Arsenal are preparing a double appeal to the Football Association following Kieran Gibbs’s controversial red card in Saturday’s defeat to Chelsea.
The club will bid to have Gibbs’s suspension overturned in time for Tuesday’s match against Swansea, as the left-back was incorrectly dismissed by referee Andre Marriner instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Manager Arsene Wenger said: “The referee made a mistake because he missed the identity of the player, he has not seen what happened at all. Maybe it was a penalty, but it was not Gibbs.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who actually handled Eden Hazard’s shot, approached the referee to plead Gibbs’s innocence but was waved away.
He will inherit the red card, but the Gunners will appeal that too, arguing that because Hazard’s shot was not goalbound, the midfielder was not guilty of denying a goalscoring opportunity.
Arsene Wenger is desperate to have both players available for the visit of Swansea as he seeks an immediate response to the 6-0 thrashing in his 1,000 game in charge.
Arsenal will lodge their appeals tomorrow in order that the independent commission can reach a decision before the Tuesday evening kick-off, while Wenger is expected to name both players in his squad in the hope of a favourable ruling.
Earlier this season, Preston had the wrong man sent off against Port Vale in League One – but while Neil Kilkenny’s red card was rescinded, rightful culprit Joe Garner had to serve a three-match suspension.
Marriner’s decision has attracted considerable scorn. Former World Cup referee Clive Thomas told BBC radio that the team of four officials should be banned for the rest of the season.
“It’s the most disgusting, shocking decision I’ve seen,” the Welshman said. “In my opinion, these four wouldn’t officiate another Premier League game this season.”
Meanwhile, UEFA president Michel Platini’s press chief blamed the decision on the absence of additional goalline officials.
Pedro Pinto tweeted: “With an additional assistant referee on the end line, referee would not have got that sending off wrong. Technology is not the answer…More eye balls are the answer.”
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