Gary Neville has slammed referee Martin Atkinson’s decision to show David Luiz a yellow card in Chelsea’s game against Manchester United as the former Red Devil was of the opinion that the Blues defender should have been sent off.
Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge was not the fairy-tale he expected. He went into the game blooming with confidence, optimistic of his side’s chances on the day, but was handed a huge reality check in the first minute of the game.
The United defence completely shut off for a moment and were severely punished as former Barcelona winger Pedro capitalised on the miscommunication between the trio of Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and David de Gea to calmly slot the ball into an open net to give Chelsea the lead.
Rather than sitting back preserving their one-goal cushion, Antonio Conte ordered his side to go for the kill and they duly obliged as they hit another three goals past a helpless de Gea in the United goal.
While it may be all sunshine and rainbows in the Chelsea camp post the final whistle, things could have been completely different had David Luiz been sent off in the first-half for a reckless lunge on Marouane Fellaini.
In his post-match analysis, former Manchester United player Gary Neville demeaned referee Martin Atkinson’s howler and said that he made the completely wrong call by showing him a yellow card. In all fairness to Atkinson, he was the closest to the incident, but may have made a controversial wrong decision that might have affected the outcome of the game.
According to Squawka, Neville said: “He’s very lucky there, David Luiz. He could have seen a red card and probably should have. It was reckless, out of control and so high.”
Should Luiz have been sent off?
The laws of the game pretty much agree with the Manchester United legend and a number of pundits across the continent. The rules state “A tackle in which a player directs their studs towards an opponent is referred to as a studs-up challenge, and is a foul punishable by a red card.”
Luiz, albeit unintentionally, went studs first into the thigh of Fellaini. The under-part of his boots came in direct contact with the Belgian’s skin, and luckily the repercussions did not seem to be so severe initially. Fellaini was, however, withdrawn at half-time with no news given about a probable injury.