Wednesday, 21 September 2011

AR Positioning and Tight Calls

Assistant Referees are expected to perform their duties diligently, especially because high precision is needed.

The following incidents from two EPL matches played on Sunday 18 September 2011— the first being Manchester United against Chelsea and the second being Fulham against Manchester City — demonstrate the fine line between making good calls and making poor decisions.

Two Tight Calls and Two Poor Decisions

The match between Manchester United against Chelsea finished 3—1. Here are the freeze frames of two incidents which each resulted in goals scored by Manchester United:

In the 8', Chris Smalling of Manchester United (red #12) scored Manchester United's first goal from an offside position (he is the offside player nearest the AR).

In the 37', Nani of Manchester United (red #17, player nearest the AR) scored the second goal from being in an offside position when the ball was flighted to him from United's defence.

Two Tight Calls and Two Good Decisions

The match between Fulham against Manchester City finished 2—2. City felt aggrieved in not getting all 3 points (because City's Dzeko was fouled moments before Fulham's Danny Murphy scored the equalizer in the 75'), however it could have been a lot worse for City if the AR had not had an excellent match to allow two really tight and perfectly legitimate goals to stand. Here are the freeze frames:

In the 18', Aguero of Manchester City (red/black #16) scored Manchester City's first goal. Although extremely tight, Aguero was not offside.

In the 45+1', Aguero of Manchester City scored City's second goal. Again, Aguero was not offside.

In some ways, ARs are under more pressure than Referees because their performances are usually always judged by video review. Also having the crowd "on their back" (i.e. criticizing match officials in real time), plus the fact that the vast majority of spectators are not in the best position to precisely see the line, is a good test of the AR's mettle.

The incidents above demonstrate the fine line between making good calls and poor decisions. Granted, some luck is needed in extremely tight decisions but ARs can make their own good luck by first ensuring that they are in the right place at the right time. AR's need to be in the correct position in order to make good calls.

Note: Incidentally, an earlier Post about an EPL match in August means that Manchester United have now benefited from scoring at least 3 goals that should have been called offside. Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United has not complained about the poor officiating or poor ARs. However, as sure as the sun rises, later on in the season when tight offside calls go against Manchester United, we can be certain that there will be uproar and outrage aimed at the match officials.

1 comment:

  1. Just to follow up on my Note.
    It took a couple of months, but as predicted Sir Alex Ferguson has indeed complained about the poor officiating and poor ARs ... precisely because it went against his team (here is the link from the Daily Mail: Fergie fumes and blasts part-time linesman for not watching the game).

    Other related posts are Below the Belt and Throwing Your Toys Out Of The Pram.