Manchester United have come away as 1-0 winners over Wolves at Molineux this evening, although it's fair to say they were more than a bit fortunate to emerge with all three points.
The home side created the better chances throughout, missing a number of gilt-edge opportunities. However, they would be made pay for their wastefulness late on.
Mason Greenwood would score the winner, with plenty of controversy about the decision to award the goal. Paul Pogba looked to have fouled Ruben Neves in the buildup, but referee Mike Dean waived away the pleas for a whistle. United would then put the ball in the net, with the VAR official opting now to overturn the decision.
You can watch the incident below.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 29, 2021
It is a decision that is highly likely to have been given last season, with the Premier League opting to let the game flow more often in this campaign.
However, they need to be careful not to let things go too far. Speaking after the final whistle, the Sky Sports punditry panel of Roy Keane, Robbie Keane, and Graeme Souness all felt this was an obvious foul.
Souness: It's a foul. Paul Pogba doesn't make any contact with the ball whatsoever. You will see he makes contact with the shin of Neves. It's a bad touch and it goes away from him.
He doesn't make any contact with the ball, so how is it not a foul? Look how high his foot is...
United have got away with one today, they didn't play very well...
Roy: I think it's a foul, but Neves is almost too honest. I think if he goes down straight away from the tackle he will give the free-kick...
He does catch him. He's off his feet, out of control, you can see [Neves'] shinpad. You could say it's not a 'clear and obvious' error, but he catches him...
Robbie: The referee should go 'he was being honest so I'll give the free-kick'. Do we want our players to be diving on the ground? It's definitely a free-kick.
Souness: None of that should matter. The referee is there to referee the game. He's not blindsided by anything, he's two metres away from it.
Whether Neves goes down immediately or not is immaterial. That is a leg breaker. Look how close he is, it's a leg breaker.
Any of us who has ever played the game, standing two yards from the challenge, tells you that is a dangerous challenge.
Roy: Put it this way, if he gave the free-kick straight away, I don't think one United player would have complained. They wouldn't have thought 'ref, you're out of order'.
He's off his feet and catches him.
Robbie: Neves is punished because he's honest... The delayed reaction has killed him...
Souness: That referee has deemed that not a foul. That is impossible for anyone who knows anything about football to say that's not a foul. He's two yards away!
It's difficult to argue with any of that.
The player at the end of the tackle was rightly annoyed, giving a tetchy post-match interview where he said he could not believe that the foul was not given.
🗣"Everybody saw it. Everyone saw my leg, we always do meetings about refs and VAR but I don't know why this happens..."
Ruben Neves is very unhappy with the refs decision during the build up to Man United's goal pic.twitter.com/vhXuDpz3cW
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 29, 2021
It certainly seems that Manchester United have got away with one here, although their supporters may argue that they should have a free-kick in the buildup to Southampton's goal last week.