I think it is fair to say that there have been an upswing in missed calls lately by the officials and this brings me to the question of the day. Should we have video replay? I think that the answer is becoming more and more obvious that video replay would be a great help to the officials, and give them some assistance as the game grows in speed and complexity. The big incident this weekend was Raheem Sterling and the pull in the box. Raheem was impeded and it should have been a penalty, but the ref did not see it and Raheem did not go down. I do not want to go into the should he or shouldn’t he have gone down aspect of this incident because the answer seems obvious that he should have since he did not get the penalty kick despite the opportunity to score being taken away from him. However, if the ref had access to video replay, he could have seen the pull and then awarded the penalty. The next big question is how do you implement this. For me it is simple, have an official on the sidelines with access to the feed and if they see something that is missed by the officials then they can communicate with the official on the field and either show something to the him quickly or tell him what he saw. This is being implemented in Germany next season in four different situations.
1. Irregularities in the case of a goal decision (a foul, handball and offside)
2. In penalty box situations where the referee unjustifiably awarded a penalty or not
3. For offences that should lead or should have led to a red card
4. In cases of mistaken identity over a yellow or red card.
It should be interesting to see how this plays out and I am sure the rest of the world will be watching.
African Cup of Nations Update
Oh my has the African Cup of Nations been interesting. Gabon, the hosts, are out after drawing three straight games. Burkina Faso and Cameroon have advanced out of group A. Senegal and Tunisia advanced from Group B and that means that Algeria is going home early. Group C shocked the world as the Ivory Coast failed to win a game as DR Congo and Morocco advanced. Ghana and Egypt have advanced from Group D. The quarterfinals start on Saturday.
Cup Games This Week
EFL Cup – The second leg of the semifinals is this week. Southampton booked their ticket in the finals and they are the first team since 1982 to reach the Cup final without conceding a goal. Manchester United travels to Hull tomorrow. United has a 2-0 lead going into the second leg.
Copa del Rey – The second leg of the quarterfinals is this week. Real Madrid earned a 2-2 draw today at Celta Vigo but they did not advance since they lost the first leg 2-1. This is a major shock. Atletico Madrid also booked their ticket in the semifinals with a 2-2 draw at Eibar. Alaves has already advanced thanks to their 2-0 win over Alcorcon. Barcelona host Sociedad with 1-0 lead.
Coppa Italia – This week is the quarterfinals in the Coppa Italia. Napoli advanced to the semifinals this week thanks to their win over Fiorentina. Juventus defeated Milan today. The other quarterfinals are next week.
Coupe de la Ligue – PSG are already in the finals thanks to a massive 4-1 win over Bordeaux. Today either Monaco or Nancy can advance to try and take a trophy away from the Parisians.
A Headline From Each League
Premier League … It is OVER! Chelsea will win the title as they are now 8 points clear at the top.
Primera Division … It is a 3 horse race and Atletico are not one of those 3. The top three all won this weekend and Atletico drew 2-2 with Bilbao meaning they are now 6 points behind Barcelona, 7 behind Sevilla, and 8 behind Real Madrid.
Bundesliga …Hoffenheim are still unbeaten?!?! Yes they are after their 2-0 win over Augsburg this weekend. They have won 7, drawn 10 and lost 0 so far.
Serie A … The top 3 all won but this is now a two horse race as Roma is a point behind Juventus.
Ligue 1…The Nice bubble seems to have burst as they have drawn 3 games in a row and are now in 2nd place.
Two Games to Watch This Weekend
Werder Bremen vs. Bayern Munich – Munich look to be set to win the title this year but could have a difficult time against Bremen this weekend.
Paris Saint-Germain vs. AS Monaco – This is top vs. third as PSG looks to move closer to Monaco this weekend. A win for PSG would give them a lot of hope going forward.