Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Rational debate

It seems whenever I write about football, I provoke comments that are not truly thought out or rational.

After yesterday's England match, I expressed the opinion that John Terry had a poor game and suggested he is a weak link in this England team. This was based on factual evidence:

1. For the "goal that wasn't", he was criminally caught under the flight of the ball. If Terry's strength is the reading of the game which has through his career compensated for his relative lack of pace, then he didn't read that situation at all well. Lescott did, as he stood slightly deeper aware of the threat of a ball over the top. Terry didn't, and was badly caught.

2. Terry was then simply outpaced, as he had been by Ibrahimovic in a race for the ball in the Sweden match. Now Ibra is known for many things, but blistering pace is not one of them. Whilst he's never been quick, Terry is noticeably slowing.

3. He didn't make a heroic goalline clearance because very simply, he did not prevent the ball from crossing the line. Were it not for the incompetence of the official standing in line, five yards away, it would have been a goal, and the goal would have been entirely Terry's fault. Fact.

Now, the very best make errors. Of course they do. If this were a one off, I'd forgive Terry, no problem. He has undoubtedly been a fine defender in his time, and the exact sort of player that my team, Arsenal, have lacked since Tony Adams retired. But the thing is, these errors are becoming more and more commonplace in Terry's game now. I think back to the 5-2 defeat of Chelsea by Arsenal last season when Terry was almost comically inept. Liverpool fans might remember the game at Anfield towards the end of the season when Terry had an absolute shocker. And now this.

Terry's lack of pace is without a shadow of a doubt, a weak link in this England team. Hodgson must be terrified of opposition teams getting in behind the defence, because anyone quick who does so, will not be caught. Hence, the defence have to defend deep, and they need to be protected by two central midfield players who similarly have to drop deep to prevent too much space arising between the defensive line and the midfield line. This invites pressure and limits the ability of the midfield to link with the attack when in possession. Gerrard, to his immense credit, is managing to have a positive impact further forward despite this hindrance.

Look, Terry is/has been a fine defender. This isn't a club thing. This is a factual thing. He's still great at putting his head in, making strong tackles, etc. But I bet I know what the managers of the teams who might oppose England in this tournament will be thinking is a weakness to be exploited.

Now, you may not agree with this analysis. No problem with that, and I'll always publish a well thought out contradiction to anything I say. But to leave a comment: "JT was emmense (sic). Enough said", is not good enough. It's a bit like a barrister defending someone on a murder charge by going into court and saying, "M'lud. The accused didn't do it, init. 'Nuff said".

Interaction and debate is great, and encouraged. But please, a bit more constructive, eh?

Just one more thing about the Euros...

The egotistical prat that is Niklas Bendtner fined £80k by UEFA for showing his Paddy Power sponsored pants.

Croatian FA fined £64k for the racist chanting of some of the nation's supporters.

Shows some pretty mixed up priorities, doesn't it?

A question for you. Do you always check your winning bets after they should have been settled?

It's a tiresome task alright, especially when you have a lot of football bets being placed left, right and centre. It's a habit I've got into though, and I'm pleased I did. It is not a frequent occurence that the bookmaker omits to pay out, but it does happen. 888Sport didn't initially pay me on today's winning Sportyy bet. According to my account, the bet had been settled, but had been marked down as a loser. A quick email sorted the issue out, but if I hadn't checked, I'd have been none the wiser. Don't need to be giving money away.

Just as well to check, I reckon.

Today's Betting

If my portfolio was topically split into Eurozone countries, the racing would be an amalgam of Greece/Spain/Ireland/Italy, whilst bailing them out were the Germany (and the IMF) represented by the sports services. The trend continued today.

This imbalance is either the portfolio doing it's job, balancing out the losses with gains to prevent disaster, or is depressing and agonsisngly vulnerable to a quick downturn in fortunes on the sports side of the business. I guess it depends on whether you're a glass half empty or full kinda chap.

A very, very small return from today's Winning Racing Tips selection that managed to finish in the frame (Geneva Geyser - Worcester - a mix of 6/1 and 7/1).

Just a couple of the races at Royal Ascot dabbled in by On The Nose, which went in fairly big each way on Aljamaaheer (5/1) which subsequently ran into third. The other bet was a loser.

Another bad day at the office for Northern Monkey, with four selections, three of which were unplaced. The one that did place (Ginger Jack - Hamilton - mix of 11/2 and 5/1) was a fast finishing second.

No success from The Market Examiner's one selection.

Another winner for Sportyy today (Harrison beating Lu - 1.83), although 888Sport seemed reluctant to ackonwledge the success!

Three matches played by Form Lab Lite and two winners found, one in Finland and the other in Sweden. Not going to name the teams - can't spell them!

Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.6pts, +0.083pts
On The Nose: Staked 2.5pts, -0.708pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Northern Monkey: Staked 3.5pts, -2.471pts.

Sportyy: Staked 2pts, +0.831pts
Form Lab Lite: Staked 3pts, +1.35pts.

So, a small profit on the day. I console myself with the thought that each day of racing losses is one closer to the day of significant profits. Got to happen. Tomorrow would be splendid.


  1. i still think your view on terry is not fair , while what u might say holds a lot of substance there just anit no one better ..end of
    the whole england team is poor and to pick on terry is unfair..
    most papers and reports that i read gave john credit for last night and as far as the great goal line clearence goes must have been otherwise it would have been a goal simples.
    it was a goal in 1966 its wasent last night for the same reason the ref simples :}

  2. Hi Mate.

    Thanks for responding. I can see why you might think I was picking on Terry, but I wasn't for the sake of it. I do genuinely think he is a weak link in this England team, and that a more mobile and in form central defender would be a better option. The way I see it, if Lescott had had the season and made the errors Terry has, he wouldn't be in the team. Ironically, Ferdinand arguably had a much better season and is more mobile than Terry, and look where he is now!

    re. press plaudits. I have to say, I ignore 99% of them. They're bland and talk crap with no thought (with one or two exceptions). Say the goal had been given, as it should have been, I wouldn't mind betting the "experts" would be pointing out Terry's errors leading up to it. Had it been a goal that had knocked us out of the tournament, I bet the "experts" would have been questioning Terry's future - how he had lost his pace and become more prone to errors, and perhaps it was time he retired from international football, blah, blah, blah.

    Look, all this is just opinion. Agree with you 100% the team is poor. I'd take Joe Hart, Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney, plus Gerrard if fit and given the right role. The rest...pah! But, they're organised, seem to have the right spirit, and as Chelsea proved this year, that can ultimately be enough to succeed.

    By the way, I didn't mean to single your original post out. I think this blog thrives on people giving their opinion so I want to encourage folk who contribute to explain why they say what they say. Makes it more interesting for everybody. Believe me, your post was fine - compare it to some of the abuse I got!!!

    Thanks for contributing. :)


    PS. Perhaps Terry will have an absolute stormer against Italy. If so, don't be afraid to let me have it both barrels! :)

  3. quote from bruce millington page 122 todays racing post

    roy hodgson probably deserves some luck simply for being such a sound human being, but boy has he had it in significant quantities. Id be staggered if the three lions could go all the way, despite the brilliance of the performances of john terry and ashley cole in the group stage
    Bruce is without doubt not a chelsea fan and i will leave it there
    Your right about jt we all know this is his last major tornement for england along with a few others

    ps If italy dont score he will have a blinder, when and if we go out if could well be his fault but hay thats football

    pps Lets also hope that any chances the forwards get from now on are buired first time round as we might not get to many
    come on england its the winning that counts :}

  4. Fancy 0-0 myself, extra time, penalties...

    We know the score. :)

  5. Being scottish ( ahem dont laugh) i am incredibly bitter and twisted because we are one of the worst sporting nations on the planet (haha got that in before you) I hope you lose about 513-nil and during the game Rio has, erm, crumpets with JT s wife :)

  6. Alan...LOL!

    To be honest, mate - I backed Spain before the tournament started. If it's a Spain/England final, I want a Spain win, don't you worry about that! 513-0 should mean I don't have to worry too much.

  7. to tpi
    very sad m8
    spain over england, most likley not even your choice , money anit the be all and end all of everything
    some things are just more important

    ps mr sweaty sock .. its very unlikley to be 513-0 because that would mean a goal every 10 secs and that just anit going to happen is it :}

    1. Well i suppose 513-0 is a trifle exajerared but 45-0! A goal every 2 mins! Sweet innit me old china haha
      Alan(cool not sweaty)

  8. Hey Anon.

    That's the thing though - to me, the money is more important than England. Weird, I know, but that's the way it is.

    Look, I'm hoping to get a few minutes today so I'll post something up on the main blog about this. You've just made me realise the difference between club and international football. I've been trying to put my finger on it for years. :)