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Don't Believe Everything that You Read

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According to the Guardian chalkboards, this is how Chelsea scored their third goal against Blackpool on September 19th, 2010:

Figure 1: Chelsea's third goal against Blackpool at Stamford Bridge. Courtesy Guardian Chalkboards.

Essentially this is telling you that after some faffing about in the midfield, Florent Malouda passes to Didier Drogba. Drogba then ran the ball (that's the dashed grey line) 60 yards into the Blackpool area before scoring.

Here's what I had to say about that goal after watching the tape:

Malouda is in possession in the centre circle after being fed by Alex. He's under no pressure, but opts to slide the ball to Mikel, a few yards to his right. Mikel has spotted Ashley Cole's long run forward and plays a 50 yard pass to the edge of the Blackpool area. Cole brings down the long ball with the outside of his right boot, turning the defender and buying himself a few feet of space. Slightly off balance, he runs the ball a little towards the centre before passing to Drogba, whose back is facing the goal about 18 yards out. Drogba lets the ball run across his body before trying a ludicrous shot on the turn which seems destined to go well wide of the far post. However, the ball clips Ian Evatt and takes a large deflection into the net, wrongfooting the goalkeeper in the process.

I've emphasised the portions that the chalkboard is missing. Ignoring the contributions of Mikel and Ashley Cole is kind of a big deal, and a good reminder that our data is often imperfect, especially in such a subjective sport as football. Passes may not be passes, tackles may not be tackles - don't take information on faith alone.

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