MIKE DEAN: Why Marcus Rashford's goal against Liverpool was given

MIKE DEAN: Marcus Rashord’s winner against Liverpool was given due to a change in how VAR looks at offsides… the Premier League has benefitted with more goals being awarded

  • Marcus Rashford’s second goal against Liverpool for Man United was borderline 
  • Two years ago it would have been disallowed but VAR has since made changes 
  • At Stockley Park, lines are drawn from the attacker to the second last defender
  • If the lines overlap, the advatange goes to the attacker and the goal is given 

Tight offsides ahead of goals became a theme of the weekend. Some went against the attacker, like Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus. Some went for them, like Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.

Two years ago, Rashford’s strike might have been disallowed — one of those ‘toenail’ offsides that was highlighted when VAR first arrived in England.

But the Premier League and PGMOL made changes for the good of the game — in agreement with the clubs — and I want to talk you through that and the process we now go through.

Marcus Rashford’s goal against Liverpool was tight but ultimately correctly awarded thanks to new changes made for the good of the game

That goal would have been disallowed two years ago but advantage now goes to the attacker if the two lines are overlapping when checked by VAR

While most of Old Trafford was celebrating United taking a 2-0 lead, VAR Darren England and his team at Stockley Park were taking a closer look at the moment Rashford broke behind Liverpool’s back line.

First the ‘kick point’ — the moment a team-mate plays the ball — is confirmed.

Then the lines are laid. First a one-pixel line to the second last defender, then another one-pixel line to the attacker, at the point closest to goal with which he can score.

As VAR, I make sure it’s all accurate, then lock it in.

The VAR system isn’t subjective – it’s factual, but ‘toenail’ offsides will no longer be given

Once they are locked in, the system will then flash up green for onside or red for offside. It’s not subjective. It’s factual.

But last summer, changes were made so that if the lines are overlapping, it’s onside.

It’s too close to call otherwise and so the advantage is given to the attacker, as it was with Rashford at Old Trafford on Monday evening.

Jesus’s goal against Bournemouth was disallowed because there was no overlap of the lines.


The changes made by the Premier League and the PGMOL mean fans will see more goals 

It was the same for Crystal Palace’s Odsonne Edouard before Jeffrey Schlupp put the ball in the net against Aston Villa and also for Brentford’s Ivan Toney against Fulham.

Overall, the Premier League has benefitted from this approach as it means there are more goals in games.

I will be interested in seeing how semi-automated offsides are used in this season’s Champions League group stages and at the World Cup.

That system — powered by artificial intelligence — will provide officials with a 3D image, calculating the players’ exact positions on the pitch and telling us if an attacker is onside or offside.

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