William Saliba and Tim Akinola picked up red cards playing for the Arsenal u21s on Tuesday night, but the rules on suspensions are a little unusual in this case.

Tim Akinola with the Arsenal u21s (Photo via David Price on Twitter)
Tim Akinola with the Arsenal u21s (Photo via David Price on Twitter)

After a very decent first half and a solid enough start to the second, the Arsenal u21s completely lost their heads in the final quarter of their clash with AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday.

First, Tim Akinola gave the ball away after a Karl Hein pass put him under pressure, and Wimbledon took the lead. Then, Joel Lopez followed suit by unintentionally gifting the opposition the ball to score a second.

Akinola picked up a booking after the first goal, and he made matters worse by petulantly booting the ball away to receive a second yellow.

William Saliba, who had also picked up a booking for kicking the ball away, then received a second yellow for showing his studs in a tackle – even though he won the ball cleanly.

With just nine men, Arsenal conceded a third when their final remaining centre-back, Sokratis, slipped over.

The question now is how long will Akinola and Saliba miss through suspension, and which competitions will they be ineligible for?

As with most competitions, the EFL Trophy only hand out one-match bans for second yellows. However, the rules are rather unique in that you only serve the ban in EFL Trophy games.

As a result, neither Saliba nor Akinola will have to miss any further games this month. They’ll just have to sit out of the first EFL Trophy game of next season after Arsenal’s elimination from this year’s tournament.

William Saliba with the Arsenal u21s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)
William Saliba with the Arsenal u21s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)

If you’re wondering why, the reasoning given back in 2016 was that the EFL wanted the EFL Trophy to be a standalone first-team competition. They didn’t want it to affect other competitions.

If you’re a League One club with an EFL Trophy game on Tuesday and a key league clash on Sunday, you don’t want to risk your star striker getting a ban, so you might leave him out. These rules help avoid that dilemma and encourage you to play stronger teams.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.