Last Updated: 18/02/20 12:13am
Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane agreed that Man Utd defender Harry Maguire should have been shown a red card for kicking out at Michy Batshuayi.
Harry Maguire scored Manchester United’s second in their 2-0 win at Chelsea – but should he have been on the pitch at the time?
Maguire was cleared of a potential red card offence by a VAR review after he appeared to kick out at Michy Batshuayi on the touchline after being clattered into by the Chelsea forward.
Harry Maguire clashes with Mich Batshuayi
Both Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane said Maguire, who would later score his first United league goal to seal their win at Stamford Bridge, was “lucky” to stay on the pitch, while Frank Lampard said the VAR review made the “wrong decision”.
So was VAR right to let Maguire stay on, or should he have walked? Have your say below.
‘He’s a very lucky boy’
Keane told Monday Night Football Maguire’s personality had worked in his favour with VAR official Chris Kavanagh, who gave him a reprieve after reviewing the footage of the incident.
“He’s very lucky, a very lucky boy,” he said. “Maguire, maybe because it’s his personality, he seems like a calm lad, he definitely kicks out. I think they look at it and ask if he’s a nasty player.
“His personality helped him in the situation. He does come across as a pretty decent guy and he said it was an accident. It’s a pretty decent excuse but still, he’s a lucky boy.”
Carragher was in full agreement and suggested the reaction – or lack of – from Lampard and his coaching team may have contributed towards Maguire avoiding a dismissal.
“It doesn’t look good,” he said. “The fact the Chelsea bench get up, Frank Lampard and Jody Morris, maybe they know him a little bit as they’re all English, don’t demonstrate as much as they’d normally do.
“That split second, your foot comes out, he may not even be able to explain it himself, but I think he’s very, very lucky.
“Listen, it’s a red card. He’s very lucky. We looked at the Heung-min Son one at half-time and it’s virtually the same so he’s very fortunate.
“The referee can’t see it, but it goes to VAR, when you’re talking about referees, VAR, it’s the inconsistency which will frustrate people.”
Maguire: It wasn’t intentional
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire insists there was no intent behind his clash with Michy Batshuayi which escaped a red card after a VAR review
Maguire spoke to Sky Sports after his goal-scoring performance and defended the incident with Batshuayi, saying he had been trying to stop the Chelsea man from falling on him by “instinctively” stretching out his leg.
He said: “I can see why [the Batshuayi incident looked bad], I know I caught him but I thought he was going to fall on me. My natural reaction was to straighten my leg, obviously I’ve got studs on my boots and it probably looks worse than it was, on TV, but it was just my natural reaction.
“It wasn’t a kick-out, there was no intent, and if he fell to hold him up. I knew I caught him, I knew at the time, but I thought it was the right decision. It was definitely [worrying] during the review, but I never meant to hurt or kick him.”
Managers disagree over dismissal
Perhaps unsurprisingly, both managers had different opinions on how the VAR decision should have gone – with Frank Lampard unimpressed with Kavanagh’s decision.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard felt Harry Maguire’s challenge on Michy Batshuayi should have been punished with a red card
“I get annoyed with people mentioning when it’s not affecting the game, but whether it would or not, Harry Maguire should have got sent off. I think that’s quite clear,” he said. “We all have opinions I suppose. It should’ve been looked at [on the monitor].
“Harry Maguire’s a smart boy, England international, holds his hand up, didn’t do anything, that’s the time to look at it properly and make your decision. and it was the wrong decision. I don’t get the monitor one, I think it’s been looked at once this season. For things like that, it has to be looked at.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke out in defence of his player, echoing Maguire’s own point that he was attempting to avoid injury rather than hurt Batshuayi.
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He said: “With Harry when he was pulled over, I wouldn’t think that’s a red card. I think he’s just protecting himself with the lad over him.”