Manchester City are at it again. Or so you’d think anyway.
On Tuesday night, the blues were again in the middle of controversy surrounding goals and the interpretation of the offside rule, this time during the win at West Brom.
A week ago, City were accused of cheating after Tyrone Mings’ error allowed Rodri to steal the ball from him and set up Bernardo Silva, while at Cheltenham on Saturday, many people were crying that City’s equaliser and possibly the second by Gabriel Jesus were offside. This mainly came about as the commentator suggested VAR may have disallowed one of the goals, maybe both.
And last night, City should apparently have had their second goal disallowed because the referee’s assistant incorrectly raised her flag to indicate offside, all because the West Brom defenders didn’t know the laws of the game and stopped playing.
Social Media has again been awash with tears following City’s second goal. Silva looked offside when the ball was played but as is the norm, the assistant kept her flag down, required until the move ended. However, before that happened, Sian Massey-Ellis raised her flag before the ball ended up in the back of the net.
This apparently caused the West Brom defenders to stop playing, expecting the referee’s whistle as they saw the flag raised, and after the match, Baggies manager Sam Allardyce had a little bit to say on it. “You can’t tell me that rubbish about playing to the whistle, that’s nonsense, if the flag goes up you naturally stop,” said Allardyce.
How strange that Allardyce should say that, given that in 2019, the former England boss said teams should play to the whistle during a TalkSport interview on the controversial Leeds v Aston Villa match, when Leeds went in front after a Villa player went down injured. The situation may be different to last night’s incident, but the principle is the same and you can’t say play to the whistle one day, then call it nonsense the next.
Leeds did nothing wrong against Villa, says Allardyce
"Play on and leave it to the referee... Kicking the ball out every time someone is down is going to ruin the game." Sam Allardyce believes Leeds United did nothing wrong when scoring against Aston Villa FC ♂️Posted by talkSPORT on Tuesday, April 30, 2019
And as far as I’m aware and correct me if I’m wrong, but play stops when you hear the whistle, not when you see a flag. Assistants are instructed not to raise their flag until the move has ended, and only then should they raise the flag if they think the player was offside. The players know this, and Massey-Ellis followed that rule until, for some inexplicable reason, she decided to raise the flag in the middle of the move. That was an error on her part, but what followed was just ludicrous from the home defenders.
In basic terms and to contradict Allardyce, you keep going until the referee stops play. It really is as simple as that, and to claim that players will ‘naturally stop’ when they see the flag is not always correct. Years ago, that would have been the case, but the rules have since changed, and it’s time some players, and managers sat down and read them.
You can understand why the assistants are told not to raise until the move has ended, as this could potentially deny a team a perfectly good goal, but it is also so frustrating to see a move end, then the flag goes up, especially if it is blatantly obvious the player was offside. If the assistants don’t need to flag offside, what’s the point in them being involved in the offside decisions? Just leave it to VAR. Or like Allardyce says in his interview, let the officials run the game. Maybe he should take his own advice.
An alternative option, and certainly one that would please opposing fans, would be to disallow any goals scored by City if the opposing team and manager says they didn’t know the rules of the game, or just disagree with the officials in general!
I wonder how many times that excuse would be used?