Manchester City were once again embroiled in offside controversy in the Premier League on Tuesday.
The timing couldn’t have been eerier after the Premier League decided to look into the offside ruling that allowed Bernardo Silva to score a controversial goal against Aston Villa earlier in 2021.
Football fans were left scratching their heads when Rodri regained possession for Pep Guardiola’s men from Tyrone Mings’ botched clearance despite having been stood miles offside.
West Brom vs Manchetser City
However, the Citizens were hitting headlines for a different type of ‘offside’ goal during their clash with West Bromwich Albion this week, but it doesn’t make it any less bizarre.
City had already taken the lead at the Hawthorns courtesy of the latest installment in Ilkay Gundogan’s goal-scoring spree, only to double their advantage after 20 minutes.
It came virtue of Joao Cancelo’s first-ever goal in the Premier League, whipping a fantastic finish into the far top corner, but helped along its way by some subdued Albion defending.
Man City’s ‘offside’ goal
That’s because some of Sam Allardyce’s troops had essentially downed tules when lineswoman Sian Massey-Ellis flagged for offside as Silva, of all players, was played through on the wing.
The Portuguese proceeded to pick out Cancelo, who duly converted, but the confusion was rife amongst the players who had wrongly assumed that the offside was irrefutable.
However, in actual fact, VAR confirmed that City had indeed been onside the entire time and they should have played to the whistle as opposed to taking Massey-Ellis’ flag as gospel.
You can check out the incident down below:
Given the new VAR protocols, assistant referees are being advised to flag as late as possible in order to avoid confusing moments like these.
The officiating team got things spot on, so credit to them, but Allardyce will no doubt be fuming with the players who didn’t close down Cancelo as aggressively as they would have done otherwise.
In their defence, it was surprising to see Massey-Ellis raising her flag so early and most, if not all, of the Albion players had resumed play by the time Cancelo pulled the trigger.
But even in a world where the officials and VAR completely bungled the situation, you’ve simply got to play on just in case there’s a chance, no matter how small, that the subsequent play is legitimate.
Then again, hindsight is a beautiful thing and with the Baggies trailing by a hatful at the time of writing, I think ‘Big Sam’ will have more presser things to complain about than the ‘offside’.