Manchester United’s 9-0 win over Southampton was not short of talking points.
From Alexandre Jankewitz’s horror tackle on Scott McTominay and red card in the second minute of the game, to the way United ruthlessly took an injury-hit Southampton side apart, it was an action-packed contest at Old Trafford.
Yet one of the biggest post-match talking points was Jan Bednarek’s 86th-minute red card for a foul on Anthony Martial inside the penalty area.
Martial was through on goal when he went down under pressure from Bednarek, despite the Southampton defender seemingly trying to avoid the United attacker and minimise contact between the two.
Mike Dean gave a penalty and, after consulting VAR, opted to send Bednarek off for a professional foul, deeming the defender had not tried to play the ball.
Walking towards the tunnel, Bednarek was clearly surprised to have been dismissed, turning to a member of Southampton’s coaching staff and saying: “Martial said it wasn’t a foul”.
Bruno Fernandes subsequently scored the penalty to make it 7-0 before Martial and Daniel James added further goals late on.
The incident was similar to a talking point in an earlier game, which saw David Luiz sent off for Arsenal in an almost identical situation against Wolves.
Choose your man of the match vs Southampton
Speaking on BT Sport, former United defender Rio Ferdinand said decisions such as those will cause players to second-guess themselves over whether to commit to tackles or not.
He said: “It goes against everything you were brought up understanding and knowing in football. It’s a crazy rule and the reaction on social media tells you everything you need to know about it – there’s absolute disbelief everywhere.
“Mike Dean has given 109 red cards in his career as a referee, the most out of any referee in Premier League history, so he doesn’t mind getting the red card out.”