Man United v Arsenal should’ve been stopped but Smith Rowe situation was only one of three glaring errors that the officials made on the night

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There was a bit of bizarre incident in the first half at Old Trafford on Thursday night with Martin Atkinson unsure as to what had happened when he saw David de Gea lying prone on the goal line.

Replays clearly show it was Fred who stood on his team-mate’s ankle, and in that situation you’ve got to use a bit a common sense. Before Smith Rowe got his shot away, the official has got to stop the game.

You must remember that the goalkeeper is a specialised position, and Martin appeared to get too caught up in play, and not really concentrating on what was going on.

He was in front of Smith Rowe when he should’ve been five or six yards behind him, where he’s got the whole penalty area in view. Had he been correctly placed, he would’ve seen de Gea on the floor.

Martin wouldn’t have known if it was a serious injury, perhaps even heart failure like we saw in Euro 2020 with Christian Eriksen, so common sense tells you that the game has to be stopped straight away. No questions would’ve been asked.

Smith Rowe got his shot away, and once it was checked by VAR there was nowhere for the officials to go other than to give the goal. None of this would’ve happened if Martin had the whole of play in his vision.

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Another couple of incidents highlighted the inconsistency of VAR. Harry Maguire should’ve been penalised for a clear holding offence on Takehiro Tomiyasu.

It was a clear and obvious error by Martin Atkinson and I don’t understand why VAR didn’t pick up on it.

In the second half, there was another obvious foul, this time by Odegaard on Fred. Martin was in a great position but adjudged it not to be a foul.

Of course, VAR looked at it and once the decision was reviewed, it was always going to be a spot kick.

Why didn’t VAR, Andre Marriner I think, request a review of the first incident involving Maguire? For the PGMOL to come out and say it wasn’t a clear and obvious error… well, it absolutely was.

I’m sure Mikel Arteta won’t be happy this morning.

Former Premier League and FIFA referee Mark Halsey is a columnist for
More Stories Andre Marriner David de Gea Emile Smith Rowe Fred Harry Maguire Mark Halsey Martin Atkinson Martin Odegaard Mikel Arteta PGMOL Takehiro Tomiyasu

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