Tag Archives: Ashley Young

Thoughts on Chelsea-Manchester United: Reds Lucky Yet Deserving

Manchester United’s 3-2 win at Chelsea today involved some beautiful soccer and quite a bit of controversy in the second half. Here is my take on the three crucial officiating decisions midway through the second half when the match was tied 2-2:

1. Branislav Ivanovic’s red card for taking down Ashley Young was the correct decision. Young was clear on goal and Ivanovic was the last defender. He made his tackle from behind and got the man, not the ball. The referee’s decision to give him a straight red is mandated by the rulebook. Kudos to Ivanovic for realizing that he was in the wrong and not making much of fuss before leaving the pitch.

2. Fernando Torres’s second yellow card and subsequent sending off was harsh, though it could have been prevented if Torres did not have a deserved reputation for diving. The referee was in a bad position, and from his angle one could see how it looked like a dive because there was only slight contact from Jonny Evans.  It certainly looked like Torres embellished a bit from any angle. I do not think he deserved a card, but again, it was Torres reaping a bit of what he’d sown in the past. I suppose this sounds like blaming the victim, but I would rather have referees err on the side of punishing diving too much rather than too little. These two decisions by the referee are ones that rarely get made (even the correct first decision); I was glad that he had the courage to make them, and wish that more referees would.

3. Javier Hernandez’s game-winning goal was clearly offside. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.

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Euro 2012: England Lose on Penalties Again

The Euro 2012 quarterfinals concluded today with England and Italy drawing 0-0 after extra time and the Italians progressing to the semifinals 4-2 on penalties. It was the first 0-0 match of the tournament even though both sides had some very good scoring chances in the first half and the game was an exciting one until the extra time sessions. It was yet another failure for the English on penalties; this time they were ahead 2-1 when Ashley Young hit the crossbar with his kick and then Ashley Cole had his kick saved. It means that Italy will play Germany in the second semifinal on Thursday, and Portugal and Spain meet in an Iberian derby on Wednesday. Germany have played better than Italy throughout the tournament and will have two days extra rest, so expect them to advance. The Portugal-Spain match will be a close one. Spain have been steady but not great, and Portugal have been riding Cristiano Ronaldo’s coattails. If Ronaldo is able to keep up his torrid play, the Portuguese will pull off the upset.

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