Friday, May 2, 2014

Pusillanimous Posse: Thoughts on Chelsea's Time Wasting Antics Against Liverpool

photo by Michel Filionvia PhotoRee
Scott took quite some time to write this piece, but we wouldn't dare accuse him of time wasting:
Many of my fellow Liverpool fans are criticizing Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea team for “parking the bus” (a term that, apparently, Mourinho invented when previously deriding other teams for such tactics) against the Reds last Sunday.  While I sympathize and found the entire game an exercise in frustration, I will not be the hypocrite that Mourinho is and complain about overly defensive tactics.  As has been pointed out by others, we have all cheered our team’s defensive posture at one point or the other.  For me, the most memorable is the 1994 World Cup game when the US, even with a man advantage, parked the bus and threw away the keys in order to stay in the game with Brazil and only lose 1-0.  And I gleefully cheered every exhilarating clearance.
That is not to say I wasn’t sickened by what I saw last Sunday, because I was.  But rather than bemoaning Chelsea’s overwhelmingly defensive tactics, I was downright offended by the pusillanimous posse’s cowardly, and even comical at times, time-wasting antics that began as soon as the game did.  Even the Semifinal One (I wish I had come up with that) himself got into the act when he gathered a ball off touch, pretending to help, but then kept hold to bleed extra seconds off the clock and slow down everything. 
Ashley Cole, in particular, should be ashamed to get a view of his ridiculous haircut in the mirror for quite some time.  He was finally carded toward the end of the game for outrageous time-wasting, but not before he had successfully tied his shoe, dropped the ball, moved the free kick, etc. and, at one point, purposely and obviously failed to catch the ball that was supplied to him by a Liverpool player.  Have some pride you loser.  I can’t wait to see what the England locker room is like next time he snaps a towel at Gerrard or Sturridge or Henderson or….
Of course, Cole (my son hates that he shares that name) was not the only one to purposely and shamefully waste time right from the start.  Mark Shwarzer needed a map and compass to properly place every free kick he took, before then yielding said free kick to a team mate who had to trudge through the invisible molasses that must have covered the field.  When Branislav Ivanovic stooped down to tie his already-tied boots in order to delay (again) taking a freekick, had I been a player on the field, I would have channeled my inner Suarez and bitten the Serb myself.

I'm not saying Liverpool lost the game because of time-wasting.  Rather, they lost because (1) Chelsea executed flawlessly on their defensive approach, (2) Liverpool were not creative enough to break down a 10-man mob of blue in the final third, and (3) Steven Gerrard miscontrolled and then slipped (thereby changing the game).  It should have ended up 0-0 but Chelsea got lucky so it ended 2-0.

What I am saying is that time wasting, to me, approaches diving as a loathsome part of the sport.  If you’re scared to play then go play something else.  If it was supposed to be a part of the game, then why do they add extra time for it?  It is cheating, plain and simple - no different than purposely pulling down an opponent who has beaten you in order to negate their advantage.  And the one thing about almost all kinds of cheating – it invariably comes from a place of weakness.

Since I am, essentially and perpetually, an optimist who looks for the good in everything, I can say that one positive has come from this game.  Jose Mourinho has undoubtedly established himself as the villainous coach of the Premier League.  A year ago we lost Darth Ferguson.  Now we have Voldemourinho.  Anyone seen a horcrux?

This is farlieonfootie for May 3.

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