Onana not finding his passing range, Guardiola’s strikers thriving and Sheffield United must up tempo

Gabriel Martinelli’s disallowed goal at Goodison Park was another example of an offside law that has become almost too pedantic to function. The decisive action was a square pass from Gabriel Magalhães to Declan Rice that was intercepted by Beto. The ball ricocheted 40 yards in a completely different direction to Eddie Nketiah, who was running away from goal and gained precisely no advantage from being fractionally offside. He knocked it back to Fábio Vieira, whose through pass was finished majestically by Martinelli. The goal was disallowed because Beto’s interception, though deliberate, was not a “deliberate play” under the revised laws of the game. Instead of the deflection being one of the myriad variables that make football so compelling, Nketiah was technically offside. Nobody disputed that it was the correct decision, only the extent to which the law is an ass. When the FA’s Ebenezer Cobb Morley introduced offside in 1863, it was to stop goalhanging, not to give pedants their ikigai. Rob Smyth

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