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11th Aug 2017

Football fans think Mike Dean made offside blunder before Arsenal goal

First time we've seen this

Patrick McCarry

How do you know the Premier League is back?

Arsenal and Leicester City served up an instant classic as the Premier League returned for 2017/18. Fittingly, for all drama lovers, referee Mike Dean was on the officiating case.

Arsene Wenger decided to try out a new three at the back defensive system and his team found themselves 3-2 down after 55 minutes. The man is not for changing.

The Gunners were 2-1 down heading into half-time when Dean injected himself right into the action.

Riyad Mahrez was in an offside position from a clearing Kasper Schmeichel kick when, coming back into his own half, he tussled with Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.

Credit: Sky Sports [screengrab]
In the past, referees would have awarded an offside free-kick from the general area the player was in when he was flagged for the offence. However, a rule quirk often meant referees were open to give a free from where the offside player interfered with play.

All that changed in 2016 when Fifa announced a tweak. According to former Premier League referee David Elleray:

“In future, the free-kick will always be given where he commits the offside offence, even if he is in his own half, because you cannot be in an offside position in your own half, but you can go back into your own half to commit an offside offence.”

And so it played out. Dean told Oxlade-Chamberlain to take the offside free from inside his own half.

It confused players on both sides but, pressing for an equaliser, Arsenal quickly got on with it.

Leicester did not get possession back and, within 30 seconds, Danny Welbeck was celebrating his equaliser. Vardy got a second goal before Arsenal struck back through Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud.

Dean was centre of attention again but, crucially, he was correct.

Win, win.