Sunday, February 24, 2008


Before a return to serious issue tomorrow, another brief comment on yesterday's Premiership matches. Yesterday, I sympathised with Arsenal FC. They were genuinely unlucky. Or in the eyes of the "true fan", they were cheated out of a deserved win by incompetent or biased refereeing.

To some observers, Liverpool were lucky yesterday. They won 3-2. However, I was expecting that Mr Lineker would bring up a specific point on Match of the Day, he did not, so I mention it here:

When Fernando Torres capitalised on the poor defensive header to score the first goal, in addition to the invariably quoted qualities of pace, awareness and cool-headedness of top strikers, there were three outstanding attributes displayed that were even more unusual:

1. He gambled. Gary Lineker is one of the few analysts who regularly talks about this. But Torres hung back behind the defender just on the slight chance that he would fumble his back pass. He did not "track back". Most of the time those gambles are wasted. But the best strikers gamble most.

2. He was tripped in the penalty area while rounding the goalkeeper. But he did not fall down, despite the obvious foul. A specialist striker would never give up a chance of goal to a specialist penalty taker.

3. As he was preparing to shoot, another striker was running in behind with a better angle. But as with Michael Owen getting in front on Paul Scholes after rounding the Argentine defence in 1998, having done the hard work, there was no way he would pass on the scoring opportunity.

Selfish? Probably. Also the best centre forward I have seen in a long time. Well played Fernando.

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