Mikel Arteta has confirmed Arsenal contacted the referees and their association for an explanation over James McArthur avoiding a red card on Monday.
It’s fair to say that Mike Dean’s refereeing of James McArthur in the first half of Arsenal’s match against Crystal Palace was a bit bizarre.
McArthur initially made two cynical fouls to prevent Arsenal counter-attacks, but he only received a warning for them. Then he volleyed Bukayo Saka in the leg, leaving the Arsenal man injured, and only got a yellow for the incident.
Arguably, the Palace man should have had both a red card and a yellow card by that stage.
Yet he was punished no more than Saka himself, who picked up a yellow for a trip identical to the two McArthur avoided punishment for.
Speaking in his pre-Aston Villa press conference, Mikel Arteta was asked whether Arsenal had been given an explanation for the lack of a red card. He confirmed that Arsenal have made contact with the refereeing association over the incident.
“No, we had communication with the referees and the association to try to explain why they didn’t intervene in that action,” Arteta answered.
“The explanation we had at the start of the season is that they would when there is an obvious error there.
“They need to take action, and they didn’t. These actions determine a football match and the result, and for me it’s unacceptable.”
Saka is yet to return to training following the injury he sustained in the incident, removing any doubt that McArthur was endangering the safety of an opponent with his reckless kick.
It was serious foul play, and should have been a red card.
The rules are simple, the application of those rules, apparently, is not.