Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe scores bizarre opener against Manchester United as he volleys home with David De Gea lying on the ground injured after Fred trod on his foot

Emile Smith Rowe gave Arsenal the lead in unprecedented circumstancesFred stood on David De Gea's foot as an Arsenal corner was playedThe ball fell to Emile Smith Rowe who struck past De Gea who was on the floor With help from VAR, the referee awarded the goal to Arsenal to make it 1-0Manchester United players reacted furiously to the goal being given 

Emile Smith Rowe gave Arsenal the lead against Manchester United in bizarre fashion after finding the back of the net just after David De Gea went down injured.

As an Arsenal corner came in, United midfielder Fred stood on the foot of his team-mate who went down on the goal-line just as the ball came back out to Smith Rowe.

The England international struck from the edge of the box and found the net with De Gea lying in a heap on the ground. 

Manchester United players were left fuming after a controversial goal was awarded to Arsenal

Manchester United players were left fuming after a controversial goal was awarded to Arsenal

Goalkeeper David De Gea went down in a heap when team-mate Fred stood on his foot

Goalkeeper David De Gea went down in a heap when team-mate Fred stood on his foot

The ball then fell out to Emile Smith Rowe from an Arsenal corner who smashed it past a hapless De Gea

The ball then fell out to Emile Smith Rowe from an Arsenal corner who smashed it past a hapless De Gea

There were several minutes of confusion as De Gea got back to his feet, with Amazon Prime commentator Ally McCoist saying the goal had to stand as there was nothing wrong with it.

Eventually, with help from VAR, referee Martin Atkinson signalled that the goal would stand much to the frustration of United’s players.

United players gathered around the referee protesting their case.

Martin Atkinson awarded the goal after hearing from VAR to the frustration of United's players

Martin Atkinson awarded the goal after hearing from VAR to the frustration of United’s players 

After the goal was awarded, McCoist said: ‘He’s got to give a goal there’s nothing else he can do. 

‘There’s no point shouting at the referee the fact of the matter is there was no foul committed he wasn’t offside there was no infringement. 

‘Yes, the goalkeeper was lying down. In an ideal situation if he had seen De Gea lying down he blows his whistle and give Arsenal possession of the ball when the goalkeeper got treated but he never blew the whistle. 

Arsenal players celebrate after they controversially took the lead at Old Trafford

Arsenal players celebrate after they controversially took the lead at Old Trafford

‘Never seen anything like that before. I can understand the frustration of United players but nothing the referee can do.’

Replays of the incident showed Atkinson was starting to put the whistle towards his mouth but then stopped as the ball hit the back of the net.   

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg told Amazon TV that because De Gea was injured by his own player and that Atkinson had not blown to stop the game before Smith-Rowe struck his shot, the goal should stand.

On social media, former players and fans agreed with the decision to award Arsenal the goal.

If De Gea was that badly injured why is he still on the pitch? Maybe could have been braver…

— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) December 2, 2021

Understandable why @ManUtd players are angry, though they probably don’t know what happened. #MUNARS

— David James (@jamosfoundation) December 2, 2021

Former striker Chris Sutton argued the case that the United keeper should have been braver.

He tweeted: ‘If De Gea was that badly injured why is he still on the pitch? Maybe could have been braver…’

Ex-England and Liverpool goalkeeper David James posted: ‘Understandable why players are angry, though they probably don’t know what happened.’ 

More to follow… 

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