Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has given his verdict on an action-packed game between Arsenal and Manchester United.
Arsenal defeated Manchester United 3-1 in a game filled with plenty of action, including some controversial decisions made by the officials. Former Premier League referee Halsey has given his opinion on some of the incidents that occurred.
Anthony Elanga went down in the box appealing for a penalty after a coming together with Arsenal defender Nuno Tavares.
“I think he goes down far too easily, I agree with VAR not getting involved in that, it’s subjective,” said Halsey, speaking exclusively to Caught Offside.
It would have been a soft penalty had the referee given it, but Halsey feels the officials got this one right.
Cedric Soares went to ground in the penalty area and appeared to move his hand towards the ball to take it away from the Manchester United player’s path. Halsey felt that Cedric knew what he was doing, but in the eyes of the law, he can see why the referee didn’t give it.
“If the ball strikes the hand or arm when it is between the body and ground, no offence,” said Halsey. The laws may state that it shouldn’t be a penalty, but Cedric did appear to swipe the ball deliberately.
“I think Cedric knows exactly what he’s doing and he moves his arm towards the ball,” added Halsey.
“Good spot by Craig Pawson. I don’t think Arsenal can have any complaints. His arm is an unnatural position,” said Halsey, referring to the handball from Tavares for the Manchester United penalty.
Luckily for Tavares, Bruno Fernandes missed the penalty, but he should have no complaints regarding the decision.
“I thought Fernandes was very lucky for his challenge on Tavares. I’m surprised that VAR didn’t recommend a review. I thought that was a challenge that endangered a player’s safety with excessive force. I think Fernandes was very fortunate that VAR didn’t recommend a review,” said Halsey.
Fernandes was extremely late with his challenge and didn’t even attempt to pull out after the ball had gone. If the referee was to give a red card, there’s no doubt VAR wouldn’t have recommended a review.
“The third goal by Xhaka. I believe that goal should have been ruled out for offside due to Nketiah interfering with the Manchester United goalkeeper,” said Halsey.
Although Nketiah was a fair distance away from the goalkeeper, he was still in De Gea’s line of sight, and Halsey believes the referee got this one wrong.
“If you look at De Gea, he has to go to the right, he’s looking around Nketiah, is he interfering with the goalkeeper? Is he interfering with his line of vision? I think he is,” added Halsey.
Halsey also believes the challenge on Saka from Alex Telles was a penalty and the Manchester United player’s should have no complaints.
Many of the decisions were difficult for the officials in this fixture, but Halsey certainly thinks they could have got one or two wrong.