Fulham 1 Chelsea 0

March 25, 2006

Chelsea, again, make it to the posts here at SS.co.uk. What is it that makes them so popular? The game with Fulham ended in disarray with William Gallas' sending off and the crowd invasion, but the match itself was full of incident worthy of discussion here.

There were dives, notably by Moritz Volz of Fulham (Artistic Impression 6/10), although to be fair had he not dived so artistically when fouled by Terry, the penalty would probably have been given. Why is it that a lot of players these days feel the necessity to add reverse pikes, somersaults and triple salchows when merely touched by an opponent? After all, there are no judges on the sidelines offering marks for artistic impression!
Then there was the comedy moment of the match when Drogba clearly used his hand when going on to score.
Everyone watching on TV could clearly see it. What is strange is that the Assistant Referee Paul Norman, who was standing maybe 50 metres away, also saw it… or did he?
In the interviews after the match, Mike Dean apparently "cleared up the confusion" by revealing he had been buzzed by Norman through the electronic tagging devices by which Premiership officials are linked up (this is interesting in itself!).
He said: "I went to speak to him voluntarily. It was not pressure from the Fulham players. Paul was convinced it was handball." Convinced? How could he be when his view was obscured by both defender and Drogba? That aside, the decision was correct and the referee was vindicated. What I found poor was Drogba's decision to complain, knowing full well that he had handled the ball, or maybe his view was obscured by his hairband?

Chelsea will face another FA inquiry after their players angrily surrounded the referee, Mike Dean, and his linesman regarding the decision to disallow Drogba's equaliser for handball (General Ref Hassling 7/10 for 7 Chelsea players and 9/10 for Drogba). It is obvious that Frank Lampard is incredulous about the decision, but what right has Drogba in pointing at the referee? Maybe he was telling Dean that he couldn't have seen him use his hand and, therefore, the goal should stand.
FulChe
Whinging Jose Mourinho claimed "It's a handball so it's not a goal and the decision is correct. What is not correct is the referee didn't see and allows the goal, the linesman didn't see but after pressure by Fulham they changed their decision."
Mourinho is still under the impression there are 2 sets of rules: one for Chelsea and the other for everyone else. This is just sour grapes.
There was an interesting comment from Referee Chief, Keith Hackett, who backed Dean and dismissed reports he had been pressured into changing his mind. He said "Pressure is when you've got a soldier walking down a street in Iraq likely to be killed at any moment by a bomb or a bullet – we are talking about a game of football here."
Wise words indeed, although the way Wright-Phillips went down in the Newcastle match (discussed below), you could be forgiven to believe there was a soldier in the crowd who shot him!Finally, the William Gallas incident.  The French defender was red-carded for horrifically stamping on the ankle of Heidar Helgusson, however, his petty behaviour in ripping off his gloves and throwing them to the floor in a clear sign of dissent and then goading the Fulham fans as he left the pitch with a bizarre thumbs-down gesture will lead to some form of punishment. What was he thinking, but more importantly what do the Fulham fans mean with their gestures? (answers on a post to strikersniper.co.uk!!)
Gallas
Well, another weekend is upon us, a chance for divers to impress us, referees to baffle us but most of all, footballers to entertain us.

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