Dermot Gallagher has told Sky Sports that Arsenal teenager Bukayo Saka should have been sent off for a second yellow card as The Gunners drew 0-0 with Everton on Saturday afternoon at Goodison Park.
Saka, 18, is filling in at left-back with Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac both injured. Tierney has undergone an operation to fix a dislocated shoulder, while Kolasinac is struggling with an ankle ligament injury – likely to keep him out until January.
On a yellow card, Saka was caught planting a high foot into the chest of Everton striker Dom Calvert-Lewin. Referee Kevin Friend ignored a second yellow card, and Saka saw out the entire 90 minutes.
Former Premier League referee Gallagher was asked whether Saka should have seen red for his high foot on Calvert-Lewin, and he reckons Friend made a mistake in not showing Saka a red card in his 19th senior Arsenal outing.
“The player is not aware that he’s there, he boots his boot up and it’s reckless,” Saka said. “He runs the risk and I think if referee Kevin Friend had decided to pull out a second yellow card to send him off, he couldn’t argue. The only thing is Saka’s favour is he doesn’t see the player coming.”
TBR’s view – Losing Saka to suspension would have been worrying
With Kolasinac and Tierney injured, losing Saka would have seen Arsenal without any kind of option on the left side of the defence. Mikel Arteta not only needs to work on Saka’s discipline, but also consider another option on the left side of defence.
Granit Xhaka is a possiblity given he is left-footed, while Hector Bellerin is close to returning to action and he could be used on the other side. Saka, though, is crucial to the Arsenal side right now.