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Angry Arteta blasts ‘unacceptable’ referees failure that followed Saka injury

Bukayo Saka was forced off with an injury during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace after a wild challenge by James McArthur and Mikel Arteta remains unhappy with the lack of punishment

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Mikel Arteta unhappy with lack of VAR intervention

Mikel Arteta has blasted the ‘unacceptable’ response from Premier League referees’ chiefs that followed the injury suffered by Bukayo Saka on Monday night.

Saka was replaced at half-time as Arsenal drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace on Monday, after receiving a cynical whack from James McArthur shortly before the break.

The 20-year-old is yet to return to training and is a doubt for Aston Villa ‘s visit to north London on Friday.

Arteta was asked in his pre-match press conference on Thursday if his club had received an explanation for why McArthur was only given a yellow card and no retrospective punishment.

He replied: “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.”



Saka was taken down by McArthur as Arsenal drew with Crystal Palace
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Image:

REUTERS)




He 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.”

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher claimed that McArthur’s challenge was as close to being a red card as possible, with Saka being booked seconds earlier by match official Mike Dean for a far less dangerous tackle.









“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,” Gallagher explained.

“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.”

Arsenal’s focus will now be on Villa, aiming to pick up their first win in three games.







One man trying to stop them will be ex-goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who left the Emirates in 2020 in search of more regular minutes.

He has since excelled at Villa Park, while Arteta replaced previous No.1 Bernd Leno with Aaron Ramsdale this summer.

“We made decisions with the best possible interest of the club. But as well a big participant was Emi,” the Spaniard explained.

“He got to a point in his career where under me he started to play big games very well.

“It was urgent for him because he wanted to play so long. He’s a great kid. I played with him I managed him. I can say that I’m happy for him.”

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