‘Unacceptable’ – Fuming Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta slams Prem referee chiefs for ‘obvious error’ after Bukayo Saka injury

MIKEL Arteta has condemned the decision for James McArthur not to be shown a red card for his challenge on Bukayo Saka as 'unacceptable'.

The incident occurred during the 2-2 draw on Monday night, but despite being checked by VAR McArthur only received a yellow card and escaped retrospective action.

Saka was forced to be substituted after taking the whack from the Eagles midfielder, and could be forced to sit out of Friday's clash against Aston Villa.

When asked if the club had been given an explanation to the decision and why there was no further punishment, Arteta said: "No. We had communications with the referees and the association to explain why they didn't intervene in that action.

"When there is an obvious error they have to take action and they didn’t. For me, that’s not acceptable."

He also added on Saka: "We have to assess him today [Thursday] and see how he is.

"It is down to the doctors and himself to see how he recovers and how he feels when he trains today and tomorrow.

"He is very important, he has shown how important he is for the team."


The incident occurred less than a minute after Saka himself was shown a yellow card for a softer challenge than McArthur's kick.

However the Premier League chose not to rake retrospective action on the Crystal Palace man for his challenge.

That's despite former Prem ref Dermot Gallagher believing the tackle warranted a red card.

He said: "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.

"This came from a free kick given away by Saka ironically 43 seconds earlier, and if you're able to tell 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."

The Gunners are back in action already tonight after a quick turnaround from Monday night's dramatic 2-2 draw.

Arteta's side host Aston Villa at the Emirates looking to extend their unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions.

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