Arsenal drop points in 1-1 draw with Leicester following Nketiah's red card
Wednesday 8 July 2020 10:46, UK
Mikel Arteta has angrily argued against Eddie Nketiah's dismissal against Leicester - and insisted if Nketiah's red card was warranted then Jamie Vardy, who scored a late equaliser for the 1-1 draw, also should have been sent off.
After a lengthy VAR review, which included referee Chris Kavanagh looking at the incident on a pitchside monitor, Gunners forward Nketiah was dismissed in the 75th minute just four minutes after being introduced as a substitute.
Arsenal had dominated before the interval, missing a hatful of chances either side of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's opener, but lost control of the game after Nketiah's expulsion and were pegged back by a late Vardy leveller for the Foxes.
"I am extremely proud of the team - the way we played, against this type of opposition, and how dominant we were," Arsenal boss Arteta told Sky Sports.
"In the first half we should have gone three- or four-nil up and killed the game.
"With the red card decision, he doesn't see the player and you have to know that he is a young kid.
"But if that is a red card then Leicester have to play with 10 men after 42 minutes. That has to be a red card as well."
Arteta was referring to a clash between Vardy and Shkodran Mustafi in which the Leicester striker struck the Arsenal defender with a flailing boot just above the eye.
"I can see what Mikel Arteta is saying because it looks really dangerous and he caught him in the face with his studs," said Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp as he reviewed the clash.
"It looks really nasty."
Arteta added in his post-match press conference: "If we review incidents of that type, we review them all. It has to be something equal for everybody because it changes the game completely. If Eddie is a red card, then for sure the other one is a red card."
Speaking after the game, Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp said the Vardy incident was difficult to judge, and insists only the Leicester striker will know if he meant it...
"Only Jamie Vardy can tell us if he's meant to do him or not. It looks really nasty. VAR have obviously looked at it and thought he hasn't meant to do it.
"When you play football you see legs, you see bodies, but I don't think I've ever played with a player who wants to kick a player in the face, that doesn't really enter your mind. I'd like to think Vardy wouldn't mean that.
"But I can see what Mikel Arteta is saying because it looks really dangerous and he's caught Mustafi in the face with his studs."
The draw with Leicester is a heavy blow to Arsenal's already-slim hopes of breaking into the Champions League qualification spots.
The Gunners had impressed before the interval, creating a glut of chances, but were ultimately made to pay for their profligacy.
"We lost two points which we completed deserved," rued Arteta.
"We need to learn. Against this type of opposition, when you have them you have to kill them."
Arsenal's next assignment is the north London derby at Tottenham on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
Despite the draw, Leicester have fallen to fourth behind Chelsea in the Premier League with Manchester United, live on Sky Sports on Thursday when they travel to Aston Villa, four points behind.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers was open with his opinion when giving his own assessment of Nketiah's sending off, but admitted he had not properly seen the Vardy incident that irked Arteta.
Rodgers said: "It was a clear red card. I don't think Eddie meant to make the challenge that he did, he's obviously stretching for it but you can clearly see that the ball has bounced up, he's stretching his leg. I'm just thankful that JJ (James Justin) wasn't injured.
"I haven't seen it to be honest [Vardy on Mustafi]. Mikel will have his feelings on it but I think with Nketiah's, it wasn't intentional but it was definitely dangerous on the stretch to go in studs up and you see the contact right on the knee. I felt the referee made a good decision on that."
Leicester had their own lengthy VAR check to suffer through as Vardy's equaliser was questioned for offside in the build-up, but Rodgers is thankful for what could be an important point.
He added: "When the VAR is there, it always gives you that doubt when they have a look but I thought we worked it really well, it was a great ball by Demarai (Gray) and Jamie does what he does best.
"I think a point is huge for us. Arsenal have been on a really good run, playing with big confidence but we've been able to come here after a tough game at the weekend, play well. We can't win the game but we don't lose it which is really good for the spirit and we'll now get ready and go into the game at the weekend.
"It gives us great confidence again to continue with this mindset and stay focused on the next game."