Shearer Says: “The difference of opinions on the Benteke penalty… If three guys in a room can’t agree how would a video referee help?”
Leicester are now everybody’s second team like Newcastle were in 1996
Leicester are in the driving seat. They’re five points clear, and they are there because they deserve to be there. They’ve had a fantastic week. The point they got against West Brom on Tuesday didn’t look a good point to begin with, but by ten o’clock on Wednesday given the other results, it looked a great point. They played amazing against Watford. They had the same enthusiasm and energy that they’ve shown all season and there are no signs of any nerves as yet. It’s just brilliant to watch. They have what I believe is the player of the season in Mahrez, and the goal he scored against Watford just summed his season up. He was absolutely outstanding.
I really hope Leicester win the League. Leicester are everybody’s second team just like Newcastle were when I joined them in 1996, Everybody was cheering on Newcastle, after their own sides, in 1996 because of the way they played and all the goals they scored, and that’s what is happening now as everyone is cheering on Leicester to do it. They play Newcastle next and quite frankly the way Newcastle are playing three points is practically a given. Leicester seem to be getting better and better. I hope nerves don’t set in, but I still think there will be more twists and turns before the end of the season.
You can talk about pressure for Leicester but the pressure is massive on the other clubs. When you look at how much Man City have spent, how much Arsenal have spent, how much Man United have spent on players, the pressure on those managers is miles greater than it is on Ranieri and Leicester. It’s a point I keep making but can you imagine how embarrassing it will be for all the big clubs and their managers if Leicester win the league?
It has been a bonkers season from the first game to now and it will carry on to the end of the season. Standard-wise I don’t think it’s great but it makes for a brilliant season. The gap is closing between the big four or five and the rest. Now the clubs outside of the elite have more spending power thanks to the new media rights money. They can afford to spend big money now.
I Don’t think the Benteke penalty was a penalty for one minute
No way ever did I think the Benteke incident was a penalty. I totally disagreed with what the pundits said after the game. Just because there’s contact doesn’t mean it’s a penalty or a free kick. This is a contact sport. In football you are going to make contact with players it’s the name of the game. Now I didn’t think that was a penalty for one minute yesterday, and I have looked at the replays and I still don’t think it was a penalty.
There is no way that small bit of contact should have brought Benteke down. It was a stupid challenge, he should never have gone to ground in the box given the pace Benteke was going, but there was only a tiny, tiny piece of contact. I saw it at the time and I’ve seen it ten times since, and yes there was a small touch, but not enough for a player to be brought down, and so it was definitely not a penalty. Even in Benteke’s interview after the game he said “I think I was touched”. He didn’t even know for sure himself. You can’t blame Benteke, he’s a centre forward acting on instinct. If you think his dive was bad, you should go and watch the football in Spain. They are actually taught from a young age as a technique how to go over. It’s got to the stage that if you look at someone in Spain they might fall over. Go and watch La Liga in Spain. If you blink at someone and you get a three match ban.
The difference of opinions on the Benteke penalty just goes to show you what a mockery it would be to use video evidence for these decisions as nobody agrees on these events even after watching all the replays. Yesterday Gary Lineker thought it was a penalty, so if three guys in a room can’t agree how would a video referee help? The good thing about goal-line technology is that it’s factual. You can’t argue with it. I’m all for using replays for factual things that you can’t argue with but once it’s used for things that are a matter of opinion then I don’t agree with.
Coquelin deserved his red card but Mata? Come on!
The Coquelin red card was stupid. Arsenal were in control of the game, and that incident completely changed the course of the game. Arsenal had been in control, a goal up, and then Coquelin gets himself sent off. The game changed, the place started rocking, Arsenal’s defence started to wobble and Spurs went 2 v 1 up. To Arsenal’s credit they did deserve a point in the end and were the better team at the end pushing forward.
But as for Mata’s red card; that challenge was nothing really. Yellow cards were brought in for bad challenges, to warn you. In this day and age, the way things are, Mata’s challenge on Fletcher was a foul, and gets a yellow card, but come on. You can see he’s trying to pull out of the challenge at the last second. In today’s climate he knew he was on a yellow so he probably should have realised he just couldn’t make another challenge. What we have to realise is not every foul deserves a yellow card.
I’m like every Newcastle fan, just totally and utterly frustrated
I’m like every other Newcastle fan. I’m just totally and utterly frustrated. It’s like Groundhog Day. I keep hearing the manager talking about positives, and there are still nine games left, but he keeps saying the same things each week and nothing’s changing. It’s not good enough. It is a mess from top to bottom. We have no kids coming through the academy and many of the players they’ve bought haven’t been good enough, so they need to look at the recruiting system.
It’s now a battle, and two from three are going to go down, and I’m not sure it’s an advantage that Newcastle have to play both Norwich and Sunderland. Indeed that game against Sunderland could end up being a ‘winner stays up’. Jonjo Shelvey is one positive, he’s performing as well as he can be, but I don’t see many other positives. Sunderland seem to have much more hope and belief than Newcastle do at the moment, and for me to say that about Newcastle is very difficult.
I don’t see any value in going down to the Championship to try and regroup and come back up as with the current group of players I don’t see the characters to get the team back up. At the moment they are drifting towards the Championship, and that’s very, very difficult to take. This is a community that is so passionate about Newcastle, it is their life, and they are paying good money to come and watch this stuff each week. What’s happening now with Newcastle is splitting the community up. It’s terrible to watch and with Newcastle drifting towards relegation something needs to be done to stop that.
A Chelsea v Everton FA Cup stalemate will scupper my Cheltenham plans
The plan is to run Augusta Kate in the Champion Bumper on the Wednesday, the last race on the day. Willie said she never shows him at home what she’s shown on the track and she’s taken their breath away with her performances to date. It’s unreal and I’m so looking forward to it as I’ve had runners at Cheltenham before but I’ve not had a favourite. So fingers crossed, you never know, we might strike lucky.
When Graham Wylie put the syndicate together we knew that he’d want us to have a decent horse and to experience success, so I know he was delighted when Augusta Kate won her first race. But neither he nor Willie ever expected her to do what she’s done so far in the style that she’s done it, so we are all very excited.
There’s one stumbling block though. I’ve just found out that if Chelsea and Everton draw in the FA Cup this weekend, the replay will be on that Wednesday and will scupper my plans as I will be part of the BBC team covering the replay. The game is live this Saturday and it’s a game I’m doing so I will be praying for a positive result. I’d be gutted to miss Cheltenham.
Lee Westwood, Chubby Chandler, Graham and I all plan to be there and we are just waiting to see if Ant and Dec will be coming, as hopefully we’ll all be there to see her run.
Do you agree with Alan’s views? Then why not head to Coral and place your bets on the latest Premier League teams in action in Europe this midweek?