David Coote appointed as referee for Manchester United's trip to Villa for first time since 2020 VAR controversy

VAR gave Manchester United a much-needed assist to get a victory over Aston Villa in the FA Cup.

United did not play well and had to grind out a win after Scott McTominay’s early goal, with Aston Villa having two goals ruled out.

VAR came to United’s rescue for one of the goals after a three minute delay, to the relief of the home crowd at Old Trafford, while infuriating the visiting side.

Referee appointment made for Premier League game

Villa fans believing there is a pro-United conspiracy will be left fearful after learning about the appointment of referee for this Saturday’s Premier League fixture between the two teams.

David Coote has been appointed as referee for the fixture, the Premier League has confirmed.

This will be the first Manchester United game Coote has overseen since the 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford in November 2020.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

And if you cast your minds back, this was a game United won due to a Bruno Fernandes penalty, and a VAR call ruling out a West Brom goal.

Coote had to go and review the monitor, to reverse a decision to award a spot-kick against United for a Fernandes foul.

Even the usually pro-United pundit Rio Ferdinand was not too happy, telling BT Sport: “It’s a disgraceful decision.

“He got it right first time. It’s a nailed-on penalty. How can he go against his own decision on that? The game’s been taken from under West Brom’s noses. That was so clear.”

Coote has not refereed a United game since, until this weekend. Villa fans are unlikely to be amused with his selection.

While Coote has managed two United games, both wins for the Red Devils (the other was a 3-0 win over Colchester in the League Cup in 2019), Villa have a far more split record.

Villa have had 10 games with Coote in charge, winning five, drawing one and losing four, although he did award them a penalty earlier in the season in their win over Newcastle.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

United need to be less reliant on officials

It would be nice if United could win games easily without having to hope for referee decisions to swing tight games, as has happened frequently against Villa in the past.

Last season United only won thanks to a penalty when Paul Pogba was fouled, and earlier this season a penalty should have given us a share of the points, only for Bruno Fernandes to produce a rare miss.

Former Villa boss Dean Smith liked to complain about decisions going in United’s favour, and new boss Steven Gerrard will want a raucous home crowd to try and give Villa an edge.

Both sides want a referee who can handle the pressure, and Coote knows the spotlight will be on him this weekend from both sides. The controversy in midweek only adds to it further.

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