Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has given his verdict on today’s game between Arsenal and Manchester United, which had lots of controversy involving officials.
Arsenal won 3-1 but there was a number of questionable decisions that went their way.
There was a clear handball in the first-half when Jadon Sancho was trying to dribble into the box and Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal wrongly overruled for offside. On top of that, Arsenal’s third goal was clearly offside. Anthony Elanga also had a shout for a penalty.
Halsey says Elanga went down for too easily on that occasion, though.
“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.
On the handball, which saw Soares swipe the ball away with his hand, Halsey feels that the Arsenal defender knew what he was doing – but in the laws of the game, he can understand 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 of the game 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.”
Halsey goes on to claim Bruno Fernandes was lucky not to be sent off for a late challenge in the second half.
“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.”
Finally, the ex-Premier League referee says Arsenal’s third goal should have been ruled out.
“The third goal by Xhaka,” he added. “I believe that goal should have been ruled out for offside due to Nketiah interfering with the Manchester United goalkeeper.”
“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.”