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Andy Mitten ‘frustrated’ by penalty decision in Southampton draw

Manchester United drew 0-0 with Southampton in Sunday’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford, but journalist Andy Mitten felt the officiating went against them after two big penalty decisions weren’t given.

One major incident he wasn’t happy with was a potential handball by Armel Bella-Kotchap in the first half. The 21-year-old crouched low to control a Marcus Rashford cross on his chest, but the ball appeared to hit his arm afterwards.

A penalty wasn’t given, however, and Mitten admitted ‘frustration’ with Anthony Taylor’s decision. He said on The Athletic’s Talk of the Devil podcast: “I was frustrated. I think there should have been a penalty in the first half when Rashford put that ball in and it was handled by Bella-Kotchap.”

Dermot Gallagher didn’t think it should have been a penalty when giving his opinion on Sky Sports’ Ref Watch, saying the defender did pull away his arm when he realised there could be contact on his bicep, but it’s hard to deny that Bella-Kotchap didn’t gain an advantage. He used his arm to control the ball.

United failed to score at home in the league for the second time this season, last being shut out in October’s 0-0 draw with Newcastle.

They may feel hard done by as Bella-Kotchap undoubtedly handled the ball in the area. The result leaves United 16 points adrift of leaders Arsenal and 11 points behind second-placed Manchester City.

The Red Devils have picked up just one point from their last two league games and have failed to score in both.

Their next top-flight outing is against Newcastle United on April 2, as Sunday’s proposed meeting with Brighton & Hove Albion was postponed due to their FA Cup clash with Fulham on the same day.

United next face Real Betis in the Europa League on Thursday and will hope to return to winning ways.

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