Alexis Sanchez should have been sent off against Bournemouth, according to former referee Keith Hackett, for a “dangerous” challenge on Harry Arter.
The Chile international was the match-winner for Arsenal, scoring twice in a 3-1 win as Arsene Wenger’s side ended a run of three consecutive draws in all competitions.
However, Hackett believes the 27-year-old was lucky to stay on the pitch after a foul on Arter in the 62nd minute, for which he was booked, with the Gunners leading the game 2-1.
“Where I do have most sympathy with Howe is over the grappling we saw in the penalty area and what I felt was a dangerous challenge by Alexis Sanchez on Harry Arter,” Hackett wrote in his column in The Telegraph.
“They are exactly the sort of tackles that we do not want in the game and must be dealt with firmly. I am clear that it should have been a red card.
“Shkodran Mustafi could also count himself very fortunate after grabbing Bournemouth centre-back Steve Cook off the ball. English football has been moving in the right direction on dealing with these sorts of infringement – led by Mike Dean – but he is not being supported by other referees taking a strict line.
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“The Professional Game Match Officials’ Board have a responsibility to ensure consistency on this and Howe is correct to expect the officials to have spotted that and penalised it.”
Hackett felt that Arsenal had also been the victim of some poor decisions and claims Bournemouth were fortunate to have been awarded their first-half penalty from which Callum Wilson made it 1-1.
“I agree with Arsene Wenger that Bournemouth’s penalty was soft and I felt that it was simply a coming together between Nacho Monreal and Callum Wilson that did not warrant infringement,” he explained.
“Similarly, I thought that Monreal tried to get his arms out of the way in the second half when Simon Francis drove the ball at him.
“He was retracting his arms at pace and, with the distance so limited, that was not a deliberate handball. I know there is an appeal whenever the ball hits an arm inside the penalty area but the law is very specific: it has to be deliberate and I think Mike was right on this.”
Sanchez’s tackle on Arter was indeed a poor challenge which could have seen him dismissed on another day , although it did seem a purely a case of bad timing rather than any vindictiveness on the part of the Chile international.