@Football365

Sorry Jose, but ‘luck’ has no place in football…

12 months ago, 3 Jan 12:52

By: Sarah Winterburn

José Mourinho has been talking a lot about luck lately: Bristol City were ‘lucky’ to defeat Manchester United in the Carabao Cup, and United have been ‘unlucky’ in recent referee decisions. But whatever the merits of those particular claims, they raise the genuine issue of what luck really is in football. Having a few weeks ago looked at the way we say teams ‘deserve’ a result, let’s take the next step and look at the even more controversial topic of luck. People are all over the spectrum on this one, and can get very vehement defending their positions. What exactly is luck in football? Oddly enough, the situation where luck is most frequently invoked is a place where most would say it plays little or no part. I’m talking about the woodwork, of course. When a shot rattles the post or the crossbar, or even both, we’re likely to hear how ‘unlucky’ the shooter was, perhaps even ‘desperately unlucky’. But if you hit the frame, you’ve missed the target, and although air currents can affect the flight of the ball, in most cases it’s no one’s fault but your own. ‘Unlucky’ in this context is probably just traditional British sportsmanship. Growing up watching golf tournaments on TV, I remember so well the magnificent Henry Longhurst gravelly uttering ‘bit of bad luck there’ as an ill-directed 3-iron shot buried itself in a sand trap. Might as well be charitable to the guy who’s got his head in his hands. At the other end of the spectrum, there are places where we probably can all agree luck is the determinant. One is scheduling. The computer is omnipotent, and if you happen to get Everton under Sam Allardyce instead of David Unsworth, all you can do is get on with it (and make excuses in the post-game press conference). Similarly, you may get to face Manchester United without Paul Pogba…but the case isn’t so clear here. If it’s because he did something to his hamstring, maybe your club has a better fitness regime and is less likely to have players out. If it’s because he got a red card, maybe your players are better disciplined. Those are things you can control to a degree. But you can’t control the ref, of course. If Fernando Llorente is halfway to Cardiff and the flag still stays down, as happened Tuesday evening at the Liberty Stadium, there’s nothing you can do except get on with it again (and make excuses in the post-game press conference). Another place where luck rules the roost. And yet…there’s another kind of play for which we hear “he’s given the ref a decision to make”, and for a very good reason. If Dejan Lovren puts his hands on a striker’s back in the area, he’s risking a penalty-kick. And he knows it, too. When Raheem Sterling bumped Wilfried Zaha this past weekend, he had to know the striker would go down on slight contact. And yes, even when Calum Chambers put ...
Read More


Category: sports football

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@Football365

Sorry Jose, but ‘luck’ has no place in football…

12 months ago, 3 Jan 12:52

By: Sarah Winterburn
José Mourinho has been talking a lot about luck lately: Bristol City were ‘lucky’ to defeat Manchester United in the Carabao Cup, and United have been ‘unlucky’ in recent referee decisions. But whatever the merits of those particular claims, they raise the genuine issue of what luck really is in football. Having a few weeks ago looked at the way we say teams ‘deserve’ a result, let’s take the next step and look at the even more controversial topic of luck. People are all over the spectrum on this one, and can get very vehement defending their positions. What exactly is luck in football? Oddly enough, the situation where luck is most frequently invoked is a place where most would say it plays little or no part. I’m talking about the woodwork, of course. When a shot rattles the post or the crossbar, or even both, we’re likely to hear how ‘unlucky’ the shooter was, perhaps even ‘desperately unlucky’. But if you hit the frame, you’ve missed the target, and although air currents can affect the flight of the ball, in most cases it’s no one’s fault but your own. ‘Unlucky’ in this context is probably just traditional British sportsmanship. Growing up watching golf tournaments on TV, I remember so well the magnificent Henry Longhurst gravelly uttering ‘bit of bad luck there’ as an ill-directed 3-iron shot buried itself in a sand trap. Might as well be charitable to the guy who’s got his head in his hands. At the other end of the spectrum, there are places where we probably can all agree luck is the determinant. One is scheduling. The computer is omnipotent, and if you happen to get Everton under Sam Allardyce instead of David Unsworth, all you can do is get on with it (and make excuses in the post-game press conference). Similarly, you may get to face Manchester United without Paul Pogba…but the case isn’t so clear here. If it’s because he did something to his hamstring, maybe your club has a better fitness regime and is less likely to have players out. If it’s because he got a red card, maybe your players are better disciplined. Those are things you can control to a degree. But you can’t control the ref, of course. If Fernando Llorente is halfway to Cardiff and the flag still stays down, as happened Tuesday evening at the Liberty Stadium, there’s nothing you can do except get on with it again (and make excuses in the post-game press conference). Another place where luck rules the roost. And yet…there’s another kind of play for which we hear “he’s given the ref a decision to make”, and for a very good reason. If Dejan Lovren puts his hands on a striker’s back in the area, he’s risking a penalty-kick. And he knows it, too. When Raheem Sterling bumped Wilfried Zaha this past weekend, he had to know the striker would go down on slight contact. And yes, even when Calum Chambers put ...
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