Updated: February 18, 2020 10:10:24 pm
Before Manchester United romped on to win in their visit to Stamford Bridge, beating Chelsea 2-0 on Monday, an incident involving the Red Devils’ captain Harry Maguire got everyone talking. Twitter took arms against the decision of letting the defender stay on the pitch after he kicked Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi in the groin.
In the 21st minute when the score was still goalless, the 26-year-old centre-back bundled to the floor in front of the home dugout. In the process, he upturned his stray leg and scraped his studs against Batshuayi’s groin, which left the Belgian striker on the ground writhing in agony.
Video evidence of Harry Maguire kicking into Batshuayi’s groin. Intent and contact. Absolute red all day.pic.twitter.com/3Twdo4MTyo
— JC McLean (@JCMSpurs) February 17, 2020
The home crowd and the Chelsea bench engaged in protests, but after a VAR-check, referee Anthony Taylor dismissed the incident as being one with no malice in it.
In the second half, Maguire went on to score the second goal of the evening to hand Manchester United a push for their race for top-four. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team also completed the league double over Frank Lampard’s men.
In the post-match interview, Maguire admitted he had caught Batshuayi but said he had no intention of hurting the Belgian and had apologised to him.
“I knew I caught him. I thought he was going to fall on me, the natural reaction was to try and hold him up. It wasn’t a kick out, there was no intent or anything like that. My reaction was to straighten my leg… if he was going to fall on me, just to hold him up,” said the former Leicester City-defender.
“I thought he was going to fall on me. It was a natural reaction”
Harry Maguire explains his clash with Michy Batshuayi which VAR decided was not a red card
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 17, 2020
However, Sky Sports pundits Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane both felt Maguire was fortunate not to be sent off.
“It’s the inconsistency [with VAR] that frustrates people. It’s not gonna go away, different people using it. But Harry Maguire’s a lucky boy,” said Carragher, who made 737 appearances for Liverpool.
In the post-match conference, Lampard said, “Maguire should have been sent off. That’s clear, and that obviously changes the game.”
“The Zouma goal should have stood,” Lampard added. “Giroud’s goal being ruled out is a bit soul-destroying but it’s the culmination of a few incidents.”
Lampard on decisions that cost us tonight: ‘They are crucial. Maguire should get a red and then he scores the second goal. That’s what VAR was brought in for, to check different angles.’#CHEMUN
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 17, 2020
On Twitter, former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas felt Maguire was lucky to stay on the pitch and tweeted: ‘Red’.
— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) February 17, 2020
From journalists and television presenters, everyone chipped in with their opinion of Maguire deserving a red. Some even claimed that VAR got it “plain wrong”.
No red card for Maguire there purely on the strength of him not being that type of lad.
— David Preece (@davidpreece12) February 17, 2020
To be honest, Son was sent off by VAR for not much more than Maguire just did there. #cfc
— Oliver Harbord (@ojharbord) February 17, 2020
Think Maguire is lucky there.
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) February 17, 2020
Ok you might have guessed I don’t like VAR. but what worries me most is that a qualified PLref with as many looks as he wants can’t see what Harry Maguire has done. That’s not the systems fault but the ineptness of those who are attempting to operate the system. Really scary
— Jeff Stelling (@JeffStelling) February 17, 2020
Looking at those three key VAR calls again. In reverse order of contentiousness:
3. Giroud non-goal – yes, a touch of offisde.
2. Zouma non-goal – any infringement was by the United player. Ludicrous.
1. Maguire non-red – VAR got it plain wrong.
People are right to feel agrieved.
— Dan Levene (@danlevene) February 17, 2020
I’m for #VAR in principal, but that was depressing tonight. You have to be in the stadium to understand how furious fans are becoming. They are excluded from the entire process. WHY doesn’t Taylor go to the screen on both Maguire kick & Zouma goal?? 🤷♂️
— Arlo White (@arlowhite) February 17, 2020
Maguire is a lucky boy. Anybody with a brain and two eyes who has played this sport knows that was absolutely unnecessary and unintentional. He 100000000% deserved a red card.
— Sam’s Army Podcast (@samsarmy) February 17, 2020
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