Kevin Doyle
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Kevin Doyle on VAR, winter breaks and this weekend’s games

| 06.02.2020

On VAR in the Premier League

I am personally totally against VAR but now that it is in, it is here to stay. I don’t think it benefits the Premier League whatsoever.

Football is the most popular sport in the world because it allows the fans to be passionate and to get emotional at games. They can have their own opinion during the games, ‘was it a penalty or not?’.

The fans arguing over a decision is what creates the atmosphere in the ground and now all of that is taken away whilst we sit and wait for a decision to be made. One of which, nobody knows is correct or not.

It seems as though we are trying to be like Rugby or American Football when we are neither of those things.

We are football, and the reason why it is the most popular sport in the world is down to the passion the fans show for their team. Why change and desensitise football when there was nothing wrong with it to begin with!

If they are to carry on with VAR it needs to be quicker and more efficient. If I was a striker, I would get so frustrated because you can’t even celebrate a goal without having doubts.

For what it costs, they could have allowed an extra referee at games to give the referee an extra set of eyes on the pitch and to hope that better decisions would be made as a result.

On the Premier League Winter Break

I think the winter break is great. When I was playing, if you played International football you maybe got two, three weeks off maximum at the end of the season which is not the way it should be. You need some time off to not only rest your body but most importantly your mind.

I am not sure about having the break in February as it is a good bit into the second half of the season and people are starting to count down to the final games.

I feel a month earlier would have been more beneficial. Let the players get the FA Cup third round out of the way and then go on the Winter Break for two weeks.

Apart from the timing, I think it is a good thing which I would have loved when I was playing. It is a tough long season with European and International games and Championships coming up in the summer, so the break is needed for the players to rest and recuperate.

Premier League Fixtures

Brighton v Watford, Saturday, 17:30

Heading into this game; both teams are under a lot of pressure. We are at that point in the season where every point counts, so I can see this being a cagey game.

Both teams are within touching distance of each other with Watford being in the bottom three after a massive blow last weekend.

Having been 2-0 up against Everton and then losing 3-2, they will be brewing on this all week as that win would have gotten them out of the bottom three. They need to get over this result that and move on fast!

Brighton on the other hand haven’t been performing to a high standard all season. Having signed Graham Potter in May 2019, the team’s style of play has changed, and they are still adapting to this. They are where I expect them to be for the players they have. I think it will be a tight score draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Sheffield Utd v Bournemouth, Sunday, 14:00

I think Sheffield Utd have the upper hand heading into this game. They have absolutely no pressure on them and I think they have been performing fantastically this season.

I had expected to see a drop off from them after Christmas as I didn’t think they would be able to keep that high level of performance up. But I have been pleasantly proven wrong!

I can’t see Bournemouth going to Bramall Lane and getting something out of the game. Bramall Lane is a Sheffield Utd domain, it is not a nice play to go for an away team.

But for Sheffield Utd and its players, it is a great stadium with a great atmosphere. They have the advantage of playing at home which will be intimidating for Bournemouth.

Prediction: 2-0 Sheffield Utd < My best value bet this weekend!

Man City v West Ham, Sunday, 16:30

Man City performed excellently in the first half against Tottenham last weekend. When you look at the stats, they were ahead in every department.

I think they got frustrated the longer the game went on and Spurs capitalised on this. Sometimes it doesn’t come down to what the team has done wrong, the ball just wasn’t going their way on the day.

Looking ahead to this weekend’s game, Man City are definitely the stronger side. I think this is a game West Ham need to forget about.

I see them living to fight another day, but they should concentrate on the other important games and teams around them in the table.

Prediction: 3-1 Man City


Brighton v Watford: 1-1
Sheffield Utd v Bournemouth: 2-0
Man City v West Ham: 3-1

My Five-Fold ACCA

Man City v West Ham: Man City win
Sheffield Utd v Bournemouth: Sheffield Utd win
Everton v Crystal Palace: Everton win
Blackburn v Fulham: Blackburn win
Reading v Hull City: Reading win

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Kevin Doyle

After a top-line career banging in the goals for Reading, Wolves and Colorado Rapids, former Republic of Ireland international Kevin Doyle now brings Ladbrokes his thoughts and opinions on the beautiful game.