- Manager cites challenge of four red cards in short time in charge
- Arteta: ‘We have to learn. Is not possible to play like that’
Mikel Arteta said Arsenal must learn from their mistakes as Jamie Vardy denied them a fifth successive victory with a late equaliser that maintained Leicester’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first‑half goal had given Arsenal the lead at the Emirates Stadium, with Kasper Schmeichel producing several excellent saves to keep Leicester in the contest. But a red card for Eddie Nketiah moments after he had been introduced as a substitute in the second half forced Arsenal on to the back foot as Vardy scored his 22nd goal of the season six minutes from time.
Arsenal are five points behind Manchester United in fifth place and, asked if he was frustrated by the result, Arteta said: “Yes but we have to learn as well. It is the fourth time since I’ve been here that we have had to play with 10 men and that’s just not possible to play like that against this kind of opposition. You are going to suffer. I didn’t like the goal that we conceded but it’s part of what it is.”
The video assistant referee took several minutes to study Nketiah’s challenge on James Justin after the striker was initially shown a yellow card, with the referee Chris Kavanagh eventually deciding to send him off after consulting the pitchside television monitor.
Leicester’s manager, Brendan Rodgers, was adamant the right decision had been made. “It was a clear red card,” he said. “I think the kid was stretching for the ball but it ended up being an horrific challenge.”
Arteta questioned why a challenge by Vardy on Shkodran Mustafi in the first half had not been reviewed by VAR. “If you are going to review incidents of that type then you have to review them all. Equal for everybody because it changes the game completely. If Eddie’s is a red card then for sure the other one is a red card.”
Vardy’s goal ensured he remains two ahead of Aubameyang in the race for the Golden Boot and Rodgers acknowledged the 33-year-old striker’s intervention could prove vital to their chances of finishing in the top four having slipped behind Chelsea after their win against Crystal Palace.
“It was a great goal – it’s never easy when you play against 10 men,” he said. “Jamie did what he has been doing all of his career. It’s a terrific point and it could be vital for us.”