Features, articles and opinions on football’s biggest stories | www.downinthebox.co.uk
Vintage weekend goal selection prompted a welcome & classic debate With the dirty linen that goes with political and monetary interest in football washed as much in public as it is in the boardroom these days, football can often be open to accusations of losing sight of itself. Last week, making the headlines was Heather Rabbatts’ criticism of the make up of the FA commission tasked with curing England’s football ills while England players lined up to defend boss Roy Hodgson after he became the centre of a race row, if one that while threatening to spark, failed to ignite. Thankfully, too. Vincent Tan’s intrusions on the inner machinations at Cardiff City (whether or not as owner that is wholly his prerogative, regardless of what you think of his actions, is a debate for another day) to has been back page news as has Sir Alex Ferguson’s revealing autobiography, released not too late for a Christmas splurge and early enough for David Moyes to put right any destabilising effect it might have on his squad. All noteworthy stories in their own right, those involving the FA commission and Vincent Tan should concern supporters of England, Cardiff City and others alike. But among the storms and sideswipes, England’s World Cup qualification was almost forgotten. That was a job well done, and last weekend, domestic leagues around Europe returned after an almost two week’s hiatus. Controversy loomed its ugly and inescapable head. With the number of matches available to consume from home and abroad, there’s bound to be the odd ghost goal or officiating
There were many top-drawer goals last weekend
misdemeanour . Its inevitability is inarguable. For the first time in what seemed a blue moon though, the debate’s raging online, offline and on air were not about the usual tired arguments. This time it was the ultimate football classic, which goal was better? The choice was varied to say the least. For Rabbatts, Tan and Greg Dyke; read Pajtim Kasami, Jack Wlshere, Stephanie Roche, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and er, the Barnsley Under 18 team. This is real football debate. Indulging in nostalgic comparison is bliss, likening Kasami’s on-the-move chest control and cross-goal volley to that of Marco Van Basten or Stephanie Roche’s impudent flick and unerring volleyed finish for Irish women’s side Peamount United to something more akin to the Dennis Bergkamp back catalogue. It too, is a simple pleasure and a celebration of the technique and skill that serves to illuminate what is a simple game.
Kasami and Roche’s efforts made something out of nothing in stunning fashion while Imbrahimovic’s goal for PSG against Bastia was similar. From a poor cross, all that could of have been asked of the Swede was to do his best. The best And what of Arsenal’s sublime team goal? An example of fluid, one touch football and intelligent running was a joy to behold. Amongst a catalogue of photos that have emerged over the weekend, of despairing goalkeepers stranded, looking forlorn as dipping volleys flew over them and under the bar, the best image of all was that of the cluster of Norwich defenders stood, bamboozled and beaten as Wilshere latched onto Oliver Giroud’s pass. Hat tips too to Yohan Cabaye, Edison Cavani, Steve Sidwell, Barnsley’s kids and former U’s striker Ian Henderson for their efforts on a vintage weekend for goals. It prompted a classic debate, and an altogether welcome one, as fans have had to get used to more bureaucracy than belters dominating newspaper back pages. Which one was your favourite?