How many times have you heard a manager cry “take it to the corner” in an attempt to run down the clock? Countless I imagine. I have said it myself when playing and moments from a win. There is nothing more frustrating than when you are chasing the game and your opponents barricade themselves into the corner to waste those ever valuable seconds. Andy Carroll, Carlton Cole and Kevin Nolan are all masters at this trick, using their experience and strength to fend off their opponents.
The same can be said when a player feigns injury from the slightest touch and in their most ‘painful’ moment require a physiotherapist. And a stretcher. We all know how long it takes for a stretcher to be carried on; it always feels as though time has stood still. Not only does this waste time but for the team who desperately need to score, it is a means of losing momentum, and often their patience.
When a player loses their cool over time wasting it can have a disastrous affect. Just ask Edin Hazard! In a moment of madness the player hurriedly attempts to get the ball back into play during Chelsea’s semi final of the Capital One Cup, but ends up knocking the ball boy to the floor and seemingly kicking him. Game over. While his intentions were right, the Belgium international played into Swansea City’s hands. Instead of channelling his energy into trying to score, he reacted and sealed Chelsea’s fate.
Rumours have surfaced implying that Swansea had set out to waste time (and were as good as confirmed by the ball boy’s tweets) in order to protect their 2-0 lead from the first leg. Is this wrong or right?
If West Ham were narrowly beating a team and had 5 minutes on the clock, what would you be shouting at them? Would you be encouraging them to run down the clock or urging them into another attack that may leave them open for a quick counter attack? I know what I would choose. I would want big Andy or Mo in the corner shielding the ball, and Nolan completing a cheeky flick off of the defender to earn us a corner. But is this experience or bad gamesmanship?