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The Importance of Sport (NEW CONCEPTS)
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Mick Harper
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Nor I. Nor in any outfield situation either. I suppose it does happen deliberately if an opponent is particularly close and particularly gormless and the dribbler is particularly cheeky and the situation of the game permits such liberties but, no, it is not a paying proposition particularly as the rewards are small compared to the man-on-goalie situation.

What I think happens is that good strikers understand that low-down near the goalie's feet is where he is most vulnerable -- and is most likely to be the best route to goal which the goalie is guarding -- and puts it there. Sometimes missing and going through his legs. Less good strikers are not aware of this -- or are afraid of looking silly -- so go wider of the goalie (and, so often, the goal). This is all part of my general observation that certain things of vital importance seem not to be practised enough. Goalies themselves don't seem to have a standard routine when facing a one-on-one.

It all seems weirdly ad hoc each time for both parties. Possibly the excitement of the situation means it will always be so. Of course everybody would have to practise it like crazy if the old idea of 'thirty seconds to beat the keeper starting from the centre spot' replaced the penalty shoot-out.
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Mick Harper
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I am pleased with the outcome of the Rugby semi-finals since any other combination would have been either hemispherically unbalanced or, in the case of NZ vs Wales, a walkover. One can bear with equanimity that England vs South Africa will be a walkover. (To us, dummies).
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Mick Harper
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I return to my holding midfielder obsession (experience shows my obsessions are the key to the ultimate solution). So we invested in Torreira because he was Argentina's reserve holding midfielder. Can't say fairer than that. We snapped up Guendouzi for a song and found he could stroke the ball around like a good 'un. Well done, the scouting staff. So what does "Dick" Emory do? He plays Torreira up and Guendouzi back! With Mezut Ozil making up the third in central midfield it's no wonder the commentator kept screaming, "There's no cover", "Wolves are in on the back four with just one pass", "Why is nobody there to challenge him?" etc etc. And this is before Swiss Tony comes back into the mix.

Let me remind one and all, Arsenal are one of the richest football clubs in the world. If they can't afford to get a new manager, at least they can buy in a proper thug to bite everyone's legs.
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Mick Harper
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One can bear with equanimity that England vs South Africa will be a walkover. (To us, dummies).

We are all members of the Rainbow Nation.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Mick Harper wrote:
We are all members of the Rainbow Nation.


It's the World In Union.

https://youtu.be/TOb7N3D6E6k

Although you may prefer Kiri Te Kanawa's version

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQS3kzgLYkg
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Mick Harper
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Lazio 1 Celtic 2

I know BT have customers in Scotland and everyone's on their best behaviour but shouldn't our English pundits have mentioned, along with their paeans to the returning glories of Scottish football, that ten-nil to Lazio wouldn't have flattered them. Ya dinna Immobile, sang Rod Stewart, sitting among the nine thousand fans (of Celtic). Not as bad as 390 BC, said the tifosi.
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Mick Harper
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Justice Cocklecarrot has been asked to rule on this situation: the Bratislava defender's toe catches the heel of the Wolves attacker's boot outside the area, but the toe of the Wolves boot is touching the chalk line of the penalty area. The line is considered part of the area. Is it a pen? Paul Ince says not but that shouldn't factor in your decision as he is not nowadays considered an authority on the laws of the game.
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Mick Harper
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I'm second to none in my dislike of Xhaka, from day one. But I had to accept that he played more minutes than any other player both under Wenger and under Emory, plus he was voted captain by the players, so what do I know? But now, we are told, he's never going to play for Arsenal again. For why? He made a face at the fans when he was substituted. Big bleedin' deal. It's the sort of thing any manager manages without breaking sweat.

Now, as I am writing this (I really didn't know), I discover Emory has been sacked. For why? For the above basically. Not Xhaka specifically, not even for patchy results in general -- Arsenal don't do that -- just for not being a manager basically. Shame, I was second to none in my praise of him from day one.
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Mick Harper
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An interesting case of double standards. A jockey fits an elastic band to the tip of his (otherwise standard) whip and wins the race. He is caught because the heavy whip makes a wheal on the horse's flanks. A jockey would only do such a thing for a betting scam and, sure enough, the horse was at 100-1 in the antepost, coming down to a 10-1 starting price after "heavy betting". A cricketer or a footballer would get sine die for the equivalent of this little lot, the jockey got fined £140 and banned for a week.
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Mick Harper
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I now discover that Emory hasn't been sacked and I was foolishly misled by some overexuberant Paul Merson comments. I probably know something that I didn't know, but we shall have to see. You didn't read it here first.
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Mick Harper
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I have identified the problem with VAR. For thousands of years forwards have been staying on the shoulder of the last defender. Linesmen have been staying on the shoulder of the attacker. A goal is scored. All back to the halfway line. Now everything happens as before but VAR reveals that the back shoulder is a minutely variable concept so quite often the forward's leg (or valid body part thereof) happens to be in advance of the shoulder even though the forward himself isn't. None of the three principals can know this, they are only judging whether the two players are in line. Only VAR can know this.

Gradually forwards will learn not to be on the shoulder of the last defender. To the vast detriment of the game. But fuddie-duddies always say that.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:
I have identified the problem with VAR.

I dont think you are the first, or will be the last.

Clive Thomas wrote:
“Zico was too late,”... “Possibly only four-tenths of a second too late, but too late nevertheless.”
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Mick Harper
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I dont think you are the first, or will be the last.

I am claiming to be the first and since it is offside that is the systemic problem (penalties etc are just incidents) I will, if correct, be the last.
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Mick Harper
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Raheem Stirling will never get back into the England side. That's what happens when you take on the Lewisham mafia, me, Joe Gomez, Gareth Southcott. I see the Bromley boo-boys were out in force at Wembley. They want to take care, they do. As we say in our part of town, "See you at the chip shop."
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