Man United 2-1 Aston Villa: Paul Pogba appeared to tell Luke Shaw to dive for a penalty

Did Paul Pogba tell Luke Shaw to dive?

Manchester United are finally back challenging for the Premier League title after moving level on points with table-toppers Liverpool.

It's been a tough time for the club in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, but the Red Devils now look ready to mix it with the very best in English football once again.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side secured a priceless 2-1 victory over in-form Aston Villa on Friday night to join Liverpool on 33 points, Anthony Martial and talisman Bruno Fernandes scoring the goals.

The latter struck the game's winner from the penalty spot in the 61st minute after Paul Pogba was 'fouled' by Villa enforcer Douglas Luiz.

It was a dubious decision, but VAR believed Michael Oliver's on-pitch call was correct and Fernandes duly stepped up to convert from 12 yards.

Pogba goes down

The penalty incident itself wasn't the only controversial moment Pogba was involved in during the game at Old Trafford.

Just minutes before he earned United a spot kick, the Frenchman appeared to instruct Luke Shaw to dive after Matty Cash cut across the left-back's path in the box.

In the video below, Pogba appears to make a downward motion with his hand, which fans are interpreting as a gesture for Shaw to go down next time.

Let's take a look at the incident...

Pogba appears to tell Shaw to dive

It doesn't look good for the United midfielder.

Of course, we can't be sure whether the World Cup winner was instructing his teammate to go down, but it's hard to see what else the gesture could mean.

One thing we can be certain of, though, is that the penalty awarded to United for a 'foul' on Pogba was incredibly harsh.

After the game, Villa manager Dean Smith claimed the French midfielder tripped himself up in the box and was therefore not fouled by Luiz.

Smith on the touchline

"They got what l believed was a penalty at the time - I thought Douglas Luiz got too tight - but having seen it back, it looks like he trips himself up," Smith told Sky Sports.

"For me, Michael Oliver should be sent over to the monitor. That's what VAR is for. If there's doubt, get yourself over there.

"At the time l had no doubts it was a penalty. But Pogba has tripped himself up there. Seeing it again, I don't think it is a penalty."

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