More Officiating errors & Is Hodgson Safe?

24th January 2024

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There were only four games this past weekend in the Premier League but that didn't stop more controversy courtesy of the officials. In the West Ham and Sheffield United game David Moyes team and most pundits were left puzzled as to why Jarrod Bowen was not awarded a penalty after it seemed like he had been wrestled to the ground in the area. With VAR not afraid to have a word in the referee's ear it did seem odd that they had decided not to let the official on the pitch know. There is that word again, inconsistency. Later in the game Vladimir Coufal was booked after being dismayed that Rhian Brewster was only going to get a yellow card for a nasty challenge. This time VAR did wake up and asked the referee to look at it again and he duly changed the yellow to a red, as for Coufal who was correct in his anger this time his yellow card stayed and in the final minutes he received another yellow and was sent off. If this sounds like a vintage Laurel and Hardy film then you wouldn't be far wrong. There would be more nonsense in the Brentford game where all eyes were on Ivan Toney who was returning from an 8 month ban and of course he scored. However his goal has been seen as a controversial one as he placed the ball elsewhere for his free kick outside of the referees disappearing spray paint. Toney believed that he had a yard either side to choose from, but did he really? Nottingham Forest have since written to PGMOL to clarify the rule, but the goal will not be going away. So was Toney right, wrong or just cheeky. What we should be asking is why compared to other sports is the game we truly love so confusing in its rules? You could talk to someone who has followed football for decades and still does 24/7 and yet they will be confused by some of the rules and this comes down to interpretation and inconsistencies by the officials. Perhaps Toney was being cheeky to gain a better position but this isn't down to him it's down to the officials who should have noted this at the time. Before we had the technology we had officials making glaring errors, it is sad to see that with the technology we still get glaring errors. Can football decisions really be 100% correct, well no, but we need to get to a point where embarrassing errors and clear and obvious ones become a thing of the past. It is more jarring because the Premier League is regarded as the best league in the world, but the officials have not been on their game not for the high bar that must be raised in such a top level league.

Who would want to be the man who sacked Roy Hodgson out of his final ever managerial job? That has to be the thinking of Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish who could well have given Hodgson the chop on Monday. Instead he had a meeting with the veteran manager and has given him another match, that one will be played out next Tuesday when Palace take on bottom club Sheffield United, lose that and Hodgson has certainly run out of excuses. The Eagles have won just once in their past 12 games and whilst one senses that the club have enough in their reserves to survive in this campaign that can't come down to any doubts. Indeed Graham Potter is reportedly in line to take the job and that could make perfect sense. Potter did a terrific job at Brighton and installing a new manager is going to give the team a boost and even if that is only for a month it would be enough not to get sucked into a relegation battle and then some. For now Hodgson remains as manager and perhaps any true footballing fan would love to see Palace recover enough so as not to see Hodgson in his last season either be sacked or forced to hand in his resignation. That is ultimately going to be down to the players if Hodgson sees out his final act of football management in January or May.

Premier League next manager to be sacked: Roy Hodgson 1.50, Erik ten Hag 6.00, Eddie Howe 7.00, Vincent Kompany 11.00, Mauricio Pochettino 26.00


Staying with managers the special one Jose Mourinho has been sacked by Roma recently. The club have really slumped lately and sit in 9th place. It has been an anti-climax at the Serie A club for Mourinho after two solid seasons which witnessed the club win the first ever Europa Conference League and appear in the Europa League final the following year. However in the league Roma have failed to impress and now the Portuguese managerial legend will be looking for another job. It is interesting to note that Newcastle have emerged as the favourites for him to join and yet Eddie Howe is 7.00 to be sacked as the next manager in the Premier League, so is that value or a false market? Granted Newcastle are having a poor season compared to last but surely this cannot be blamed on Howe who has had a succession of his very best players injured this season and the list reads like a novel. It would however be interesting to see Mourinho once more in the Premier League.

Jose Mourinho's next managerial role: Newcastle 4.00, Any Saudi Pro League club 5.00, Portugal 6.00, Any MLS club 7.00, Porto 8.00


Don't cry for me entitled multi millionaire footballers. That is the story of the past week coming out of the Saudi Pro League where some of the highest paid players have had enough and want to come back 'home' to Europe. England international Jordan Henderson has returned and is now playing for Ajax. Did he have a guilty conscience because apparently he had no beef with his former manager Steven Gerrard. Or will it come out in a future bargain bin autobiography that England manager Gareth Southgate had hinted to Henderson that if he wanted to play a part in this summers Euro's that he had to be playing in Europe? Karim Benzema who is on a reported £3m a week at Al-Ittihad is clamouring to get out of the country and wants to join his former club Lyon in Ligue 1. Is that what six months does to you in Saudi Arabia? And then there is Aymeric Laporte who gave up playing for the European champions and to be coached by Pep Guardiola to join Al Nassr and be coached by Luis Castro who is currently into his 15th managerial job which includes two stints at Porto's B side. Laporte has been more vocal about life in the country and doesn't believe everything is professionally in place like it is at top European clubs. Laporte, who earns almost half a million pounds a week, moaned about the traffic in the country. Quite a few of us may chip together and send him over the smallest violin we can find…..


The African Cup of Nations is well under way and this has affected the Premier League with many of its stars on international duty. Mohamed Salah however will return to Liverpool this week but he is out injured and could well miss the next 3-4 weeks. Egypt want him back if they qualify for the latter stages though and Liverpool have insisted he has a better chance to recover in England, let's see how that story plays out. There have been some surprises so far who would have thought that Cape Verde would top a group containing Egypt? Ghana have been sent home as have Algeria who were stunned by the team of the moment Mauritania who recently beat them 1-0. The competition will hot up later this week when the knockout stages begin.

To win the 2023 African Cup of Nations: Morocco 4.00, Senegal 4.33, Nigeria 8.00, Ivory Coast 13.00, Mali 15.00

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