Written By Justin on Friday, March 4, 2011 | 10:56:00 AM
This one is simple. Pundits think goalkeepers are overprotected, when in fact they're not.
YouTube doesn't have a lot of clips of disallowed goals, so I can't go to the video for an example, but I'm sure you've seen this scenario: ball into the box, keeper goes up, contact, ball ends up in the net, ref disallows goal. The replay shows the striker making what looks like a fair challenge for the ball, jostling it from the keeper's hands. Cue pundit:
"That's not a foul for me. He's got every right to go for that ball."
And he does. But does he get a touch on the ball?
When two outfield players challenge for a ball in midfield, it's taken for granted that both have a "right" to challenge for it. But if one of them gets there first, gets a touch, and gets clattered by the other, then it's a foul, every time, and you'll never hear a pundit say, "He's got every right to go for that ball."
Now, there's no question that sometimes refs give goalkeepers the benefit of the doubt. We've all seen goals waved off when it turns out the keeper's own defender was the one impeding him, or the challenging striker never actually made contact. I won't attempt to defend those, except to say that every game you see refs blowing for fouls on outfield players when it turns out there was no contact. The point is that pundits need to see challenges on the keeper as they see any other challenge - the onus is on the striker to actually make contact with the ball, or make every effort to do so. If he doesn't, why wouldn't it be a foul?
Keep an ear open this weekend and let's see if we hear this complaint, and we can decide whether the challenge was fair or foul.