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.”
Arteta rues missed chances – and missed chance for CL push
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.”
Despite the draw, Leicester have fallen to fourth behind Chelsea in the Premier League with Manchester United,when they travel to Aston Villa, four points behind.