Why Ryan Christie was not sent off for Bukayo Saka challenge during Arsenal vs Bournemouth

Bukayo Saka gestures after a tackle during Arsenal vs AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth midfielder Ryan Christie escaped punishment for his challenge on Arsenal's Bukayo Saka because it did not fall within VAR's remit.

Saka went down in considerable pain during the first half having appeared to have been caught on the knee by the studs of the Cherries player. The England international received treatment on the pitch and there was some concern that he may have to be substituted although he was able to continue.

No booking was awarded to Christie for the challenge, which left Saka incensed with the officials as he waited to be reintroduced into the action. understands the incident was checked by VAR and cleared because the tackle was deemed to be reckless but not dangerous.

If it had been considered to be dangerous, then VAR could have instructed David Coote to observe the footage again and recommended a sending off. However, because Coote did not choose to give a booking for the incident, VAR could not intervene in the decision and instruct the referee to brandish a card.

VAR is only able to intervene for red card incidents or yellow card incidents when there has been a case of mistaken identity. Fortunately, this decision has not been costly for Arsenal just yet and Saka has shown no ill effects.

The winger opened the scoring for the league leaders on the stroke of half time as he converted a penalty following a foul from Mark Travers on Kai Havertz. If Arsenal beat Bournemouth they will be four points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the table ahead of their clash this evening against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

"At the time I jumped up straight away, studs went up and of course it's Saka and we're all extra concerned," former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said of the incident during TNT Sports' coverage of the match. "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."