5 Talking Points of the Premier League

The 2019-20 Premier League season just started barely a month ago, and it is already a hotbed of talking points for the spectators to mull over. Early on in the season, the spectators have already an inclination of how the entire season would go.

Here are some things to know about what happened to the league, the clubs, and the players so far.

1) Arsenal still struggles defensively

Arsenal has done well over the summer in terms of transfers and signings. Nicolas Pepe, the marquee signing, joined David Luiz and Kieran Tierney to strengthen The Gunners defence. And yet, the club is still considered as the weakest. 

It shows with their game against Tottenham Spurs wherein they cannot stop the Spurs from scoring. Countering their attacks proved to be fruitless. They also struggled to keep hold of a point when they should’ve already made the goal.

Not to mention, the errors of Bernd Leno and Granit Xhaka committed in their last matches are not helping Arsenal.

2) Liverpool and Manchester City dominate the season

Four games into the season and two clubs have already been showing how strong contenders they are to win the title. This means Liverpool and Manchester City stay ahead of the Big Six, the rest of which—Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Tottenham—have been slow this season thus far.

The strong start would be more encouraging for Liverpool, which hasn’t won a title since 1990. The club takes pride in its first clean sheet of the season, though—the same with the Citizens.

3) Manchester United’s stumbling away performance

The Red Devils started their campaign solidly. Hope floats, giving the club a new shot at the title from their sixth finish during the last season. 

However, the story is different when the club’s away performance is discussed. It appears that when they are not playing in Old Trafford Stadium, they limp at breaking down resilient defences. That’s despite bringing in prominent defenders such as Harry Maguire.

Nothing’s been proven. For one, the players made only two points during their last three matches. Second, it has not won a Premier League game since February.

4) Leicester City gatecrashing the Big Six

Although it is still too early to say, the Foxes are already displaying their football prowess. The club is unbeaten to date.

Now the fans can set aside their fears when Maguire left Leicester for Manchester United. The rest of the club members are determined to show that they can do without him.

Kasper Schmeichel, Yourie Tielemens, James Maddison, and Jamie Vardy display good plays throughout the games. It’s safe to assume there’s more to expect from these Foxes.

5) Sheffield United put up a good fight

From the looks of it, Sheffield would be relegated this season. They lack the quality, but the club and especially the players have shown deep commitment on the field.

They are still fighting to extend their stay, combining the best of the players’ grit and quality. The display of athleticism is undeniable, putting up the fight as they should.

 

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How is your favourite club performing? Let us know!

Racism in Football: How It Can Be Addressed and Solved

Racism in sport, and specifically, racism in football, is historically a poignant feature of European sports. And it happens to the teams, football players, and even the fans. 

Numbers don’t lie

Racism in football is impossible to quantify, but the circumstances are not good definitely.

Based on the Sky Data Poll conducted by Sky Sports News, racism has already taken an alarming state.

  • In the UK, 86% of football fans who attended a match regularly have witnessed a racist incidence at a game
  • 93% of BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) fans have seen racism at a match—1 in 4 fans have experienced the abuse in the stands regularly
  • About 33% of the fans (1 in 3 fans) have experienced racist abuse personally; the percentage increases to 71% among BAME fans
  • Only 29% of them have reported the racist incident they had witnessed, but about 74% of them were unsure if actions were taken regarding their complaint
  • Also, 31% of the fans would not report the incident thinking that authorities will not take any action
  • About 29% are not aware of the reporting process 
  • 18% of BAME fans have suffered from a racist attack personally
  • London had the highest percentage of racist incidence rate wherein 17% of the fans experienced racism at every match attended
  • BAME fans are less likely to report a racist incidence; 1 in 4 would contact the authorities
  • However, only a quarter of complaints have been addressed by the authorities
  • 1 in 2 BAME fans believe that the authorities ’wouldn’t act on the complaint; 1 in 3 do not consider the racist incident as serious enough, and 1 in 4 find cumbersome the reporting process
  • Most complaints are directed to the clubs or near-by stewards (but they also reported to the police, Kick It Out, FARE Network and the FA 

In a study published in International Review for the Sociology of Sport, it was discovered that racism is rampant in British football. About 83% of the people believed that it is culturally embedded. 

Class and education are significant factors, although the historical notions of whiteness that are also culturally embedded are the most significant contributor to the incidence of racism in football.

No place for racism in football

Sports Minister Mims Davies said that the moment is an opportunity for the “people to use football as a cloak for their discrimination and intolerance.” The fans, BAME fans, in particular, are no longer enjoying the football experience.

Premier League Director of Policy also said that racism is “certainly a worrying trend.” Football should be a role model, with a greater impact for good. Racism ’must’ve no place in it.

The Director also mentioned that the clubs are working together to address the problem.

Just recently, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba have been the target of racist abuse. Yan Dhanda, who had also experienced racism as a young footballer of Indian ethnicity, is not an exemption.

Rashford and Pogba missed penalty kicks in the recent matches of Manchester United. Pogba posted a message on his Twitter account.

Solving the problem regardless of how culturally embedded they may seem critical at this point. Otherwise, another Eric Cantona moment is waiting to happen if no government actions would be taken. That’s according to Garth Crooks, ex-striker of Tottenham and trustee of Kick It Out. 

Kick It Out is an anti-discrimination charity.

Addressing racism in football

Crooks added that, as a football community, drastic measures must be implemented. The #Enough campaign of the Professional ’Footballers’ Association may not be enough as well as boycotting social media. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have also condemned the trolls.

However, legislation must be introduced quickly. This is to signify racism in football and sports in general as a national concern.

Premier League club managers have also highlighted the role of social media firms. These companies have the primary role in policing abuse against footballers. 

Strengthening their Hateful Conduct Policy is crucial, as well as the punishments to anyone who will violate these policies.

 

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Have you witnessed a racist incident during a match? Let us know.

4 New Football Rules That Every Player Needs to Follow

The recent injunction that the handball rule will not be reviewed after Gabriel Jesus’s goal was disallowed compelled us to think more about the new regulations. Indeed, it is high time to brush up on the latest football rules. The accidental handball rule—one of the several rule changes in the Premier League (PL).

An unalluring a rule it is, the disallowed goal could’ve given Manchester City its 16th consecutive win. Pep Guardiola, Manchester City’s boss, said they accept the video assistant referee’s (VAR) decision.

Here Are 4 New Rules in Football

Accidental handballs

As discussed above, a player is no longer allowed to score a goal or create a goalscoring play by controlling the ball that accidentally involved the hand or arm. If the goal was made, like in the case of Jesus, it would not be counted.

Deliberate handballs were already disallowed aeons ago. When the ball hits the hand of any player in the attacking team so they can have the advantage to score a goal, the referee would call it. The role of the VAR has more weight since the referee cannot always see what’s going on in the field.

To make it clear, the rule applies to the attacking team, not necessarily to the defenders when they are inside their own box.

Drop balls

A drop ball, or having two players aiming at the ball while standing 30 centimetres apart from one another with the referee at the middle, will no longer be seen this and the next seasons. 

The official play will recommence by giving the ball possession to the opposing team against the team that touched the ball last. The questions are central to whether the players would return to their original positions or not or if they can use the penalty area to restrategize. 

Another somewhat controversial aspect was the restart of the game when it stopped at the penalty regardless of whose possession it was.

Goal kicks

The play starts the moment the player kicks the ball. A goalkeeper kicks the ball into the midfield, and the players would engage in a duel by the halfway line. When the defender receives the ball, he would have opposition players pressing them. Interception at the penalty area occurs. This would require the referee to restart the play.

With the new rule, the goalkeeper can pass the ball to any teammate within the penalty area. In this way, passing commences sooner against the possibility of a high press. This aims to be a quick pass play, but, in reality, this goal kicks rule only slows the entire game.

Free kick walls

If there’s a defensive wall, the attackers cannot go against the defenders directly. They should be at least within a yard of the wall. Since free kicks usually happen within 30 yards, the tendency is to have attacking players trying to penetrate the wall, so they are at the goalkeeper’s line of sight. This allows the goalkeeper to pass it to a teammate easily.

The attacking-defending situation always ends up in a foul. Attackers would prevent the defenders from jumping and block the shot. Offences are not usually easy to spot when they happen.

Again, this requires a more in-depth analysis because forming a defensive wall may no longer be valuable if there are no attacking players around it. Not to mention the one-yard requirement wherein precisely measuring it would be another impediment.

 

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