Date:Wednesday January 9 2008
I don't know if any of you guys and gals have noticed a massive flaw in cup competitions featuring the away goals rule?
It first crossed my mind a couple of seasons when we were eliminated from the Carling cup in the very same stage of the competition our young guns are attempting to navigate this evening.
After a 1-0 defeat at the JJB courtesy of a header from life long Gooner Paul Scharner, Mr Wenger fielded a rather strong side at Highbury, giving a rare league cup start to a certain Thierry Henry.
The afforementioned captain duly nodded home a header in the first half after some neat play by English, yes that's English right back Kerrea Gilbert.
With normal time over and both teams having scored one goal and kept a clean sheet, extra time beckoned. In the second half of extra time Robin van Persie smashed home one of the best free-kicks you're ever likely to see in front of a joyous North Bank, and it appeared Arsenal's route to the final had been secured.
However with seconds remaining, Jason Roberts had other idea's. The big centre forward slotting home and sending the rapturous Wiganers on a rare trip to a cup final on the away goals rule.
Many fans prefer to play the first leg of a two legged tie away from home, offering that knowing exactly what you need to do in your home leg as a distinct advantage, but that is just a matter of opinion.
The fact is that playing away from home in the second leg holds an actual, statistical advantage. When a team plays the first leg away from home, the maximum amount of playing time afforded to score an away goal is 90 minutes plus injury time. That's it, once the final whistle blows there are no more chances. However, should the second leg finish with the exact same scoreline as the first (with the away team having already completed the same 90 minutes away from home as their opponents) the away side are then given an additional 30 minutes in which to bag an away goal, leaving the home side whatever time remains to score 2.
Seems unfair, no?
If the draws for the semi finals were made with the teams seeded then the competition's officials may be able to explain this one away, but they aren't, the draws are made completely at random.
Arsenal may benefit from this massive oversight over the course of our two legged semi-final with arch rivals Totteringham Hotspur, but that doesn't make it right.
And yes......I am bored today :)
Date:Wednesday January 9 2008
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