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Why is there a D in front of the penalty area?

Hernando Fernando, Barcelona, United, City, Liverpool and well done Everton

Published on March 14th 2011.


Why is there a D in front of the penalty area?

The D in front of the penalty area has often been a mystery.

What is it for? Is it so penalty takers aren’t impeded in the run up?

Ferguson saw how Barcelona used width, put the Brazilian twins wide and got an easy win. How come the greatest living manager, Wenger, couldn’t see that? If United aren’t careful, they’ll ‘not play well’ to a load of trophies this year.

Or is it there for aesthetic reasons? It certainly makes the pitch plan more sensuous, more curvy.

But after last Tuesday the truth was revealed. The D is Barcelona’s campsite. It’s not Nou Camp, it’s Camping Nou.

Against a ridiculous set of half-men (Wilshere and Almunia excluded) Barcelona got out the picnic rug in the D, set up their barbecue, broke open some wine and occasionally went for some kick-abouts which ended in three goals.

Messi’s first, a little juggle, really got the party going. They even had a bit of a laugh by scoring for Arsenal. A sort of on-pitch rendition of the classic chant from gloating fans of “Shall we score a goal for you?”

But despite all the beautiful playmaking from Barcelona who'd want to watch it every match?

It’s automata football, soccer perfected, it’s uncanny and sort of inhuman.

Hernando Fernando loves his team to do that some times, but he also wants them to do what United did against the same sorry team from the Emirates Stadium.

There's nothing better than the swashbuckling break, the gallop from one end to the other end of the pitch in a twinkling of an eye. The clean set of heels, the burst of speed, the overwhelming blitzkrieg. Barcelona don’t this because it would inhibit them from showing off a bit in the middle and then get the firelighters out in the D and settling down for a while.

Manchester City are neither swash-buckling nor camping out in the D. They’re largely (Silva excepted) running slowly down cul-de-sacs.

A football D near Barcelona

True, this is a new City team and may need time to learn to play together, and they are in the running for a Champion’s League place, but good lord it’s laboured at present. Sluggish. And really, really dull. Did anybody see that loss in Kiev in the Europa Cup? Help.

The good news for Wembley is that both Manchester teams are coming down for the semi-final of the FA Cup after the weekend’s results. Hernando Fernando predicts it will be like Woodstock ’69: people wandering around hugging each other, a city united so to speak, peace on Earth. Maybe the two sets of fans could get a train down together?

Still unless City become more fluid in their attacks, more direct, then they will lose. They will lose as predictably as the sun sets in the West. Hey, Mancini, lighten up, if you love somebody set them free.

So City were poor against Reading, whereas United with a much changed line-up effectively brushed aside Arsenal. The latter had chances but there was an odd atmosphere in the ground of ‘oh yeah, we’ll beat these?’

Ferguson saw how Barcelona used width, put the Brazilian twins wide and got an easy win. How come the greatest living manager, Wenger, couldn’t see that? If United aren’t careful, they’ll ‘not play well’ to a load of trophies this year.

Liverpool meanwhile had the hangover of all hangovers after stuffing United on the weekend. After the parties and parades, they went to Braga in Portugal (oddly, you know, over the border in Spain, bragas means knickers - fascinating eh?). They lost 1-0 to a penalty, with a lacklustre performance. They must have been taking tips from City.

Even Dirk Kuyt’s permanent running couldn’t deliver any killer tap-ins. Good to see Spinal Tap’s Andy Carroll on the pitch though. Anybody else think he looks like a seventies rocker lost in time? Still, if he can spark up a good working relationship with Suarez, Liverpool should be in the goals next season. The question is though, whether Kenny Dalglish will regularly play two up front? Cautious man in many ways.

Finally Everton did wonderfully well: no goals against, and a stabilised position in the Premier League. No games, no worries. Well done Everton.

Maybe, given the week off they went camping together, bonding and all that. Knowing Everton though it wouldn’t have been in the D on the pitch like Barcelona. Maybe one of those campsites on the Dee. The River Dee. Llangollen is lovely this time of year.

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ADMarch 15th 2011.

Everton played the same night as the barca arsenal game, maybe your correspondent should bother to check the weeks premiership results before writing his column?

Spot OnMarch 15th 2011.

The D is at the minimum distance from the penalty spot that players must stand when a penalty kick is being taken. It is not part of the penalty area.

Hernando FernandoMarch 16th 2011.

Sorry AD, I must have been obsessing about my tortillas again. I will pay more attention next time. 1-1 against Birmingham. Poor result but apologies. Big apologies.

Patatas BravasMarch 16th 2011.

'Been obsessed' ffs.

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