Aston Villa today drew 1-1 with Leeds United. A lot happened in the match, and the most talked-about incident was the goal that Leeds scored to take the lead. After Jonathan Kodjia had fallen to a foot injury, Tyler Roberts continued player - dropping his shoulder to launch a pass after motioning that he was going to put the ball out of play. His pass found Mateusz Klich who was able to score. Leeds Manager Marcelo Bielsa agreed to allow Villa to score an instant equaliser
Let’s focus on that. ‘Most talked-about’. When something like this happens in football, clips of it are shared far and wide. This attracts takes and these takes are the most annoying thing about the event - especially when they are spouted by people who are refusing to acknowledge the context of the situation and state how correct they are when in actual fact, they didn’t watch the match thus would not be able to understand why people are upset with the goal.
Imagine there was a shithead President of the United States and for the majority of his reign he had been a shithead doing shithead things. Then he does one good thing, like make Chicken Wings free on Friday or something dumb (but so very good). I would maybe tweet “Hey, President Shithead is so good! What a man!” which would no doubt upset the citizens of the United States who are suffering under his rule. I have tweeted my take without acknowledging the context. While free chicken wings are good - they aren’t as good as not being kicked in the teeth every single day by President Shithead. My take is bad and I’ve simply made my take to offer my take. This is Twitter we are talking about. What did you, or I, expect - but context is incredibly important. We need context so we can understand. Asking why Villa are so upset with the goal is an odd flex to have if you aren’t in possession of the context of the incident. Some of the takes and tweets about the goal are more annoying than the goal in the first place.
The reason Aston Villa were upset with Leeds is not necessarily because they didn’t kick the ball out of play when a Villa player was down on the pitch injured. It’s because less than ten minutes earlier, Leeds United demanded that Villa kick the ball out of play during a Villa attack because their player was down on the pitch. Villa did so and now we have this - a situation in which Leeds United scored because they didn’t return the favour. Boo-hoo! That’s why the Villa players kicked off, and that’s why the bench blew up. Villa were angry that the courtesy that was paid towards Leeds was not repaid by Leeds. In fact, everyone was so certain that Tyler Roberts was going to kick the ball out of play that they stopped playing. This included the referee and linesman, who missed the fact that Klich was offside when the pass was played in. Because Roberts motioned to pass the ball out of play, he gained an advantage that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.
Cheating doesn’t necessarily mean you break a written rule, nor does it mean that you a bad person. Sometimes, cheating is downright necessary. However, to understand the ‘cheating’ that took place in the Leeds vs Villa match we have to acknowledge the context. Nobody is doing that in their discourse and that’s the frustration. The annoyance that ‘DrogbaTekkers’ can log on two hours after the game has finished, quote tweet a video stating that Villa should have played to the whistle, pull the pin on that grenade and launch it down their Twitter feed.
That’s not wrong. Villa should have played to the whistle, but missing out why Villa didn’t play to the whistle is cutting out a valid portion of the incident. It’s easy to point out that Villa didn’t play to the whistle and had a tantrum because Leeds scored. We don’t have that context and we’re all getting played just a little bit by content accounts and football influencers who have cut out a forty-second portion of a ninety-minute match. We’re all going to lose in that situation.
However, we won’t be losing any games in dramatic circumstances if Villa can learn a lesson - that sometimes, courtesy isn’t repaid in a football match because it doesn’t have to be. Play to the whistle!