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Referee Mark Clattenburg explained Smith Rowe’s goal against United

In the seventh round of Premier League Manchester United defeated Arsenal with a double strike from Cristiano Ronaldo and a single from Bruno Fernandes. For the Gunners, Smith Rowe scored one of the unusual goals as he took the lead in the 13th minute of the football match. Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has explained why Emile Smith Rowe’s contentious opening goal for Arsenal was awarded against Manchester United for the game that ended on a 3-2 match score.

Originally, referee Martin Atkinson did not award the goal as the United goalkeeper David de Gea received treatment, but VAR instructed him to do so after checking the incident at length. According to replays, no Arsenal player committed a foul on De Gea, and his own teammate, Fred stamped on him by mistake.

“Martin Atkinson has to give the goal here because what you see is Fred accidentally stamps on De Gea’s foot, so therefore it is not a foul by an Arsenal player,” the former match official told Amazon Prime Video Sport. “[Atkinson] doesn’t blow his whistle, and therefore he has to give the goal.”

“I’ve never seen anything quite as extraordinary as this. However, Martin Atkinson is powerless. If he’d blown his whistle before the ball has entered the goal it would’ve been more controversial, because Arsenal would’ve been the victims of a disallowed goal.

Clattenburg added, “The only time Martin Atkinson could’ve disallowed it, if (Jadon) Sancho had won this ball and gone towards the half way line, I’m sure Martin Atkinson would’ve blown. He doesn’t see De Gea down. Clearly see Fred stands on De Gea’s foot, Martin Atkinson now moves towards the header of the two players challenging for the ball, so Martin Atkinson isn’t looking at the goalkeeper at this point.”

“It’s only now when he’s about to strike it that he’s in the way of the ball that he looks up and thinks, ‘why is De Gea is down?’. His feeling will be that there is a foul in the build-up. That’s why VAR’s there, you can’t blow the whistle until the ball is in the goal, to give VAR a chance.”

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