Handball, Theoklitos and the Norwich cause
There was a bit of debate in the press box on Saturday over Norwich City’s penalty against Tranmere – which obviously played a big part in the Canaries' win.
I always used to watch games safe in the knowledge handball should only be given if it’s a case of hand to ball – an obvious, deliberate attempt to gain an advantage.
But time and again, I’d watch games – mostly Norwich – and see referees blow up for offences when there was clearly no intent.
So now, when I watch or report on a game, for me handball comes down to whether the offender gains an advantage from the ball striking him.
Paul McLaren flung every part he could in front of Adam Drury’s shot, which was on target. Unfortunately his arms were out too – and they were what stopped the City left-back’s effort troubling keeper Luke Daniels.
It was definitely unlucky the ball struck his arm, but clearly a penalty. And seeing the replay convinces me more.
Now, I don't really want to go over old ground BUT I know some are not too comfortable with the reporting over Michael Theoklitos.
'Bias' is a word I've seen and, with football being based on opinions, these things are always difficult to quantify.
Here’s how I’ve seen it in the games I have watched.
Theo commanded his area very well at Palace in pre-season, without having to make a save of note.
I think he had some blame in at least six of the seven goals against Colchester on the opening day of the season.
Against Southend Reserves City won 5-0 and he had little to do, but made a good reflex save.
Watford Reserves saw him deal with a similar amount of activity, but make a terrible mistake in conceding the penalty which settled the game.
Last night against West Ham's youngsters he needlessly rushed out for a cross he had no hope of getting, leaving a header Werndly only needed to flick on target to score. He'd had very little to do up to that point.
He's a top bloke, but a keeper struggling for confidence and guilty of making mistakes that have cost goals in games which he’s seen limited action.
When he starts earning results with his performances, like any Norwich fan, then the bias will come - in the usual, healthy, partisan way.
Until then, I’ll say what I see.
posted on 17 November 2009 11:44 byMichael Bailey - Sportsdesk