How Smalling refused to give pitch invader who attacked him during Arsenal clash ‘the attention he craved’

Chris Smalling was attacked by a pitch invader during Manchester United's defeat at Arsenal on Sunday

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling  has refused to give the pitch invader who confronted him at Arsenal “the attention he craved” for the incident.

Smalling, 29, was the victim of an unprovoked attack during United’s Premier League defeat at the Emirates on Sunday, but gave a well-measured response when he took to social media to respond to the incident.

He posted on Twitter: “Commenting would only add to the attention he craved… Disappointed with yesterday’s result but we’ll learn from it.

“Looking ahead. Have a good start to the week everyone!”

Smalling took to Twitter with a well-measured response to the incident

The supporter had ran on after Pierre-Emerich Aubameyang rolled home his penalty to double the Gunners’ lead.

As the Arsenal players celebrated, one man jumped the advertising hoardings, ran towards Smalling and shoved the England international before trying to join in on the celebrations.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed on Sunday night that the man had been arrested on suspicion of common assault and pitch invasion and was taken into custody.

In a club statement, Arsenal said: “We utterly condemn the behaviour of the individual who ran on to the pitch and approached Chris Smalling during today’s match.

“We would like to apologise to Chris and Manchester United, and are pleased that [the spectator] was apprehended and arrested.

“We will be working closely with the Metropolitan Police in their investigation.

“The individual will also be banned from Arsenal matches home and away. Our matchday staff receive ongoing training on managing incidents such as this.”
The shock incident was one of three that happened across England and Scotland alone, in what turned out to be a weekend of shame for the beautiful game.

Rangers skipper James Travernier was approached by a Hibernian fan on Friday night, while jack Grealish was punched in the head after Birmingham supporter Paul Mitchell ran onto the pitch and attacked the Aston Villa captain.

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