Leeds United free-kick v Chelsea explained as Dermot Gallagher gives verdict
Leeds United scored a wonderful set-piece routine against Chelsea but the free-kick was taken from much further back than thought.
Jack Harrison delivered a wicked cross which the Premier League’s top scorer, Rodrigo, headed into the far corner to double the Whites’ lead at the time in a stunning 3-0 win at Elland Road.
But many thought the free kick should have been taken right on the edge of the area as Raheem Sterling made a foul but Dermot Gallagher has shed light on why the foul was actually further back.
“I think the foul had already happened because the free-kick was taken a good five yards further back,” Gallagher said on Ref Watch [Sky Sports News, 22 August, 11:45am]. “I think he gave the foul for the original tug on the shirt.
“He wanted to see what was going to happen and let the game carry on and that’s why the free-kick was taken so far back.”
The referee must have known what he was doing when he brought the play back because a free-kick right on the line of the penalty area is almost impossible to get up and over the wall and into the net.
Harrison had no choice but to cross from the deeper position he placed the ball down from and it worked tremendously for Leeds thanks to the Spaniard’s deft little flick with his noggin.
There is no player at Elland Road who would have been able to make the close-in free kick work to full effect so the fact that the referee brought it back rather than giving a new foul was a blessing in disguise.
It is refreshing to see an official being praised for making the right call and allowing the game to flow as much as he could which certainly played into the high-pressing gameplan of Jesse Marsch’s.
In other Leeds United news, BBC pundit Pat Nevin was in awe of what he saw the whites do to Chelsea at LS11.