Gary Lineker has called Emile Smith Rowe's opener against Manchester United "unusual and unfortunate" but has admitted that the goal was legitimate despite protests.

David de Gea was down injured as the England international volleyed into an empty net in the first half of their clash on Thursday.

After deliberation, Martin Atkinson, with the aid of Andre Marriner behind the VAR monitor at Stockley Park, judged that United midfielder, Fred, had inflicted the damage on the Spanish goalkeeper and no infringement had taken place.

Despite the controversy, the Reds went on to win 3-2 thanks to a second-half brace from Cristiano Ronaldo with Bruno Fernandes levelling proceedings on the stroke of half-time.

Martin Odegaard struck back immediately after the 36-year-old put the hosts in front for the first time before his spot-kick 20 minutes from time was enough to claim their first home win in over two months.

But it was the opener that prompted the tweet from the former Premier League footballer and now pundit.

Lineker tweeted: "Unusual and unfortunate, but there’s no question that the Arsenal goal was legitimate."

Ronaldo played a big part in their last league triumph at Old Trafford, as he fired a double on his second debut against Newcastle, and he illustrated his importance once again.

The win moved United to within two points of Mikel Arteta's side and three off the Champions League places as Michael Carrick signed off as caretaker manager.

Ralf Rangnick will be in the dugout for the first time when Crystal Palace travel to Manchester on Sunday and was in the crowd to witness the five-goal thriller.

They will be looking at successive league wins for the first time since December but Carrick won't be among the 63-year-old's staff after stepping down following the win.

Sign up to our United newsletter so you never miss an update from Old Trafford this season.