Mikel Arteta said he does not understand the way VAR is being used in the Premier League after Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah was sent off for a dangerous challenge and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy stayed on despite kicking a player in the face.
Nketiah had only just come on as a substitute with Arsenal leading 1-0 thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first-half goal when he stretched for the ball and caught James Justin on the knee.
Referee Chris Kavanagh chose to watch the incident again on the pitch-side monitor and showed a straight red card after initially only booking the player, with opinion divided as to whether that was the correct decision.
By the letter of the law, the challenge had endangered an opponent, even if it was not deliberate, yet Vardy was not punished after his boot caught the face of Mustafi in the first half after a heavy challenge, and Kavanagh was not asked to review the incident by VAR.
“I’m extremely proud of our team and the way we played, how dominant we were,” said Arteta. “Really, we should have scored three or four and when you have an opponent like this, when you [are so dominant] you have to kill the game.
“With the red card, it can be a red card, but [if that’s a red] then Leicester should be playing with 10 men after 40 minutes [for the Vardy foul].
The fact it was Vardy who scored Leicester’s equaliser, to maintain his two-goal lead over Aubameyang in the race for the Golden Boot, did not help Arteta’s mood.
“It was one challenge that has to be a red card as well. I don’t understand the rules, since I came to this country, in the last year I have never seen a referee check the images [by the side of the pitch] but there is nothing I can do. I don’t know if we will appeal.”
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers felt it was a deserved red card and felt his side fully deserved to equalise and could have gone on to win the game.
“Even 11 vs 11 I thought we were the better team [in the second half],” said Rodgers. “I was really pleased with how we managed the game against 10 because it’s never easy.
“We remained patient, got a deserved goal and if we had made the final pass a little cleaner we could have won the game. But it could be a very important point for us.”