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Arsenal can lay down a marker

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Sir Alex Ferguson avoids FA reprimand

Sir Alex Ferguson has avoided disciplinary action after he confronted officials during Manchester United's dramatic 4-3 win over Newcastle on Boxing Day.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will not face punishment for confronting referee Mike Dean at Old Trafford on Wednesday, the Football Association has confirmed.

The Scot was furious after Dean overruled assistant Jake Collin and awarded Newcastle's second goal in the Red Devils' 4-3 win.

The FA confirmed no action would be taken against the Red Devils boss as Dean made no reference to Ferguson confronting him in his report. Ferguson approached Dean as he made his way out for the second half, before rounding on the fourth official Neil Swarbrick and Collin.

Dean did not send Ferguson off during the match, which ended with United going seven points clear at the top of the Premier League thanks to their win and Manchester City's 1-0 defeat at Sunderland.

Ferguson was furious that Dean allowed a Jonny Evans own goal to stand after Collin had flagged for offside against Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse.

"The referee changed the linesman's mind. He said it was an own goal. But if you see it again, and the referee can't, the guy is in an offside position, then he pulls Evans' arm," Ferguson said. "If that is not interfering, what is? I think it was a bad decision."

The Premier League issued a clarification, backing Dean's decision, confirming that "as Cisse did not play the ball, then he was not interfering with play."

The league also stated that: "It is also the case that Cisse didn't interfere with the opponent.''

Javier Hernandez's 90th-minute winner gave United the spoils as they fought back three times from a goal down to edge out Newcastle in an enthralling encounter.

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