Steve McManaman labels West Brom defender as ‘dishonest’ after Man City loss

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid star Steve McManaman brandished West Brom’s Craig Dawson as “dishonest”, while working as a pundit for BT Sport, after the defender failed to admit he was the one who committed a foul.

Gareth McAuley was wrongly sent off in the second minute by referee Neil Swarbrick during the Premier League defeat to Manchester City on Saturday – a decision that has sparked huge debate.

In a discussion during the post-match analysis, both Steve McManaman and David James argued about Dawson’s lack of admission.

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When asked if the referee is to blame for the incident, James said, “allow the referee to be human and make a mistake, and then we’ll talk about it afterwards.”

McManaman went on to suggest that Dawson should have approached the referee and admitted that he committed the foul. The confusion comes as to what offence the referee is brandishing the card for.

Wilfried Bony was brought down by Dawson outside the box and then tackled inside the box by McAuley in the same series. Yet the referee gave a free kick outside the box and sent off McAuley.

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But should Craig Dawson have admitted he was at fault? If the ban is rescinded, both Dawson and McAuley will avoid a suspension, so maybe not owning up has benefitted West Brom.

This isn’t the first time this type of incident has happened, as Wes Brown was wrongly sent off for a foul on Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao at Old Trafford a few weeks ago when referee Roger East should have sent off John O’Shea instead.

Arsenal fans will also remember the time when Kieran Gibbs was sent off instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at Stamford Bridge in March 2014.

But should the guilty player involved admit to his foul? Should Craig Dawson have admitted the foul, and should referees be allowed to use footage to assist in officiating?

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Michael Owen claims Crystal Palace duo are two of the best in the league – is he right?

Whilst commentating on the lunchtime kickoff between Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers, BT Sport commentator and pundit, Michael Owen made a bold statement regarding two of the Palace players.

During commentary, Owen stated that, in his opinion, Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha are “two of the better wingers in the Premier League”.

Regarding this comment, we take a look at stats and see whether the former England strikers is right.

Bolasie and Zaha have been important for Crystal Palace in recent weeks as they fight off relegation. Both were instrumental in the 3-1 win at home to QPR on Saturday, and are huge part of Alan Pardew’s plans going forward.

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But despite their solid form, there may be more effective wingers in the Premier League. Especially when you consider Palace are in the bottom half of the table.

The comment was made at a time when Palace were 3-0 up during the game and were dominating a defensively weak QPR side who are in the relegation zone. So are his comments justified?

From the statistics table we have created below (using the Squawka comparison matrix) you can see for yourself how the Palace duo compare to selected other star wide men.

Statistic Yannick Bolasie Wilfried Zaha Alexis Sanchez Eden Hazard Nacer Chadli Christian Eriksen Raheem Sterling Stewart Downing
Matches Played

25

22

25

27

25

28

26

27

Minutes Played

2005

1263

2089

2386

1637

2297

2239

2412

Goals 

2

1

13

10

8

9

6

5

Assists

6

2

7

6

5

2

7

8

Successful take ons (per game)

2.40

2.14

3.79

4.6

1.32

1.37

3.22

0.75

Chances Created (per game)

1.44

0.41

2.71

2.79

1.81

2.63

2.33

2.65

Key Passes (per game)

1.20

0.32

2.41

2.56

1.54

2.55

2.05

2.35

The table above can be misleading however. As a ‘winger’, Zaha and Bolasie do hold their width and rarely drift infield. Whereas, others like Christian Eriksen and Raheem Sterling do drift infield.

The main statistic that aids Owen’s argument is the successful take ons completed by the Palace duo. Both Zaha (2.14 successful take ons per game) and Bolasie (2.40 successful take ons per game) match up quite well with the elite wingers of the league.

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However, using the statistics, we can safely say that are better wingers in the Premier League than Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha in terms of productivity.

What do you make of Michael Owen’s comments? Who do you think is the best winger in the Premier League?

Groundbreaking TV deal will see MLS shown live in UK twice per week – report

The day has finally come. Major League Soccer is set to be shown live on television in the UK on a weekly basis in a move that will help the league grow enormously.

ESPN’s Taylor Twellman revealed the news on Twitter today as he tweeted: “Big news here at the MLS broadcast meetings that Sky Sports will carry two games per week”.

MLS signed a huge TV deal for coverage in the United States last year and now live coverage is set to extend across the Atlantic to the UK.

Sky Sports are the country’s number one sports broadcaster and currently show live coverage of the Premier League, Champions League, English Football League, Scottish football, Spanish football and Dutch football’s Eredivisie action.

Sky Sports Logo Pitchside

Sky Sports are the UK’s biggest sports broadcaster

 

Showing two MLS games per week will seriously improve the number of MLS fans from abroad, and will show UK football lovers just how good a league MLS has become.

BT Sport are Sky Sports’ biggest rival and they showed any MLS action last year but the failure to cover live games on a regular basis halted any growth from across the pond.

Sky show three Premier League games per week so to have two MLS matches shows they are taking the league seriously.

Recently retired New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry recently joined Sky Sports as a pundit and the Frenchman could offer analysis and insight if Sky have their own broadcast team in place.

Thierry Henry as a pundit on Sky Sports (via Sky Sports)

Thierry Henry as a pundit on Sky Sports (via Sky Sports)

it’s unclear what sort of times games will be shown on Sky Sports as some matches could start in the early hours of the morning. But that hasn’t stopped incredible numbers of people watching NFL action from here in the UK in recent years and MLS will hopefully garner the same support.

We’ll bring you more details when they are revealed by the league and/or by Sky Sports. But this is looking like a major breakthrough for MLS.

How important is live coverage in the UK for the growth of MLS?

UK TV coverage must increase for MLS to thrive abroad

Major League Soccer is continuing to grow at a rapid rate, and plenty of football fans in the UK are having their heads turned by the growth of soccer in the US.

The playoffs are fast approaching, and the post-season games this year should be the most watched in the history of the league, but there is still so much more than can be done in the UK to increase the popularity of MLS.

Television coverage in the UK is not good enough at the moment, and although BT Sport show some of the action from across the pond, soccer on the big screen in Britain gets nowhere near as much coverage as leagues across Europe get.

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The kick-off times for many matches make it difficult to attract large audiences, yes, but that does not mean that regular games cannot be screened live.

MLS in America has been given a major TV boost stateside as the new television deal that was announced earlier this season is reportedly worth an estimated $90 million per year – three times more than the previous deal.

Major League Soccer is undoubtedly here to stay, and the league will continue to grow, both in terms of teams and in terms of viewing figures around the globe, and UK fans deserve better coverage.

A weekly highlights show is a must. Match of the Day attracts millions of viewers in Britain every week to watch highlights from across the Premier League, and many European leagues have highlights shows on either Sky Sports or BT Sports through the week to keep fans updated with everything that’s going on.

With Frank Lampard set to start his MLS career with New York City FC in March, more UK football fans will start paying attention to the league, but it must be easier to do so.

The NFL is rapidly growing in popularity in Britain, and a weekly highlights show on Channel 4 keeps fans up to date with all the action in the most simple way possible, and MLS deserves to be treated the same way from next year.

BT Sport are more than likely to retain MLS coverage next year, and a weekly highlights show would go a long way to helping the league gain more and more fans from the other side of the pond.

Does Major League Soccer need a weekly highlights show in the UK?

MLS in UK given boost with BT Sport showing live coverage tonight

BT Sport will show live coverage of tonight’s game between Toronto FC and New York Red Bulls as Major League Soccer continues to grow on both sides of the Atlantic.

MLS announced a new TV deal just a week ago, which will give a huge boost to MLS coverage in the United States, and now UK coverage is improving too.

BT Sport have been showing 60-minute highlights of MLS games a day or so after the game has finished, but this is not the sort of coverage that will boost its popularity.

Now that European domestic leagues are all but over, BT have turned their attention to MLS and have four live games scheduled over the next month, starting tonight.

Toronto host New York in the first MLS game of the weekend, and UK viewers can watch it all live on BT Sport 2 from 21:30.

Jermain Defoe is a doubt for the game with a slight hamstring problem, but if he plays he will face Thierry Henry for the first time since the two played against each other in the North London Derby, for Tottenham and Arsenal respectively.

You can read our preview on the site, but how do you think the game will go tonight?