Chelsea are obviously displeased by a 3-1 reverse against Manchester United, and with the linesman's flag playing a big part in the first two home goals (or not, as the case may be), they're taking out at least some of their anger on the officials - they've now made a formal complaint to refereeing chief Mike Riley:
Very, very unhappy with a poor performance from the referees, which in the end had a decisive role in the result, and I don't take it very, very lightly. You expect the linesman to do his job. I already went further ahead with the situation by speaking to the correct people.
We all feel very, very down when the referee had such an impact on the result.
-Andre Villas-Boas. Source: Sky Sports.
I'm in two minds about this. One the one side, Chelsea shouldn't have to be making excuses like this. Ramires should have scored. Torres certainly should have scored. The defence should have dealt with the offside goals. The Blues had all of the chances in the world to come up with an important result at Old Trafford, despite the refereeing, and they didn't. To complain after that seems like whining when your team isn't good enough.
On the other side of the coin, it's not entirely clear why we should be willing to accept two offside goals from United right at the beginning of the game. Do you know what those two moments did to our point expectancy? Chris Smalling's goal cost Chelsea 0.74 points. Nani's cost 0.28. By the time those two strikes had happened, United had a 93 percent chance of earning a win.
In other words, that's a pretty tough ask for anyone, and small wonder Villas-Boas was annoyed. The team couldn't get it done when they might have given it a strong shot... but handing United a two goal advantage half an hour into the match would make it difficult for anyone come away from Old Trafford with something, terrible finishing or no.
There were defensive mistakes (oh goodness were there defensive mistakes) and United certainly had other chances to score. We don't know how the game would have panned out had the early goals been ruled out correctly, so we can't say that the final score should have been 1-1 or anything like that. What we can say, however, is that goals were unfairly given, and Chelsea were hurt badly by them.
And yes, I'm fully aware that Didier Drogba's title winning goal in 2009/10 there was a mile offside, and yes, that was unfair too.
PS: Andre, it's the linesman who call offside, not the referee. I am an idiot. Hearts!