Arsenal given 'lucky' Bukayo Saka tackle verdict after grim Bournemouth injury

Bukayo Saka receives medical treatment after a tackle during Arsenal vs AFC Bournemouth

Arsenal knew coming into the game against Bournemouth that a win would send them four points clear of Manchester City - though Pep Guardiola's side would have two games in hand as the title race heads towards its climax.

It was therefore important to get off to a quick start, and the Gunners began in just that manner - though for all their early dominance it wasn't until just before half-time that Arsenal took the lead. Kai Havertz was adjudged to have been brought down by Mark Travers for a penalty - though it wasn't without controversy - and Bukayo Saka dispatched from the spot.

However, Saka had already been involved in a controversial matter earlier in the game. After challenging with two Bournemouth players, the England international went down clutching his lower leg - and it was easy to see why.

Saka had his leg raised to control the ball but was still caught just below the knee with a studs-up tackle. However, while the referee appeared to miss just how nasty the tackle had been in real time, the VAR did not decide to make him take a look at the pitchside monitor and judge it again - leaving TNT Sport pundits Martin Keown and Joe Cole baffled at half-time.

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"At the time I jumped up straight away, studs went up and of course it's Saka and we're all extra concerned," Keown said. "You just look at it and that's high; that's your medial ligament. We're lucky that Saka has got to his feet. I was a little bit surprised that VAR didn't have a really close look at that. I don't like seeing players getting sent off but he was lucky there."

Joe Cole added: "At that point in a game, this is where a referee has got to use his nous because Bournemouth were not getting close to anyone. You're looking to get tight; he was reckless, he was rash and he was lucky to stay on the pitch. You cannot go in studs showing, knee height nowadays. I think Bournemouth got away with one there."