Ander Herrera offside: Should Manchester United’s equaliser against Arsenal have been disallowed?

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Ander Herrera‘s diligent sprinting towards Bernd Leno paid off, as his hope of a fumble from the Arsenal goalkeeper came to fruition after Marcos Rojo's free-kick.

His cross from the rebounded save found Anthony Martial, who equalised on the half hour mark. Manchester United had conceded only four minutes earlier, a header from Shkodran Mustafi cleared off the line by Herrera was ruled to have crossed it by ‘goal decision system' technology, as subsequent replays showed.

However, replays of the equaliser also showed Herrera straying dangerously past Alex Iwobi, the last Arsenal defender behind the wall. Many online commented that the goal should not have stood, making the case that it was another piece of evidence in favour of the introduction of VAR to the Premier League.

Regardless, the goal for Jose Mourinho‘s side stood, and the sides went in at half-time with the score level at 1-1.

Here's what happened.

Herrera's positioning

Ander Herrera offside Anthony Martial goal Manchester United vs Arsenal
(BT Sport)

The replays clearly show that as Rojo strikes the ball, Herrera's head and shoulder are beyond Iwobi.

By the strictest interpretation of the laws of the game, he's offside – although no doubt some Manchester United fans would argue he was level.


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According to the laws of the game, a player is in an offside position if:

  • any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half (excluding the halfway line) and
  • any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent

The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered.

A player is not in an offside position if level with the second-last opponent or the last two opponents.


Many fans and commentators took to Twitter to voice their frsutration at the judgment.

In the BT Studio, Paul Scholes credited Herrera for making the effort to get to the bouncing ball, but said he thought the decision was marginal.

What do you think? Let us know.


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