Thursday 1 November 2012

Which Offside?

With the media focused on "inappropriate and racist language" involving Chelsea players and referee Mark Clattenburg, this incident sticks with the football during the EPL match between Chelsea and Manchester United on Sunday 28 October 2012. The match finished 2—3. There were 5YC and 2 RC (one for R5, one for R7).

In the 75' with the score tied at 2—2 but with Chelsea (blue) down to 9 men, Man Utd (red) scored the winning goal. Here are the freeze frames:

Man Utd's Mexican Javier Hernandez (red) has come from an offside position to steer the ball into the goal

However, is there a case for an earlier offside just moments before? 

Is Hernandez (red) in an offside position?

Granted, it is extremely tight and one that is difficult for the AR to call. However, it is hoped that the top ARs are trained and focused enough to be able to make these tight calls, or at least get these calls more right than wrong.

Prior to the Chelsea and Man Utd big match was the 219th Merseyside as Everton hosted Liverpool earlier on the same day. The match finished 2—2. There were 7YC (remarkably, a caution for Everton captain Phil Neville for simulation … when all the pre-match focus was on Luis Suarez's reputation as a diver!).

In the 90'+4' Liverpool's Luis Suarez scores a goal, but it is disallowed for offside. Here are the freeze frames:

This is a very poor call by the AR. 

Suarez is denied the winning goal.

The Everton fan (top right) has just 'blown a kiss' to the AR for raising his flag. How much was the AR affected by the noise and pressure from the home side?


Suarez is clearly aggressive and intimidating in his 'questioning' of the AR. And Perhaps referee Andre Marriner could have helped get Suarez away. However, the AR's weak response and lack of confidence do not help matters.

NOTE: match officials are taught very early on in their careers to "sell their decisions". The AR should have improved his body language and maintained his confidence throughout. Only when he is back in the dressing room can he relax, rest and reflect on his performance.

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