Gary Neville left baffled after Gabriel Martinelli was not given card

‘Is he not booking him?’: Gary Neville left baffled after Gabriel Martinelli is not booked for ‘DANGEROUS’ challenge on Kaoru Mitoma during Arsenal’s must-win game vs Brighton claiming ‘I don’t think I’d have complained if it was a red’

  • Gary Neville was left baffled during Arsenal’s must win game against Brighton 
  • The referee did not penalise Gabriel Martinelli for a challenge on Kaoru Mitoma
  • Stay updated with the latest from Arsenal vs Brighton on Mail Sport’s live blog 

Gary Neville was left baffled during the opening stages of Arsenal’s must-win game against Brighton, after Gabriel Martinelli and Moises Caicedo were both not shown yellow cards in a feisty start at the Emirates. 

The Sky Pundit was on commentary with Martin Tyler when Martinelli jumped into an aerial challenge with Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma, ‘dangerously’ clashing with the midfielder, but was not awarded a sanction for the foul.  

The Arsenal man was soon after hacked down by Brighton’s Caicedo, with the Gunners midfielder appearing to be hurt after the challenge, but the referee again chose not to give the Brighton man a card for the foul. 

Both were reckless challenges, with Martinelli, despite seeming to have his eyes on the ball, making contact with Mitoma’s head, and that sparked much debate between Neville and Tyler in the commentary box. 

‘It didn’t look clever first time, I have to say,’ Said Neville. 

Gabriel Martinell (right) clashes with Kaoru Mitoma (left) during Arsenal’s game vs Brighton

The Arsenal midfielder was subsequently hacked down by Moises Caicedo (left) 

Martinelli (middle) looked to be struggling and was then substituted in a huge blow for Arsenal

Martin Tyler responded: ‘We’re a long way back but I have to say, that’s one of those where you go hang on a minute.’

‘Yeah he was never there to start with and it wasn’t his ball Mitoma was always going to win it so anything he did was going to either be a head-on-head. Or a shoulder or an elbow on head. Maybe a bit of a barge,’ Neville continues.

‘The ball just goes up in the air and he’s [Mitoma] has his eyes on the ball. That’s not great at all that.

‘Is he not booking him? Wow. That’s incredible. 

‘I don’t think I’d have complained if it was a red, or have I lost my mind?’

Tyler: ‘No, no. First reactions are always important and yours were along those lines and I saw it the same way.’

Looking at the replay, Neville subsequently said: ‘I think that’s dangerous. I think he knows exactly what he’s doing.’

Martinelli was then hacked down by Caicedo, in an equally reckless challenge that twisted Martinelli’s ankle the wrong way, which both Neville and Tyler were in agreement that it was also a ‘certain yellow card’. 

‘Sometimes with less experienced referees they come out with the idea that they want to let the game flow,’ Neville said. 

‘He’s decided he maybe want’s to let the Mitoma challenge by Martinelli go and then maybe equal it up. I’ve let one go so I’m going to let another one,’ Neville said. 

The camera then showed Caicado’s tackle on Martinelli and Neville flatly stated: ‘This one isn’t pleasant either.’ 

Tyler added: ‘Mess with my mate that’s what happens.’

After a feisty start to the game, Martinelli was left looking sore as he got back to his feet. 

But ten minutes later it appeared he still hadn’t recovered from the foul by Caicedo, and again dropped to the floor before being substituted for Leandro Trossard in the 18th minute. 

‘He’s given Mitoma a little bit and they’ve beat him up in the last ten minutes since he did that and he look like he’s going to have to go off. But the challenge by Caicedo was a poor one I can’t believe it wasn’t a minimum yellow card,’ Neville said. 

In the studio, former Man United captain, Roy Keane, also had his say on the incidents.

‘He’s lucky,’ the Sky Pundit said in regard to Martinelli’s challenge. ‘Maybe he obviously got the benefit of the doubt maybe his personality and the position of the player. 

In response, Kelly Cates, who was leading the discussion, said: ‘VAR said reckless rather than dangerous?’ 

‘Right… I’d probably disagree with that,’ Keane said flatly. ‘But what a good teammate does is sometimes you need your teammate to get retaliation back. It’s not a good tackle, far from it, it looks a sore one – certainly down the back of the ankle and you have to go off. 

‘But you hope that’s not the end of his season, because he’s been outstanding.’

Cates responded: ‘So as much as you don’t like Martinelli’s challenge Caicedo’s is not much better?’

‘No it’s not good,’ he said. ‘But that’s the game we played, you have to even things up, unfortunately… Or unfortunately.’

It is a must-win game for Mikel Arteta’s side who are hoping to keep the pressure on Manchester City as the title race heats up, with Pep Guardiola’s side beating Everton 3-0 earlier today. 

Gary Neville on commentary was left baffled that no cards were shown for either of the tackles

Martinelli (third-left) sunk to the floor and received treatment before being substituted 

Leandro Trossard (right) replaced him soon after and came on to hit the woodwork 

Bukayo Saka (right) also came close in the first half, but failed to give Arsenal the lead 

Arsenal had the lion’s share of the chances in what was a disjointed opening 45 minutes for the title contenders. 

Leandro Trossard, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard all came narrowly close with driving efforts at Jason Steele in net, but failed to hit the target. 

The Gunners grew in confidence towards the end of the first period but would go in at half-time with the scores level at 0-0. 

Arteta will be hoping though that their star midfielder, Martinelli, who has scored 15 times in 35 league matches for Arsenal this season, will not miss the remainder of the season. 

More to follow… 

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