Manchester City 2 – 1 West Ham on 1st May 2011 saw a goal which required further clarification.
In the build up to Manchester City’s second goal at Eastlands, a brilliant one-two from Pablo Zabaleta and David Silva found the Argentinean racing towards the West Ham byline with a couple of people waiting for a pull-back. In crossing, Zabaleta caused confusion amongst the Hammers’ defence and caused Lars Jacobsen to rifle in from six yards. A dream of an own-goal rattling the cross bar. Or is it? Can Zabaleta claim a goal? Was the ball going in anyway? Where was Super Mario and his tungsten tips?
We are more than happy to oblige. Remember, the Committee’s decision is final…
The own goal. The curse of the defender. People are far too easy to apportion blame to defenders at all costs, when their athletic endeavour to clear a goalbound effort should be applauded. I can never understand when people criticise failed goal-line clearances, as the defender’s postioning and anticipation has got them in the right place in the first instance. Jacobsen did everything he could with a ball sent in the ‘corridor of uncertainty’. He almost got it over the bar, which would have been no mean feat (Kanu aside). Endeavour here goes a long way, and surely it would have been tapped in at the back post anyway?
Verdict: Zabaleta’s goal
As a fellow full back I feel sorry for Jacobsen. What do you do in this situation? To be able to put it over the bar from a yard is something only the likes of 68 year-old Kanu can do… You are playing full back for a reason, you don’t have the skills of such international greats. What would I have done in that situation? Back-heeled out of the box obviously. But modern footballers don’t have the speed of thought that an accountant like me has… Anyhow, the ball was going to hit the post and rebound to Balotelli anyway, so this was definitely not Zabaleta’s goal. Superb finish from Jacobsen. Not even England favourite Rob Green could get close to it.
Verdict: Jacobsen own goal
It’s very hard to remain neutral in these debates and not be influenced by your feelings for one player or another, the case in question involves Pablo Zabaletta and Lars Jacobsen. Zabaletta first; I don’t like him, I can’t put my finger on why, there’s just something about him, perhaps Scholes thinks the same and that’s why he decided to boot brand his thigh in the FA cup Semi-final at Wembley? So I’m less inclined than normal to award a goal to defender who clearly should get the goal under Clause 3.1 of The Dubious Goals Committee rule book “If the ball is struck by an attacking player and is deemed by The Committee to be “goal bound” before a deflection from an opposition player, then the goal should be awarded to the attacking player, as the deflection is deemed not to have influenced the shot reaching the goal”. However, when an own goal can be awarded to Jacobsen, who was signed by my beloved Everton to fill the perceived problem position of right back, I am left with a tough decision. I love Tony Hibbert’s ‘sand irons’ down the line as much as the next man, but perhaps some composure would be nice. Instead we got Jacobsen – what is it about Scandinavian players that can look amazing playing for their country yet utter tripe for their clubs? Linderoth, Kroldrup, Myhre, Alexandersson, to name just a few who have fallen foul of this affliction playing for the Mighty Blues. Jacobsen left having looked average in every appearance, delivered nothing and only proved that the occasional ‘sand iron’ down the line is better than a sand iron out for a throw in. I dislike most people who leave Everton, but if they leave because they were shite then I just dislike them because they were shite and therefore encourage bad things to happen to them.
Verdict Jacobsen own goal
I’m normally of the opinion, in the line with Clause 3.1, that the goal should always be awarded to the attacking player if the ball is clearly going to go in, with or without intervention from the defender. On my first viewing, I wasn’t entirely sure that Zabaleta’s cross/shot was going to go in at the far corner and thus Jacobsen’s unsuccessful attempt to clear the ball should result in the goal being awarded as an own goal. However, after seeing replays I’m pretty sure Zabalata would have scored and if I put myself in his shoes, I would definitely be claiming the goal as my own.
Verdict: Zabaleta’s goal
A very well worked Man City goal, Pablo Zabaleta gives the ball to David Silva who plays a sublime pass to find Zabaleta’s continued run. I’ve always adhered to the ruling that if the shot is on target, then it doesn’t matter what the defending player does. If I were to ever delicately glance a header at goal, in a quarter final, and the defender powers the ball with his head passed his own goalkeeper, then I’m claiming it.
My verdict – Zabaleta’s goal
The Dubious Goals Committee Decision: Goal awarded to Pablo Zabaleta / Scandinavians are rubbish at Everton / Strikers are greedy