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Manchester United vs Arsenal, Emile Smith Rowe goal, David de Gea injury, reaction, video

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Early controversy rocked Manchester United’s clash with Arsenal on Friday morning after the Gunners took a 1-0 lead with one of the strangest goals you will see.

It came in the 13th minute, with United keeper David de Gea going down injured as the ball came back into play on a corner.

Replays would show fellow teammate Fred accidentally stepping on de Gea’s foot, sending him to the ground in pain.

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Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe then fired a left-footed shot into the net and with referee Martin Atkinson choosing not to blow his whistle before the ball went in, the goal stood.

It prompted several minutes of confusion as United players furiously protested the call.

Atkinson would later get help from the VAR, with replays showing Atkinson had seemed to put the whistle to his lips but decided against stopping the game.

As a result the goal stood and there was little else referee Atkinson could do according to Amazon Prime commentator Ally McCoist.

“He’s got to give a goal there’s nothing else he can do,” McCoist said.

“There’s no point shouting at the referee the fact of the matter is there was no foul committed he wasn’t offside there was no infringement.

“Yes, the goalkeeper was lying down. In an ideal situation if he had seen De Gea lying down he blows his whistle and give Arsenal possession of the ball when the goalkeeper got treated but he never blew the whistle.

“Never seen anything like that before. I can understand the frustration of United players but nothing the referee can do.”

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg explained at halftime just why the goal had to stand.

“[Atkinson] has to give the goal here,” he said.

“Fred accidentally stamps on De Gea so it’s not a foul. He doesn’t blow his whistle [before the ball crosses the line] so he has to give the goal.

“I’ve never seen anything quite as extraordinary as that.

“However, Martin Atkinson is powerless. He doesn’t see De Gea down on the floor, he isn’t looking at the goalkeeper. He will probably feel there’s been a foul in the build-up and that’s why VAR is there, but there’s not.”

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United eventually hit back to level the game at 1-all, with Bruno Fernandes the one to capitalise on stellar teamwork.

It all started with Jadon Sancho, who did well to thread the ball through for Fred, who pass backed to Fernandes to finish the play off.

The Red Devils were first to strike in the second half as Marcus Rashford set up Cristiano Ronaldo to make it 2-1.

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