Why Bukayo Saka was flagged offside against Man City despite not interfering with play
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An explanation has been given for why Bukayo Saka was flagged offside in Arsenal's FA Cup fourth round defeat to Manchester City.
Arsenal supporters were furious after the linesman put his flag up for offside against Saka in the first half.
Fabio Vieira played the ball on and though match-winner Nathan Ake intercepted, it ended up in possession of Granit Xhaka.
But with Arsenal still on the attack in a promising position, Saka was deemed to have been offside.
Replays showed that the Gunners winger was behind City's last defender John Stones but he did not touch the ball and also did not interfere with play.
Saka had his hands up to gesture to the official that he was not getting involved and Arsenal fans called out the double standards, bringing up the Marcus Rashford controversial onside decision against City a couple of weeks back.
Rashford was initially flagged offside when Bruno Fernandes fired the equaliser but because the United forward didn't touch the ball, the goal stood after a VAR review.
Arsenal fans were asking why it was one rule for one and one rule for another, but Dale Johnson from ESPN has offered the answer.
He says that, although Saka was not interfering with play - he technically interfered with the opponent, Ake, as the linesman believed the Dutchman "had to avoid the offside Saka to get to the ball".
Johnson says that the call made sense given what the law is.
He said: "A few Arsenal fans complained at the decision to flag Bukayo Saka offside against Manchester City, because they felt he didn't get involved.
"But, there's actually a very simple explanation in law. Saka didn't touch the ball, so he cannot be interfering with play. But he can be interfering with an opponent.
"The assistant thinks that Nathan Ake had to avoid the offside Saka to get to the ball, thus Saka had interfered with an opponent. Bit harsh, but there's logic in law."
Saka didn't touch the ball, so he cannot be interfering with play. But he can be interfering with an opponent.— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) January 28, 2023
The assistant thinks that Nathan Ake had to avoid the offside Saka to get to the ball, thus Saka had interfered with an opponent.
Bit harsh, but there's logic in law. pic.twitter.com/f4iLucxObd
For the Rashford offside, Manuel Akanji, the closest player to Rashford, was furious as he said the England international "played until the last second" even if he didn't make contact with the ball.
However, according to Johnson, the two situations are very different as "Akanji's problem was he never got within playing distance of the ball" as far as the law is concerned.
To touch on the Marcus Rashford in the derby.— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) January 28, 2023
They are very different situations.
Akanji's problem was he never got within playing distance of the ball (as defined in law), and as such there's an argument that Rashford could not have interfered with him (as defined in law). pic.twitter.com/LOUntI4l8y
Because of that, he claims there is an argument that Rashford could not have interfered.
Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports, ITV & Dale Johnson
Topics: Bukayo Saka, Arsenal, Manchester City, FA Cup