By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – The following are talking points from the weekend’s Premier League action:
KANEOFFSIDEROWSHOWSPROBLEM OF RULETINKERING
Was Harry Kane offside when he was fouled for the penalty that gave Tottenham an equaliser in Saturday’s North London derby against Arsenal?
Reporters and pundits could not decide on the interpretation of the law and former referees such as Keith Hackett and Mark Halsey also disagreed about whether Kane was involved or affecting play before he was fouled.
There have always been arguments about whether a foul was committed or a player was in an offside position but what is new in this row is that educated football minds cannot agree on what the new offside laws actually mean.
That suggests the laws themselves are the problem.
By coincidence, while the North London derby was being played at Wembley, 550 miles north in Aberdeen, Scotland, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) was meeting to vote on their latest law changes.
In keeping with the offside changes, they appear to complicate rather than clarify.
A handball offence no longer has to be deliberate or intentional in all scenarios – under the new rules if you are an attacker in a goal-scoring situation, you commit an offence if the ball accidentally hits your arm or hand.
Also, according to IFAB technical director David Elleray, a handball can also be given if the players arms extend beyond a “natural silhouette” — even if it is accidental.
Will VAR video technology now feature a “Silhouette Cam”?
Expect plenty more rows next season as the game’s rule-tinkerers continue to unnecessarily complicate what was once a simple game.
IT’S NOTONLYPLAYSTATIONWHERESUBSMAKE AN IMPACT
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp was upset by a question from a reporter about whether he was too cautious with his changes during Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Everton in the Merseyside derby.
“It’s not like Playstation” said the German, who said he was “disappointed” by the question.
But it is not only in video games where you can bring on a player to change a game or at least try to.
Klopp had the talented Swiss attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri and back-up striker Daniel Sturridge on the bench but chose to bring on midfielders James Milner and Adam Lallana.
Whatever the merits of those players, they weren’t the kind of moves you make if you are desperate for three points to stay top of the league.
GUARDIOLA IS EVENCHANGINGOURLANGUAGE
City manager Pep Guardiola’s transformational ability even seems to extend to subliminally influencing the way people in the game use the English language.
Have a listen to post-match interviews and see how many players or managers, native-speakers included, now slip in, Guardiola style phrases such as “top, top, player” or “so, so good”.
It’s so, so, noticeable.
Pundits are too quick these days to push young players forward for England selection with the recent talk of Newcastle’s promising youngster Sean Longstaff being a case in point.
But Crystal Palace’s 21-year-old right-back Aaron Wan-Bissake certainly merits consideration by Gareth Southgate.
There is a lot of competition for that position in the England team with Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold regulars in Southgate’s squads.
But Southgate, who watched the Palace youth product in action during the 3-1 win at Burnley, has surely noticed the speed and strength of Wan-Bissake.
FAREWELL TO RANIERI
It is hard to see Claudio Ranieri having another chance in the Premier League after the Italian was sacked by Fulham last week but it was noticeable how he took the decision in his stride.
Leaving the training-ground, the former Chelsea and Leicester boss told waiting reporters: “I thanked all the players for their efforts. That is football and good luck.”
The 67-year-old is well used to the axe — Fulham was the 18th club he has managed.
(Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond)