November 30, 2023

Tottenham playing on the halfway line with nine players was just extraordinary. I’d never seen anything like it. But Ange Postecoglou should have changed tactics.

Nicolas Jackson happy to bag first Chelsea hat-trick after difficult start.

When it gets down to the last 15 minutes or so and it’s still 1-1, then you’ve got to change it. The clock moves a lot quicker with 15 or 20 minutes to go in the final part of the game. Sit nine behind the ball and make it very difficult for Chelsea.

I like Postecoglou and he probably thought Chelsea were going to score in the second half playing against 10 men, so it’s pointless going out with a whimper, playing 10 behind the ball and never looking like scoring a goal.

But sooner or later Chelsea had to find that pass in behind. It was very easy. If that was Man City playing Tottenham it would have been 10-1 at least.

Chelsea should have worked it out a lot quicker. That was worrying. I didn’t think it was clever the way they played in the second half. It was there to score five, six, seven goals. But that’s what happens when you’ve got a young team without experience.

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The Tottenham players gave absolutely everything. They got beaten 4-1 at home in a big London derby and the fans are still clapping them off the pitch. Those players are playing for the manager and taking on board what he says.

‘Former pros can help VAR’

I keep on going back to it and people need to understand that we need to get someone up there in VAR that has played the game. It doesn’t have to be a world-class Premier League player, someone from League One or Two. It’s no good knowing the laws without knowing the game.

Every decision in that game could have been sorted in 10 seconds. Former Premier League referee Mike Dean was on Soccer Saturday last week and he said something that worried me immensely. He said it doesn’t matter how long it takes as long as we get the right decision. Even when it’s so obvious they’re going to check a hundred times.

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They’ve got to be a lot quicker. They’re so nervous now about getting it wrong that it’s becoming a bit too much. These ones were pretty obvious. If someone else is up there, they’re getting it right in seconds. Gary Neville on commentary called every one of them straight away.

Why would you have to look at the Cristian Romero red card seven times? He’s gone through Enzo Fernandez and hurt him.

VAR got it right bar one – Destiny Udogie’s tackle on Raheem Sterling. Even though he doesn’t break his leg, it’s still a red card. Udogie’s off the floor and comes with two legs. He’s lost control. You’ve got to have common sense. It can’t be that he didn’t touch him so it’s not a red card. It’s a sending-off.

The Romero kick-out was petulant. That could be a booking. It wasn’t as bad as Antony’s one on Jeremy Doku in the Manchester derby last week.

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Jackson is a rough diamond but has guts

Nicolas Jackson could have scored seven! If he had shooting boots on they’d have given another match ball to him. But what I like about him is he keeps on getting in the positions to score. That takes a lot of guts.

Believe it or not, those are the hard ones he scored where the ball comes across and everyone thinks they’re easy. He kept on breaking his neck to get into the box. Fair play to him.

He’s a rough diamond. He gets his hat-trick and then he balloons one over the bar in the final minute. Anyone else would have taken a touch and then finished it or rolled it to Cole Palmer to score. There’s still a lot to work on.

But you’re better off being a forward that comes off the pitch with a hat-trick having missed a couple than not looking like scoring in a month of Sundays. That’s when you worry.

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