Referee explains why Arsenal's controversial goal at Man Utd wasn't disallowed

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has explained why Arsenal’s bizarre opening goal against Manchester United wasn’t disallowed.

Emile Smith Rowe gave the Gunners the lead after 13 minutes at Old Trafford on Thursday night but his goal came in controversial circumstances.

United goalkeeper David de Gea went down with an injury from an Arsenal corner after being stood on by team-mate Fred, but play went on and Smith Rowe rifled home from the edge of the box with De Gea still on the floor.

Referee Martin Atkinson appeared to be considering intervening but eventually awarded the goal, with Clattenburg insisting this was his only choice as a foul was not committed and the game had not been stopped.

Speaking on Prime Video, former Premier League official Clattenburg said: ‘[Atkinson] has to give the goal here.

‘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.’

Former England goalkeeper Rob Green, meanwhile, said on BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘It is an incredible decision.

‘Yes, you have head injuries that are allowed to stop the game. But this is a genuine injury.

‘It is impossible for Manchester United to do anything to stop the goal. De Gea would have saved it. An unbelievable decision. Amazing.’

Speaking at half-time, Clattenburg added: ‘I’ve never seen anything quite as extraordinary as this.

‘The only time Martin Atkinson could have disallowed it was if he blew the whistle. He doesn’t see De Gea down, he isn’t looking at the goalkeeper.’

Prime Video pundits Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Patrice Evra all agreed that the right decision was made, calling it a ‘valid goal’.

More to follow…

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