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WATCH: Bizarre Emile Smith-Rowe goal at Old Trafford for Arsenal vs. Manchester United

WATCH: Emile Smith-Rowe scores a controversial goal for Arsenal against Manchester United.

Arsenal's Emile Smith-Rowe opened the scoring against Manchester United on Thursday night in a controversial fashion.

Arsenal lead Manchester United 1-0 after Emile Smith-Rowe scored from distance.

Smith-Rowe cut across the ball from the edge of the box after a corner. It was a clean strike that gave David De Gea no chance in the United goal. Of course, De Gea had no chance because he was crumpled up on the ground before Smith-Rowe ever touched the ball. The goalkeeper fell down when the ball arrived in the box from the corner. He never got back up.

Referee Martin Atkinson initially waved the goal off but VAR reviewed the play and confirmed that nothing untoward had happened to De Gea.

Goalkeepers often get more protection than they need. Typically in these situations, the referee would blow up before the ball ever had a chance of hitting the net. Atkinson attempted to wipe it off, but because he didn't blow the whistle early enough, VAR got involved. This is an unintended consequence of VAR.

In the past, it was just accepted that if the goalkeeper was down the game was stopped. No matter the reason.

Smith-Rowe didn't appear to see De Gea on the ground. So he had no reasonable way of knowing if the game needed to be stopped. The onus isn't on him to stop play either way. It's not up to the Arsenal players to respond that way, it's a failing of Martin Atkinson rather than the players involved.

Now teams play on when players are down unless there is a head injury or severe injury that needs immediate treatment.

This was the opposite of Paolo Di Canio's (in)famous fair play moment in 2000..

It was Everton versus West Ham. The game finished 1-1. During the final five minutes, Paul Gerrard injured himself chasing a long ball. West Ham played on, but Di Canio reached up and caught the ball when it was crossed into the box. He stopped the game so that Gerrard could receive treatment, earning him a FIFA Fair Play award later that year.

VAR probably would have booked him for an intentional handball if it existed to intervene as it did for Arsenal.

It wasn't a popular move with everyone. His own manager, Harry Redknapp wasn't happy.

"My God, the day he [Di Canio] caught the ball at Everton with five minutes to go. We needed the points badly and instead of heading it in he catches the ball so Gerrard can get treatment.

"I’ve come off at the end and I’m like ‘what’s he done?’ Stuart Pearce comes thundering into the dressing room and says ‘Don’t let me near him, I’ll kill him, I’ll kill him, I’m going to rip his head off!'"

Arsenal don't mind. Manchester United did equalize through Bruno Fernandes just before halftime. It was Arsenal 1-1 Manchester at halftime.

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Arsenal David De Gea Emile Smith-Rowe Manchester United