.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Negated » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:03 pm UTC

Dream wrote:Because it has nothing to do with anything. Drogba faked injuries regularly to slow the game down and let Chelsea rest after chasing the ball. He was even carded for it eventually. No one on the Barcelona team did anything like it. And you compare that to shirt pulling? It's quite sad if that's the best you can come up with for Barca gamesmanship, but you still think they were worse than Chelsea about it.

Barca has a number of players well-known for playacting. None of them were overdoing it like Drogba in that particular game. But they do it in other games from time to time. Don't get me started on Sergio Busquets.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Dream » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:18 pm UTC

Negated wrote:Barca has a number of players well-known for playacting. None of them were overdoing it like Drogba in that particular game. But they do it in other games from time to time.
I'm not defending all Barcelona players all the time, nor claiming Chelsea are always up to what Drogba was this time out. I'm contesting Amie's assertion that there was something objectively good about Chelsea "playing football" and Barcelona being less good for playing a "passing game". Well, there was nothing good about Drogba rolling on the ground holding his crotch just so the John Terrys and Frank Lampards might have some gas in the tank to handle runs from Alves or Messi. And it's not "playing football".
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:04 pm UTC

That's not what she said at all. You said that Barca was the better side because they had longer possession and more shots. Which might make them the better offense, but considering that Chelsea shut them out for 64 minutes while Barca couldn't keep a clean sheet for 16 proves that defensively, Chelsea performed better.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Rodion Raskolnikov » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:10 am UTC

Dream wrote:Because it has nothing to do with anything. Drogba faked injuries regularly to slow the game down and let Chelsea rest after chasing the ball. He was even carded for it eventually. No one on the Barcelona team did anything like it. And you compare that to shirt pulling? It's quite sad if that's the best you can come up with for Barca gamesmanship, but you still think they were worse than Chelsea about it.


Why is one type of cheating (diving) any worse than the other (shirt pulling)? Both of them are sneaky attempts to break the rules for your side's advantage.

I didn't watch the game so this is more a general comment than one related to Chelsea or Barcelona.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby lutzj » Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:25 am UTC

Rodion Raskolnikov wrote:Why is one type of cheating (diving) any worse than the other (shirt pulling)? Both of them are sneaky attempts to break the rules for your side's advantage.


Diving is a deliberate attempt to deceive the officials and perverts the rules of the game, while shirt-pulling is just a run-of-the-mill foul one might commit instinctively or accidentally. It's like the difference between swearing in church and loudly, falsely accusing somebody else of swearing in church.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Amie » Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:44 am UTC

Yeah except it wasn't "just" shirt pulling. He necked him, pulled his shirt and THEN CLAIMED THAT DROGBA DIVED. That's disgraceful. It wasn't accidental at all. Also, I never said they weren't good. I am saying we were better because we understood how to play that game, given our situation and did well. You basing the betterness of the entire game off of one person's performance in our team and saying Barca had more possession and shots on target but that doesn't make them better. Obviously they will have more possession because that's what they're known for and that's the style of their play! Nobody is contesting that they are the current best team in the world. Which is why we needed to defend more and take the chance(s) that we create even if it be the only one. That's what we did. That's why we were better.

You know nothing we did in the last game was as bad as Alves playacting and sending Pepe off with a red card last year. If by your own contention that isn't playing football then please don't say Barca do.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby lutzj » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:23 am UTC

Amie wrote:Yeah except it wasn't "just" shirt pulling. He necked him, pulled his shirt and THEN CLAIMED THAT DROGBA DIVED.


And that's (if true) yet another level of disgraceful. My point that certain fouls can be nastier than others still stands.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Amie » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:19 am UTC

Yes certain fouls can be nastier. Like the one Dani Alves made last year. Also, it is true. Don't know if you watched the game but that actually happened.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Rodion Raskolnikov » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:56 am UTC

lutzj wrote:Diving is a deliberate attempt to deceive the officials and perverts the rules of the game, while shirt-pulling is just a run-of-the-mill foul one might commit instinctively or accidentally. It's like the difference between swearing in church and loudly, falsely accusing somebody else of swearing in church.


I completely disagree. Both of them are deliberate attempts to deceive the officials and pervert the rules of the game, and both are pretty run-of-the-mill fouls. To try and dismiss one instinctive or accidental is pretty laughable.

Defenders get away with shirt pulling, holding, kicking, pushing all the time and often even get complimented for it. How often have you heard someone say "that was a good free kick to give away"? But when forwards try to balance that with throwing themselves to the ground they become embarrassing cheats. I admit it can be pretty embarrassing, but so can watching a defender pull a winger to the ground because he was too skillful for him.

I also think referees are a big cause of players going to the ground too easily. Very often if a player if fouled but stays on his feet the ref will not blow for a foul, even in the penalty box. So if you are a forward and you are fouled, why would you stay on your feet? They only way the opposition player will be punished for fouling you is if you throw yourself to the floor.

I'd love to see diving gone from the game, but there's other, more serious forms of cheating I want rid of first.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Dream » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:34 am UTC

Rodion Raskolnikov wrote:I completely disagree. Both of them are deliberate attempts to deceive the officials and pervert the rules of the game, and both are pretty run-of-the-mill fouls. To try and dismiss one instinctive or accidental is pretty laughable.

There are two kinds of diving. One, that FIFA hilariously refers to as "simulation" is when a player feels a contact that constitutes a foul under the laws, but that doesn't impede his play. He then does an olympic high dive impression and rolls on the floor in"agony", hoping that the ref will give the benefit of the doubt. The perfect example was Ashley Young feeling the brush of fingers on his back and collapsing like he'd been kicked in the head.

The other, which was what Drogba did repeatedly, is to simply fabricate the entire situation and pretend something happened that plainly didn't. Sometimes players are looking for a free kick, but that's dangerous because you can be carded if you're spotted doing it. Other times, they're trying to stop the game because there's an attack on, or because (Drogba again) they feel their players need a breather, and a feigned injury is a good way to get it.

The first is, as you say, run of the mill. Sometimes, like Young, it's despicable. But other times, a player really has been fouled and it's more about making the most of that, or even making sure it gets seen and gets the sanction it merits. Run of the mill. What Drogba was doing was not that. It was a strategy deployed throughout the game to give his team an overall advantage, because they knew their fitness wasn't up to their opponents, and they would be made to run farther and harder. That's a very, very long way from an individual shirt pull. In fact, you can't even see one standing on the other with a telescope. Five minutes or so of Barca not pressing is an eternity to a professional footballer, who probably has a recovery time measured in seconds. With key player aging, that is a critical issue for Chelsea.

Rodion Raskolnikov wrote:there's other, more serious forms of cheating I want rid of first.

Me too. And Drogba's blatant piss taking was one of them.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Rodion Raskolnikov » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:33 pm UTC

See, all you've done there is describe two different types of diving. You've not explained why the second type is so heinous to you. How is what Drogba did any different to someone taking their time to come off the pitch when they are being substituted? Or taking the ball into the corner and shielding it to waste time? (Which in itself isn't against the rules, but most of the time I see it happening the player is quite clearly obstructing defenders from getting to the ball without playing the ball, which is very much against the rules.)

I'd much prefer to see cheating which endangers other players being stamped out first. The kind of challenges that end a player's season or career. For some reason the two-footed challenge seems to have crept back into the game in the last few years, and there is no need for it.

Another thing that's a bigger problem than diving in my eyes in the constant shouting and swearing at referees, as well as players constantly claiming for everything, even if they know its not their throw in/corner/goal kick/free kick. Its cheating by intimidation and bullying, and its making the referee's job nigh on impossible.

I don't know if you saw the recent Scottish Cup semi final between Celtic and Hearts. As soon as the final whistle went, Neil Lennon (Celtic manager) raced onto the pitch to start screaming and balling in the referee's face because he had given a penalty to Hearts in the last minute (despite the fact the ref allowed an offside Celtic goal to stand in the 87th minute). That was pathetic and embarrassing, and that's the kind of shit we should be focusing on eradicating before we move onto more innocuous crimes like diving.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Dream » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:51 pm UTC

Rodion Raskolnikov wrote: You've not explained why the second type is so heinous to you.
Dream wrote:It was a strategy deployed throughout the game to give his team an overall advantage

That's why. One is an individual instance of poor play, whether malicious or just "necessary" to get the ref's attention. The other is an overall strategy that is premeditated to give an advantage. The latter is much worse in my opinion.

I did see Lennon being a prick, albeit on the news, and I was as disgusted as you are. I'm also concerned about tackling and players claiming everything is actually one of my big pet hates in the game. But because of how Drogba was behaving, his actions were directly relevant to the match at issue, and two footers, and ref shouting etc. weren't.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Rodion Raskolnikov » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:34 pm UTC

Fair enough. Like I said, I didn't see the Chelsea/Barca game, I was talking in more general terms. And I can easily believe your version of events, I've seen Drogba doing that kind of thing before.

I was just saying I don't understand why diving is so often focused on as being the ultimate in cheating and a scourge of the game, while other forms of cheating are either accepted, ignored, or even praised.

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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Dream » Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:24 pm UTC

I think it's more penalties and "big decisions for big teams" which diving is a large part of. Ashley Young again. There was a much heavier contact on a Barcelona player in that match, and he went down because he had to. Not given, and rightly so, it would have been a very poor penalty decision. But Ashley Young gets a penalty, in many opinions, because of the shirt he was wearing. That's quite a big deal for the game in general. But I don't think it really overshadows other issues, it's just that it reflects very badly on the sport, making it look like a cheating, wimpy joke. Heavy tackles don't so that, no matter how much right thinking fans deride them.
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Garm » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:34 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Dream wrote:By any metric you want to measure the team performances, Barcelona played the better football.

How about keeping the ball out of your own goal? The number of shots doesn't tell us who the better side is. The number of goals tells us the quality of the shots and the quality of the goalkeeping.


Having now watched highlights I agree fully with Dream. A total of 6 inches of difference (about 3 inches lower and 3 inches to the side) and we'd be talking about how Chelsea got dominated by Barca.

We can think of it as being analogous to saying Adcock was the better pitcher
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Amie » Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:30 pm UTC

Yes, Barcelona will always have played the "better football" even after it is agreed upon that diving without even having contact is a crap thing to do. Somehow, when Chelsea win Barca are always the better team. If Barca win a game where the opponents are denied penalties because of TWO consecutive handballs they made even when the ref was clearly near them and are also denied a penalty where the goalkee fouls a striker, somehow they're STILL the better team. Basically, if they commit fouls, it's magically okay.

I don't have a problem with being critical of a game in all fairness but defending a team when they do the exact same things you're accusing the other team of? That I have a problem with. Also, you can still say Barca "dominated" Chelsea because ball possession. But clearly that doesn't always win you games, does it?
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Re: Actual (Association) Football Talk.

Postby Garm » Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:57 pm UTC

Amie wrote:Yes, Barcelona will always have played the "better football" even after it is agreed upon that diving without even having contact is a crap thing to do. Somehow, when Chelsea win Barca are always the better team. If Barca win a game where the opponents are denied penalties because of TWO consecutive handballs they made even when the ref was clearly near them and are also denied a penalty where the goalkee fouls a striker, somehow they're STILL the better team. Basically, if they commit fouls, it's magically okay.

I don't have a problem with being critical of a game in all fairness but defending a team when they do the exact same things you're accusing the other team of? That I have a problem with. Also, you can still say Barca "dominated" Chelsea because ball possession. But clearly that doesn't always win you games, does it?


The highlights didn't show any of the naughty stuff so I can't really comment on any of that, sorry. :(

FWIW I hate diving. All the flopping and shirt pulling and "professional" fouls detract from the game. I'm basing my agreement with Dream on the balls that struck the post and saying that if either/both had gone in then the narrative in the aftermath of the game would have been completely different. Since both those balls hit the post (and Fabregas fluffed his opportunity, tho' I have to say he did well to come as close as he did considering the pressure he was under) we talk about how organized Chelsea's back four were. No one seems to want to talk about the fact that Barca's center backs were all confused on Drogba's goal (at least none that I've seen) and how that was a saveable ball (didn't think that Valdes transitioned across the face of goal very well and Drogba almost muffed that shot. There just wasn't a lot of weight on his ball - the cross was a peach tho', but again, if Barca's center backs hadn't been so woefully out of position, it would have been for nought).

My point is that we often construct narratives based on the outcome instead of the game that was played. Instead of looking carefully at the box score that I posted one could conclude that since Adcock won the game over the Pirates, he was the better pitcher. Haddix pitched a perfect game through 12 innings and his team let him down. Adcock let up 12 hits and was lucky that the Pirates couldn't string together enough to push a runner across home plate. Same basic thing for Chelsea and Barca. If you let a team possess the ball for 3/4 of the game you're going to lose more often than not. Unless I'm mistaken, Chelsea isn't exactly known for the blistering pace of its counter-attack so playing the style that they did was a dicey one. It worked out this time but I'll be very surprised if it works again.
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