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Clean sheet? 无失球

中国日报网 2022-02-25 14:06

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Reader question:

Please explain “clean sheet” in this headline (TalkSport.com, January 26, 2022): Watford have had six different managers since last Premier League clean sheet – which ended Liverpool’s 44-game unbeaten run – as Roy Hodgson replaces Claudio Ranieri as Hornets boss.


My comments:

First off, Watford and Liverpool are English Premier League football clubs – soccer clubs to Americans.

Now, time to mourn, if you’re a Watford fan.

Their beloved club had not stopped the opponent from scoring in many matches, like, for a long time.

How long?

More than two years actually. And during that hapless period, Watford sacked six managers.

Yikes.

How could that happen?

Well, you can do some research and find it all out. Here, I just want to stick to the clean sheet. Sheet refers to the score sheet, i.e. the score-keeping sheet of paper handed over to players and coaches alike after the game is over. This sheet summarizes the match in numbers, such as goals scored and goals against, number of yellow cards (for foul play) and red cards (extreme foul play, which leads to ejection from the game) and so forth.

Clean sheet?

In soccer (and hockey and other low scoring sports as well), a clean sheet refers to the fact that your opponent fails to score a single goal in the match. In other words, on the goals-against column, you see 0.

For example, 1:0 is a clean sheet. 2:0 is a clean sheet. 3:0, 4:0, 12:0 are all clean sheets. 0:0 is also a clean sheet, though not as impressive.

Why does a clean sheet mean much?

Well, it means the goalkeeper has done a good job, obviously. As a team, this means they’re playing flawless defense. Clean sheet means, to use another expression, a shutout, as if they slammed the door firmly shut and kept their opponents out.

Clean sheets are hard to come by, though – which makes a clean-sheet win all the more impressive.

Which, of course, is something Watford did not have for a long time.

Outside of sports, a clean sheet can be used to describe a fresh start. Someone coming out of prison, for example, may give yourself a clean sheet. You can put past mistakes behind and start anew and afresh.

Forget about that for the moment. Here are examples of clean sheet in the sporting sense, i.e. a perfect, unblemished, spotless record:


1. Burnley and Watford played out a dull 0-0 draw at Turf Moor in the Premier League as both sides missed a chance to claim victory in the relegation six-pointer.

On his return to management, Roy Hodgson would have been disappointed not to come away with three points, but will be proud to achieve something the Hornets had not accomplished in nearly two years.

The 74-year-old became the first Watford manager since Nigel Pearson to oversee his side keep a clean sheet.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s a result that doesn’t do much for either side with both missing out on the chance of closing the gap to fellow relegation rivals, Norwich and Newcastle.

Whilst there was a lack of quality on show, there were still moments for either side throughout the match.

In the first half, Watford came closest from a corner in which Burnley captain Ben Mee nearly converted into his own net.

The ball would have nestled into the bottom corner as well had his teammate, Aaron Lennon, not been there to scramble the ball away.

On commentary for talkSPORT, former Man City winger Trevor Sinclair highlighted the importance of sticking a player on the goal line.

“Brilliant corner, just missing that near post, keeper nowhere to be seen, and that’s how important it is to have a man on the post.”

The most controversial moment of the match came after referee Craig Pawson blew his whistle for half-time.

Watford’s players surrounded him as they believed Burnley right-back Connor Roberts handled the ball in the penalty area.

Whilst his arm was away from his body, it was very low down and he wasn’t even looking at the ball.

The decision not to award the spot-kick was correct, Sinclair believed.

“I’ve had a look at it, Connor Roberts is not looking at the ball, his hand is away from his body but is in a low position and for me, right call no penalty.”

- Roy Hodgson’s return sees Watford earn a rare clean sheet and a point against relegation rivals Burnley as new striker Wout Weghorst blanks for Clarets on debut, TalkSport.com, February 5, 2022.


2. The Russian Olympic Committee have begun their men’s ice hockey title defence with a tight 1-0 win over Switzerland in their opening game at the Winter Games in Beijing.

CSKA Moscow forward Anton Slepyshev opened the scoring with less than three seconds to go in the first period, after his cross took a huge deflection off Enzo Corvi into the back of the net.

Tensions built at the end of the first half, with a dust up between both sets of players, moments before Slepyshev went from hero to villain when he was given a four-minute penalty for a headbutt.

Switzerland failed to take advantage of the powerplay and the Russians were thankful to goalkeeper Ivan Fedotov, who kept a clean sheet with 33 saves.

Former Carolina Blue Jackets forward Gregory Hofmann, one of few players involved in the competition who have played in the NHL this season, was the most wasteful of the Swiss team - with six attempts.

ROC continue their defence against Denmark on Friday, while the USA and Canada both begin their challenge on Thursday against China and Germany respectively.

- Russians Start Men’s Ice Hockey Title Defence With Narrow Win Over Switzerland, EuroSport.com, February 9, 2022.


3. Thomas Tuchel saw his Chelsea team fight to a late 1-0 win at Crystal Palace and was pleased with the result given the quick turnaround from our time abroad, but knows there is big room for improvement in the side.

We had to wait until the 89th minute to get the winning goal through Hakim Ziyech, after the same player had earlier had a goal disallowed by VAR, and a combination of determined opponents and terrible weather in the aftermath of Storm Eunice forced the Blues to work hard for the three points at Selhurst Park.

That left Tuchel in no doubt that there is a lot more to come from this team than we saw today, even if he was pleased to have got the win and restricted Crystal Palace’s chances to a minimum at the back.

“I know that we can play better, I know that we want to play better,” he said. “We were at least solid defensively, we were disciplined.

“We told the team at half-time not to lose faith and to keep on going like in a cup game, maybe this one chance will come again and it is decisive. Keep on believing, don’t do crazy stuff and don’t take risks to allow transitions for the opponent.

“The first chance we allowed Crystal Palace was a clear foul on Christian, and okay the last one is in added time when we can defend better, but it was the only chance. We have a clean sheet and it is not the first 1-0 we have.

“We came from 30 degrees heat and had six players with a cold from the air conditioning on the plane, guys coming from the jet lag that they had in Abu Dhabi, there was no player who slept well in Abu Dhabi because of the temperature and the time difference.

“If you think we had a normal week to prepare I can just tell you it is not like this. We try to survive at the moment and you can see it. There is a lot of pressure going on if you go to the Club World Cup and if you want to win it for Chelsea. The players put a lot of pressure on themselves and we didn’t play in the Premier League for four weeks.

“It’s a huge, strange mix of a lot of reasons why I personally did not over-expect today performance-wise. Then we had some issues yesterday in training that meant Azpi and Callum went out from training. So this is where we are and it is like this.”

- Tuchel pleased with result and clean sheet at Palace, but knows there is big room for improvement, ChelseaFC.com, February 20, 2022.

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About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣   编辑:丹妮)

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