That Damned Abusive Offside Law

Written by RedArse

There are only 17 Laws of Football. The one that is the subject of this article and which makes me bristle with frustration and anger is …… Law 11, The Offside Law.


Before we can rationally discuss the pros or cons of this law we need to know what it says!

Offside Position

It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.

A player is in an offside position if:

he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.

A player is not in an offside position if:

he is in his own half of the field of play or
he is level with the second last opponent or
he is level with the last two opponents

Offence

A player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

interfering with play or
interfering with an opponent or
gaining an advantage by being in that position.

No Offence

There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from:

a goal kick or
a throw-in or
a corner kick

O.K., so they had defined Law 11; but how did it work in practice.

Following much controversy shortly after the current rule was introduced, FIFA brought out some “clarifications” or interpretations to re-define what the terminology meant, so that Referees worldwide would be consistent in their decision making. Not an auspicious beginning and the angst was to continue!

Clarification – Decision 1;

In the definition of offside position, “nearer to his opponents’ goal line” means that any part of his head, body or feet is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition.

Clarification – Decision 2;

The definitions of involvement in active play are as follows:

Interfering with play means; playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a teammate.

Interfering with an opponent means; preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent.

Gaining an advantage by being in that position means; playing a ball that rebounds to him off a post or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position.

So, despite Andy “know it all” Gray, it is not sufficient for a player to have his feet level with or behind the defender’s, if his head or torso is ahead of the defender’s body parts, he is offside!

Anyway, following last weekend’s games, I got extremely exercised at how Referees, or their Assistants, had interpreted the offside law, and in doing so, had materially affected the outcome of at least two games.

Let’s take the Spuds v Fulham game as an example. Huddlestone struck a terrific shot, from outside the penalty area, which flew thru a crowded area and over the boot of Gallas, before lodging in the back of the net.
The Assistant Ref flagged for offside, (Gallas gaining an advantage?), the Spurs players protested, and after consulting his Assistant, the Ref overturned the offside decision and allowed what turned out to be the winning goal.
After the match, ‘Arry the Twitch, said “I don’t know if it was a goal, or not, because I don’t understand the offside rules”. A furious Mark Hughes predictably said the Ref had made the wrong decision by overturning the Assistant’s decision, but agreed the Offside Law was very difficult to understand.

And that’s the crux. The Offside Law is difficult to understand or, more aptly, to apply, because it is open to each official’s subjective interpretation. Enshrined within the Law “clarification”, it declares that “in the referee’s opinion” is the major criterion, and this has to be a recipe for obfuscation. The result is that “goals” are allowed or disallowed, by different Referees/Assistants, in what are very similar circumstances, much to the frustration of Managers, players and fans, because each individual referee can make decisions, “in his opinion”. By definition, mistakes are being made, and far too frequently, because those “opinions” can be illogical.
I say this without wishing to castigate the match officials, who are doing their best in almost impossible circumstances.

The prime mover with this Law change was to promote more goal scoring opportunities (keeping TV audiences engaged?) coupled with the injunction to give the benefit of any doubt to the attacking side. Very laudable, you might think, but conversely, the large majority of the errors continue to benefit the defending side, thus negating the very purpose of the Law.

Part of the problem, of course, is that Referee’s Assistants are frequently unable to properly make offside calls because it is impossible for them to “compute” the many variations of whether or not a player is “active” or “inactive” at the precise moment his teammate touches or passes the ball, not least because the human eye often cannot physically see both the kicker and the recipient clearly because of the angle they are at, or his “line of sight” may be impeded by other players’ bodies.

It is only human nature that, if an official is unsure whether or not he has correctly worked out all the possible permutations, in the split second available, and does not want to make an embarrassing mistake, he will likely err on the side of caution by raising the “offside flag”, rather than not doing so and looking incompetent.
Why is this? Well if the official does not to flag, and wrongly allows play to continue, resulting in a goal, this will get highlighted and shown over and over again on TV, or ridiculed in the morning newspapers. The effect on the official’s career path could be terminal.

Back to my original point, that Law 11 is misunderstood and incorrectly applied. In a newspaper today, Graham Poll the ex-referee declared, in his inimitable doctrinaire style, that the Referee was correct to allow the Huddleston goal because Gallas was not in the goalkeeper’s line of sight. He made no mention of “gaining an advantage by being in an offside position”. The shot from Huddleston passed over Gallas’ foot, which must have caused Schwarzer, at least, a momentary delay in reaction simply by his being there in that position, yards in front of any defender.

What to do? The old Law 11 came into disrepute, because in major international championships, a lot of ill feeling was caused when stunning “goals” were disallowed because a team mate on the attacking side was scratching his arse in an “offside” position out on the wing.

Before the current Law came into effect, this “problem” was overcome by adding the simple sentence “unless interfering with play”.

Therefore, in the above example; under the “old” Law 11, a stunning goal would be allowed, even if the winger was “offside “whilst playing with himself, unless he was interfering with play, due to flashing.

The solution is to return to the old Law 11 rules. We all understood those simple instructions and it would demystify the current refereeing decisions, which satisfy no one!

A very Happy Birthday to Arsène Wenger.

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79 Responses to That Damned Abusive Offside Law

  1. Statics says:

    happy birthday Arsene Wenger!!

  2. Thankyou Statics – we got so excited about the offside rule that we completely forgot about Arsene’s Birthday, I’ll add it into the post now.

  3. Rasp says:

    Well done Red Arse, brilliant assessment of a completely flawed law. As you know I am in total agreement, the only thing that surprises me is that referees have not come out and condemned it.

    Happy Birthday Arsène – I guess you must be observing with detached amusement the Rooney/Fergie debacle ….. welcome to our world (the real world) manure fans

  4. Neamman says:

    Yes I agree lets go back to the old rule. I really believe that, unless you are on the other side of the pitch, anyone within 5 to 10 yards of the ball is “influencing” the actions of defenders or goalies.

  5. tommystout says:

    Yep excellent post Red, and i completely agree, we all new where we were with old offside rule… Tony & Co’s auto arms up routine. Like you say Linesmen dont have the mental capacity or the time to compute the law as it stands.
    But we may ramble, is it likely to be changed? how do we protest as fans?
    hmmmmm
    many happy returns mr wenger.

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Fine article which should be sent to the FA for consideration.

    Anyone within the penalty area must be considered to be interfering with play purely due to the GK’s need to be attentive to him.

    Initially I would have argued with the need to change the rules but having been swayed by both RA and Rasp, I am now in total agreement

  7. Red Arse says:

    Morning Guys and Gals,

    Rasp, I think the cartoon is absolutely brilliant! Far better than the article, in truth! :-)

  8. Red Arse says:

    Big Raddy,

    Was the concert (?) as good as you had hoped?

    Anyway, I am sure you would have loved all the lissome, patchouli scented maidens singing their hearts out! :-)

  9. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA,
    Excellent article. Jeepers, I had no idea how bloomin complicated this game is. Agree with you totally, and love the words of Tommystout..”Tony & Co’s auto arms up routine.”

  10. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA,
    BR’s neck hurts this morning!
    Oh, and to finish off last nights words, yes, Barbara Baker’s book!

  11. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rant friday: German sausages in the Emirates Hot Dogs.

  12. Red Arse says:

    Tommy,

    Until more fans understand the written Law 11 regulations, and not Andy Gray’s often nonsensical ramblings about it, and demand change, the Law is unlikely to be amended because “officialdom” are too scared of Bladder to object.

    Still, FIFA, (Bladder) were adamant that they would never agree to goal line technology, and now there are moves to introduce it, so there is hope yet.

  13. Red Arse says:

    Morning Micky,

    I am sorry the article was a bit of a personal rant, instigated by Mien Herr Rasp :-) but being reasonably logical, I could never understand how a “lino” looking along the line to judge which players body part is ahead of another players body part, could also see the precise moment a ball was kicked 20 or 30 yards further back.

    You are right, the game should be simple, and until we breed Assistant Linos with multifaceted eyes, akin to a fly’s, this law will have no chance of working fairly. :-)

  14. Red Arse says:

    Micky,

    I quite like German sausages, (no pun intended, in case you are going to pay me back :-) ), but I did not realise the greasy hot dogs at the Emirates were of Gerry origins.

    Can’t we produce our own greasy Hot Dogs? :-)

  15. Big Raddy says:

    Concert was great thanks, ears shot and body still quaking. Those boys sure play LOUD.

    Watch Ian Holloway on the BBC site talking about Rooney. The man is pure quality – the more I see of him the better he gets, and what he says is true. The rules of the game are decided by non-football people.

    Surely the Referees Assoc should get involved in this offside farrago

  16. Red Arse says:

    You have all been really kind to me this morning, more so than I expected, so I will take myself off to do some tax work (Yaay) and see you all later. :-)

  17. MickyDidIt89 says:

    There are a few parts to the game that will always be open to human error/interpretation. Parts you can mechanize, like goal line camera’s, others you cannot and the “is the player interfeering with play?” is one, another that hugely influences outcomes of games is the issuing of yellow/red cards.
    So, keep the laws simple, and attract the best possible personel as refs.

  18. Red Arse says:

    Agree with that BR, and I am really quite fond of old Holloway too, in a manly way ….. obviously! :-)

    Glad the concert was great!

    Later.

  19. Big Raddy says:

    I can see the difficulties with video refereeing, however I believe there is a case to be made where a team manager can make two challenges through the game as in tennis and American football, thereby reviewing game changing decisions

    The FA’s rebuttal would be that it is not possible to do this at grass root level, however in the PL rule changes are becoming essential

  20. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Regarding rule changes, I go for:
    1. Old off side laws.
    2. Goal line technology.
    3. Staight red for anyone other than Captain speaking to ref.
    4. Ban on German styley sausages at all grounds.

  21. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky,

    I’d add to that ….

    5. Put some beer in the beer

  22. Red Arse says:

    Micky, :-) :-)

    Just switching off when I saw your remarks.

    We must drop a note to the FA, especially about the sausages, although the FA will live up to their name and do sweet FA. :-)

    Definitely gone now! No more making me laugh, Micky! :-)

  23. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp,
    On a deadly serious note, I heard that beer served to English away fans at the Camp Nou is the alcohol free stuff!

  24. Rasp says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised Micky. I am absolutely sick of the double standards applied on the continent. The Ultras went out looking for pool fans before the game yesterday and 5 received stab wounds – if that happened in this country we would be banned.

    The Italian police have been known to sit back and watch our fans get a kicking and if the fans retaliate they step in and give them a kicking of their own. I’m sure the recent trouble with Serbial fans was sparked by brutal policing.

  25. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Massive fan of the English banger as I am, I must say that the very best pre-match street offering I have had, was on the way to the ground for the CL Final in Paris. The Stade de France is in a predominantly North African area, and they were selling real bbq’d Merguez Sausages (Moroccan spicy banger) in massive baguettes with chili sauce. That works very well with beer.

  26. MickyDidIt89 says:

    City will play three defensive type midfielders. How many do we go for. One or two?

  27. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp,
    You are dead right about the double standards. How Turkish and Italian teams are still around beggars belief.

  28. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I imagine the Turkish thing is more political as the EU and Nato are desparate to have them on board. A million miles from football, I know, but they are a sensitive lot!

  29. Big Raddy says:

    Don’t start me about Turkey and Romania in the EU. It will ruin my day!!

    And I would imprison anyone wearing a white shirt with a cock on/in it

  30. SharkeySure says:

    Afternoon All

    Rooney has just signed a new five year contract !!

  31. SharkeySure says:

    Grat post Red,

    “Interfering with play means; playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a teammate.”

    That is the really stupid part of it all. Gallas tried his absolute hardest to play or touch that ball!!!

  32. SharkeySure says:

    “Anyone within the penalty area must be considered to be interfering with play”

    Exactement Msr. Radders !!

  33. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Keeps Ronney’s value up. Didn’t Ronaldo sign a new one shortly before they cashed in?

  34. Barry Webb says:

    Good article.

    A request for clarification and some comments

    Clarification: What exactly does it mean when the rules say you cannot be offside from a goal kick. I have lost count of the number times I have seen a player flagged for such an offence. I’m pretty sure that in some instances, the offensive player touched the ball first without the ball having touched the ground.

    Comments: I find the offside law more frustrating than difficult to understand. And that primarily stems from the interpretation by the officials inherent in the law. Even a reversion to the old law 11 still requires the officials to make a determination as to whether a player is interfering with play.

    I didn’t see the Spurs goal against Fulham but, in my opinion, if Gallas was entirely passive i.e. didn’t make a move for the ball, and so long as he’s not standing directly in front of the keeper, then it’s a goal.

    Also, one of the missing elements for being onside is missing. Providing the playing has not become active from an offside position, then you cannot be offside if you are behind or level with the ball.

    I understand the difficulty the assistant referees have in determining close offside decisions but providing they stay level with the last defender (as they are required to do) and keep an eye on the ball (as a typical forward also has to do), their experience should be able determine what the relative positions of the players were when the ball was kicked within a foot. Decisions that are so close that can only be determined by multiple TV replays and are called correctly are more by luck than judgment. And this problem applies with the current law 11 and it’s previous incarnation.

    No discussion of the generally misunderstood element of “being played onside”???

  35. Big Raddy says:

    What a total plum that man Rooney is.

    Likely scenario …. Rooney’s agents. “Give us a €10m signing fee for a 5 year contract or he walks. That way MU get a huge sell-on fee in a year and we get our requirements met. Or there will be a rider in the contract that Rooney gets a percentage of any sale and a guarantee of top earner at the club (starting wage 120k p.w.+)”

    MU. “OK and we will take the flak”

    SHOW ME THE MONEY……..

  36. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Going to be a bunch of happy campers up there, then. Lets remember that SAF is not a massive player in the forgive-and-forget league!

  37. Big Raddy says:

    Barry. Fine comment. Are you a ref?

  38. ONOWU TOP GUNNER says:

    They know exactly what they were doing . They refuse to introduce goal line technology because they cheat & robb who they want to robb any time. The ref knows exactly the interpretation of the offside rule they only claim to be ignorant when it is against thier teams

  39. Barry Webb says:

    Big Raddy, now there’s a name to conjure with.

    No, but I have reffed (is that even a word?) my girls games when the ref didn’t turn up! Even with little kids and 30 minute halfs, it’s incredibly difficult. You have to concentrate all the time.

    Like most fans, I’ve picked up the rules as I’ve gone along with the usual amount of hard-to-shift misconceptions! The fact is, there are very few rules to learn and, most surprisingly, there have been very few rules changes that effect open play since the establishment of the initial rules by the home countries.

  40. ONOWU TOP GUNNER says:

    They know exactly what they were doing . They refuse to introduce goal line technology because they cheat & robb who they want to robb any time. The ref knows exactly the interpretation of the offside rule they only claim to be ignorant when it is against thier teams. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE PROF ARSENE KNOWS

  41. Rasp says:

    Hi Barry and welcome,

    To answer your question, Gallas was standing in front of the keeper. The rule is too subjective. If Gallas had made as if to kick the ball and sold the keeper a dummy, would that be construed as interfering with play I wonder?

  42. Steve Palmer says:

    Very good blog,every body can tell you, when this has happened to their team, whoever you support, in my eyes this rule is only there for one reason, so officials can decide who wins and who loses, and what does that mean, yea your getting the point now fixing, make it fair for all, try changing that cheating law and bringing in goaline technology you would be suprised who wins the trophys

  43. rockylives says:

    Great rant Redders.
    Would it simplify the interfering/not interfering issue if the rule simply said that anyone in the penalty area is automatically deemed to be interfering with play. That way goals scored when there’s a player scratching his arse by the corner flag in an offside position would still stand, but goals like the Spuds/Gallas one wouldn’t.
    Players outside the pen area would only be offside if they become active by participating in the move.

  44. Steve Palmer says:

    OOPs sorry Arsne Happy Birthday son, You should say to thr media what i just wrote they may just take notice

  45. Rasp says:

    Hi rocky, that’s far too simple and logical :P

    I think that any player who draws an opposing defender out of position is interfering with play. The defender who is drawn out of position may have been able to intercept/prevent the pass to the player who is onside and scores.

  46. SharkeySure says:

    Yakubu;s was even worse…he was stood right down the line iodfthe ball….

    The camera behind the goal captured Reina’s view perfectly. He was left with no chance, not seeing the ball til it flew past the Yaks shoulder.

    Shocking

  47. rockylives says:

    Fair point Rasp, but that only affects first-phase play (not second-phase, ie goal chance, play) so I still think my suggestion could be a decent compromise.

    It did cross my mind to suggest abolishing the offside law altogether, but then you realise that the Stokes and Blackburns would love it: get a giant lump of a striker, stick him on the six yard box and hoof the ball into him endlessly.

  48. Neamman says:

    Rooney really had no option, where could he go? He just wised up!! But if I were a MU fan I wouldnt forgive him.
    Is the offside law an FA or a FIFA law? It seems to me that we play the same way in the CL so complaining to the FA would do….

    FA!!! :>)

  49. Red Arse says:

    HI Guys,

    When Rasp suggested I write an article on “offside” I was very reluctant as I thought I would bore the arse off everyone. But clearly the subject matter, rather than the scribing has caught your attention. What a releif! :-)

    There have been some interesting thoughts/ideas in your comments on how to improve things.

    The key part of the old Law 11, simply stated that;

    A player is in an offside position if:

    **he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.

    A player is not in an offside position if:

    **he is in his own half of the field of play or
    **he is level with the second last opponent or
    **he is level with the last two opponents

    Which is pretty much the same as the current Law, without all the “active” and “inactive” palaver.

    My suggestion that by simply adding the phrase “unless he is interfering with play” to the Offside rule, that would dispense with all the “Active” mumbo jumbo and we would all understand clearly what is or is not offside.

    In the Gallas situation mentioned above, he is offside – - and interfering with play.

    If he had been standing by the corner flag, the goal would stand because he would have been offside but – - he is not interfering with play.

    Simple and effective!

  50. Barry Webb says:

    Hi Rasp

    Passive means just that. If you make an effort to engage in play when in an offside position, you have, in my opinion and shared by many EPL referees, become active.

    Standing in front of the keeper:

    If you are in an offside position but also part of the mellay of players in the box i.e. just offside,and you make no attempt to become active, then I say that’s not interfering with play.

    If you are standing in an offside position all alone by the penalty spot and the ball if brought forward from the wing by a player that is onside, and that player shoots and scores at the near post, then it’s reasonable that the player in an offside position has influenced the play and should, by virtue of his position, be considered active. But it all depends on the exact circumstances and the best person to judge is the referee. In this instance, if the goal keeper reacted as if the offside player wasn’t there, then its a goal. In this circumstance, if the keeper reacted to the player in the offside position that facilitated the goal, then the goal could be disallowed for offside. As I’ve already said, it depends on the circumstances.

    For those old enough to remember or those lucky enough to have seen on the TV/video, Steve Heighway’s goal in the 1970-71 FA Cup Final would illustrate this scenario perfectly. Bob Wilson anticipated a ball from Heighway into the area. Instead, he scored passed the near post. Wilson made this move because of the Liverpool players that were waiting (in an onside position by virtue of being behind the ball) to receive the ball and score. Under the current rules you could argue that Wilson was influenced by the position of the other player(s) and IF they were in an offside position, the goal should have been disallowed. But my view is that almost the number one rule for keepers is never get beaten at your near post so the goal stands because of stupidity!

    The biggest problem as I see it is not the complexity of the offside rule but the widely different interpretations that referees make. But that’s just human nature both on our part for wishing for consistency and theirs because they are human (mostly).

  51. Barry Webb says:

    Hi Neammann

    The law of the game are determined by FIFA. The rules committee consists of 8 people: 4 from the home countries in recognition of their establishment of the original rules, and 4 FIFA representatives.

    Individual country FAs can make slight changes either on a permanent or experimental basis but that still has to be approved by FIFA.

  52. Barry Webb says:

    Hi Red Arse

    The reason you have generated a lot of response is that it was good article. The subject matter is important, and if not handled well, can be a little dry.

    I’m struggling to understand your proposed changes compared to what we already have.

    You refer to interfering with play. It’s something we can all understand. But why is that so different from active or passive? If you are standing by the corner flag in an offside position and someone scores, save for you having a high powered rifle and taking pot shots at the keeper, you are not interfering with play OR inactive/passive.

    If you are in the penalty area in an offside position and try and play the ball, then you are interfering with play or active.

    In both scenarios, the referee and the assistant referees make the determination of interfering with play (or not)/active (or passive). As I said already, the real problem is consistency. That thorny old problem crops up no matter which solution you adopt.

  53. Rasp says:

    Thanks Barry,

    I still think it’s too subjective but I bow to your more detailed analysis.

    Forgive me, but I’m not sure we have had the pleasure of your company on AA before. Please feel free to take advantage of the ‘Be our Guest’ facility if there is an Arsenal/football related subject you would like to air on the site.

  54. Big Raddy says:

    Excellent blog today.

    It seems that the offside law as it stands now has to be subjective, and to me this is unacceptable. We need a definitive law that is not open to comments like Steve Palmer (above).

    He opines that the current situation is open to corruption which is clearly the case, though in my opinion there is no match fixing in the PL.

  55. Red Arse says:

    Barry,

    You make good points, and your explanations of the current Law 11 interpretations are clear, but in a way you also prove what a nonsense it all is.

    If this, provided that — or — if that, provided this — and so on.

    Where I disagree with your explanation is that the “clarification Decision No.2, limits the ways in which a referee can interpret “gaining an advantage from being offside”.

    The Clarification Decision No.2 says;
    Gaining an advantage by being in that position means;
    ** playing a ball that rebounds to him off a post or the crossbar having been in an offside position,
    ** or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position.

    It makes no comment whatsoever as to whether or not the GK may be distracted by the opponent being offside.

    The Law is totally flawed, because it was badly thought thru, had to have “amending” clarifications almost immediately, and requires a computer not a Lino to work it all out in a split second.

  56. Rasp says:

    Red Arse,

    Your article is the best I have read on the subject and extends the thinking beyond the obvious. I had not considered this important aspect:

    “The prime mover with this Law change was to promote more goal scoring opportunities (keeping TV audiences engaged?) coupled with the injunction to give the benefit of any doubt to the attacking side. Very laudable, you might think, but conversely, the large majority of the errors continue to benefit the defending side, thus negating the very purpose of the Law.”

  57. Red Arse says:

    Barry,

    There is a time delay in communicating with each other, as we are overlapping somewhat.

    The solution I am proposing is simply a “physical” one.

    ** Nearer the goal than the ball, blah blah; Yes or No?
    ** Offside and interfering? Yes or No?
    ** Offside but not interfering? Yes or No?

    What you also have not referred to is that Active/Passive is very subjective and full of this or thats.
    But having run the line myself in amateur football, I can honestly say that trying to watch the game, and spot the pass that brings “offside” into play, and also being able to look along the “offside line” at the same time is often impossible; and that is always allowing for the fact that neither I nor any “professional” linesman (Assistant) can always keep up with play and always be in the perfect position to judge offside, without working out Active/Passive. Sorry, it is not humanly possible to do all that, hence all the post match squabbles, unhappiness and ranting at Linos and Refs!

  58. Red Arse says:

    Thanks Rasp. :-)

    Perhaps you can see why I feel strongly about this. I never felt comfortable running the line, because I was never sure my decisions were all they should have been, thru no fault of my own.

    Most of the Refs I know and have spoken to about this, never admit this Law is poor. It is almost a macho thing to say it is easy peasy to understand, and it is. I understand it alright, but it is the application that is impossible to apply fairly. And that is not acceptable.

    Barry, please don’t take any of this personally. I respect your opinion, and debate is healthy, but I can never be convinced this Law has any merit as it stands.

  59. Red Arse says:

    Got to go for a while. :-)

  60. Neamman says:

    Its all Pat Rice’s fault anyway!!!!

  61. Neamman says:

    team for sunday
    fab
    Eboue Johan Squili Clichy
    Cesc Song Diaby AA Denilson
    Chamack

    Not the team I want to see but what I expect

  62. Rasp says:

    Hi Neamman,

    You will be added to our list of authors tomorrow :)

    I think your team for Sunday is about right, Sagna is only 20% likely to be fit and ther are growing rumours that TV could be out for the season.

  63. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Where did you read/hear that about TV?

  64. Red Arse says:

    Rasp,

    I think our man Winkie Wenger said TV will be out for 2 to 3 weeks.

    Who knows, it’s a “pick a number, double it and tke away the number you first thought of” situation! :-)

  65. Rasp says:

    Sorry guys, I’ve been away from the keyboard for a while. I can’t remember where, but I’ve read that on more than one site. Achilles injuries can be very problematic and sometimes it is said that no op is necessary, but then it doesn’t improve and an op is the only answer – that would lead to a few months out. I hope TV’s case is not one of those :(

  66. Barry Webb says:

    Hi Rasp

    I’ve read the blog many times but never left a comment. I don’t really have a “home” as such but I do like to comment on what I see as well written and thought out articles.

    This idea of interfering with play/not interfering with play is, in my opinion, just the same thing as saying active/inactive. Both scenarios require a determination by the officials. Some are easy. Some are not. And my interpretation may well differ from both FIFA rules/guidance and how the rule is actually interpreted on the pitch.

    One of the comments (SharkeySure @ 3:04 pm) was about Arteta’s (what a great player, I wish England had the luxury of having an uncapped player of his ability) goal against Liverpool where Yakubu was in an offside position. If you look at the goal again, Yakubu made no attempt to move to the ball. So he was passive in this instance, inactive if you will. Now, I don’t believe that if he had been level with the last defender, the outcome would have been any different. The ball came through a crowd of players and Yakubu being a yard or two further forward wouldn’t have made the slightest difference. If the ball was traveling at 40 mph and Yakubu was 2 yards further away from the goal, then Reina would have seen it 28 micro seconds earlier. Reina’s good but not that good. Now, if it had been Fabianski in goal, that’s a different matter!

    So, in my opinion, the Arteta goal was good because Yakubu remained passive/inactive and his position had no effect on the goal. The Spurs goal against Fulham, not having seen it but from the comments about it here, should have been disallowed for offside as Gallas, in trying to connect with the ball (and one assumes that he had some chance of doing so) introduced himself into the play and became active.

  67. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Good detail RA. Quality posts will always win.

    I tend to think that if a goal is scored from a questionable offside, then, the ref should go upstairs like a close run out shout in cricket. It wouldn’t take long for a decision. If its too close, the decision should go the way of the scorer, i.e the way of the batsman.

    The question of offside is too important especially with potential match fixing/betting these days.

    And, ofcourse, if they make it retrospect, Man United would probably have 5-6 of their PL Titles taken off them. Which means The Arsenal would pick up 5 Titles for all those years we came 2nd.

    Yep bring the offside replay on :D

  68. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    ……& retrospect replay as well :lol:

  69. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Neamman,
    Just read through comments and saw your team:
    team for sunday
    fab
    Eboue Johan Squili Clichy
    Cesc Song Diaby AA Denilson
    Chamack

    I know you said it was not what you wanted to see, rather what you expected AW to play. I have to say, that I feel AW does sometimes make curious team selections. On this occasion, ie City, I think the team you list must be the fighting fire with fire approach. I’m sure that Yaya, Jong and Barry would win the battle against Song, Den and Diaby. I feel our best chance is to pass through and around them.
    Very excited about this match. Theo must start against their left back. Do they have one fit?

  70. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    In all serious ladies & gentlemen, if The Arsenal is serious about achieving the same as last year, a minimum of a point needs to be taken from this fixture. Actually 3 points is a must. It may take a Cesc brace or Chamakh to announce he is a world class marksman. Someone will need to step up.

  71. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    I’ve gotta say, I’m up for this :) Its what makes this whole following The Arsenal such an addiction.

  72. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    I miss Jacky already :(

  73. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Gnarley,
    Agree about the addiction thing. Have to say I think a point would be ok, but you are right about players needing to step up. I am worried that the difference between the teams may be Hart.

  74. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Wont happen, but here’s how I would play:

    …..Fab
    Ebo Squil JD Gibbs
    …..Song
    Ros Cesc Nas
    ….Cham AA

    With Theo coming on against a tired defence, or if AA does not perform. I like the idea of both playing closer to Chamakh, and indeed AW did play Theo more centrally against Donetsk.
    I imagine Diaby will start though.

  75. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh and Clichy.

  76. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Out for an hour or so.

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Micky

    That is the team I would pick.

  78. Morning all

    Theres a NEW POST

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