Mikel Arteta was forced to bring Bukayo Saka off at half-time during Arsenal’s draw with Crystal Palace after the winger was on the receiving end of a nasty challenge from James McArthur
Image: Sky Sports)
Mikel Arteta was left fuming after James McArthur escaped a red card following his tackle on Bukayo Saka
Saka hooked the ball clear on the edge of his box but was scythed down by McArthur, who swiped at his standing leg before pleading his innocence to referee Mike Dean.
McArthur was booked and VAR did check the challenge – and some may argue a red card wouldn’t have been unfair.
Arteta though was left baffled that Peter Banks, the man at Stockley Park, didn’t advise Mike Dean to dismiss the Palace midfielder.
He told the BBC: “It’s a clear red card. No intention to play the ball. I don’t know how with VAR he hasn’t been sent off.”
Arteta also on Sky Sports : “We had to take him (Saka) off. He was sore in the area. When I look at the action I cannot understand how the players are on the field.”
Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher claimed the challenge was as close to being a red card as was possible.
“I think you know, Saka clears the ball, McArthur goes, he goes in and doesn’t pull out and I think he’s extremely lucky not to get a red card,” he admitted.
“This came from a free kick given away by Saka ironically 43 seconds earlier, and if you’re able to roll me the free kick that Saka gave away, he also got a yellow card.
“I would say that there has to be a band in what a yellow card is, but when you put the two together, there’s no comparison in Saka’s tackle to McArthur’s tackle.
“If that’s not a red card, it must be as high as you can go before you hit the cut line. I think he’s extremely lucky.”
When Saka was hooked at the interval the hosts were 1-0 up thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s early strike.
He was able to tap into an empty goal after Saka’s excellent curling effort was well saved.
The Eagles reacted well in the second-half however, but Patrick Vieira was denied a triumphant return to north London.
Christian Benteke was able to seize on a Thomas Partey error to equalise in front of the away fans before Odsonne Edouard thundered in an effort off the bar.
Kieran Tierney’s late effort also smacked the woodwork and the visitors looked set to see it out before Alexandre Lacazette notched home from close range in the fourth minute of stoppage time.