By Lee Hurley
With Arsenal clinging on to a 1-0 lead as six minutes was signalled at the end of the second half, it looked like it was all about to implode for the Gunners.
They had struggled through the 45 minutes before and now Chris Kavanagh was pointing to the spot for a second time as he flashed a red card at Gabriel.
But Paul Tierney on VAR summoned Kavanagh to the touchline, he reviewed his own decisions and then scrapped the penalty and the red card.
Kavanagh then issued a yellow to Gabriel for his kick-out at Patrick Bamford.
With some supporters commenting that the kick-out didn’t change, they wanted to know ‘why did the colour of the card?’
The answer is the red card wasn’t given for the kick-out.
When Kavanagh pointed to the spot, the foul he was punishing was not only in the box but was also seen as denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
While double jeopardy has been restricted, contrary to popular belief, it hasn’t been done away with.
If you make no attempt to play the ball, the ref can, and should, give a penalty and a red card.
Think David Luiz against Wolves. The ref sent Luiz off, and gave a penalty, as Luiz was deemed to have brought down his man without making a genuine attempt to play the ball.
If Kavanagh overturned the penalty then he had to overturn the red card, too.
The yellow card seems to have been given for the kick-out, and you can argue about whether or not that should have been red on its own.
The referee didn’t think it was and so gave a yellow.
Quite how many players have been booked following a VAR review, I couldn’t say, but it is not likely to be many.
This wasn’t a straight downgrading of the card. This was a removal of the red for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity and an issuing of a yellow for a different ‘foul’.
Still, it wouldn’t be an Arsenal game if all the talk post-match wasn’t about the officials now, would it?
Source: Daily Cannon.