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Mikel Arteta confused by VAR role in Eddie Nketiah red card

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08 Jul 2020
Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta says he doesn’t understand the use of pitch-side monitors in the Premier League after the decision to send off Eddie Nketiah in the 1-1 draw with Leicester City.

After a lengthy VAR review that included referee Chris Kavanagh looking at the incident on a pitchside monitor, Arsenal’s forward Eddie Nketiah was dismissed in the 75th minute four minutes after his introduction as a substitute.

Referee Chris Kavanagh had initially shown Nketiah a yellow card for his tackle on Justin James. After consulting with the VAR officials and viewing a replay himself, he changed this to red.

VAR’s role in the decision perplexed Arteta who was proud of his side despite the draw.

He said, “I don’t understand the rules. I never see a referee check any of the images. But I can do nothing now. It is the rules”.

“We lost two points, we lost Eddie and we will see now for how long many games. But we will go to Spurs and try to win three points”.

Arteta was also unhappy at a challenge by a Leicester player he felt should have resulted in a red card that he identified s happening between the 40th and the 45th minutes.

It is likely the coach was referring to a clash between Jamie Vardy and Shkodran Mustafi in which Leicester striker caught the defender in the face with his heel. This however went unpunished.

“It can be a red card. But then, Leicester has to play with 10 men. For an incident that happened between the 40th and 45th minute, it has to be a red card as well”. Added Arteta.

In January this year, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the body that manages elite referees issued guidance that referees should start using pitch-side monitors for red card decisions where it felt they should have the final say.

Prior to that, the only time the monitors have been used in the 2019/20 season is by Michael Oliver in an FA Cup third-round tie between Crystal Palace and Derby County.

As a result, he upgraded the yellow card for Palace’s Luka Milivojevic to a red.

This approach has not been often witnessed since then. However, the most notable occasion came in the match between Southampton and Newcastle in March when referee Graham Scott upgraded Moussa Djenepo yellow card to a red after consulting the pitchside monitor.


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