Later News Oct 19

Arteta cries foul over McArthur’s Shaolin Soccer kick on Saka in Arsenal’s draw with Crystal Palace


As with the majority of games officiated by ‘celebrity’ referee Mike Dean, Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace this morning (SGT) was overshadowed by controversy.

 

The moment of controversy occurred at the end of the first-half, when Palace midfielder James McArthur aimed a Shaolin Soccer-esque kick to the back of Bukayo Saka’s calf without getting any of the ball.

 

Incredibly, McArthur escaped the challenge with just a yellow card. Yes, even after a VAR review was conducted.

 

Naturally, Saka, whose leg is made up of flesh and bones and not adamantium, was unable to continue, and had to be taken off at half-time.

 

WATCH: Arteta unhappy that McArthur escaped a red card after Saka challenge

 

And Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta complained after the game that he did not understand why Dean failed to send McArthur off for the challenge on Saka.

 

“If we want to detect things that are really relevant in a game and can change a football match, then they (bad tackles) have to be looked at,” Arteta fumed.

 

“That situation is not only affecting them, but we have to take the player off because of the action so it is affecting it two different ways. It is not right. You [need to] make a straight decision, when it is so clear and so obvious straight away and they have to play with 10 men.

 

“Bukayo could not continue, we had to take him off at half-time, I saw the action and I can't believe how the player continued on the pitch. I don't get it. With what we were explained at the start of the season and what happened tonight, it doesn't make any sense.”

 

WATCH: Saka's incredible rise at Arsenal

 

Arsenal fans on social media were similarly appalled that McArthur was allowed to stay on the pitch.

 

When asked about the incident, Crystal Palace manager and Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira channelled his inner-Arsene Wenger and declared: “I'm sorry. I didn't see it.”

 

Palace were denied a famous victory at the Emirates Stadium when Alexandre Lacazette turned home the equaliser for the Gunners in stoppage time.

 

Vieira admitted that conceding such a late equaliser “hurt” – although we’re willing to bet that it doesn’t hurt as much as McArthur’s kick on Saka.

 

WATCH: Lacazette's best off-field moments at Arsenal

 

Said Vieira: “I was really pleased with the attitude we showed today on the field," he said. "It was challenging in the first 15 minutes but afterwards we managed and controlled the game quite well.

 

“That is why the draw hurts - because of the performance we had today. I'm really disappointed for my players because they played well, showed a lot of character and personality.

 

"I think when looking at how the game went and coming back in the second half and scoring two goals, the way we conceded the second one, I think it is two points lost for us and we are disappointed not leaving the stadium with a win.”

 

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