ESPN FC: Arsenal miss opportunity
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could be forced into the transfer market after Mathieu Flamini's red card at Southampton and an injury setback to Aaron Ramsey leave the Gunners short in midfield.
Wenger refused to blame Flamini for the two-footed challenge on Morgan Schneiderlin which earned him a four-match ban and created a problem for the Premier League leaders.
"To me it looked harsh," Wenger after the 2-2 draw St Mary's. "He got the ball. At some stage we all have all the feet off the ground.
"If you say every time a guy makes two-footed tackle its red, he deserved a red. If you say it was a violent tackle, I would say no."
FIFA's rules have been open to interpretation with the offence of "using excessive force" warranting a sending-off under Law 12. It states a red card should be shown when a player has "far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent".
Referees have been advised that if both feet are off the ground players have no control over their actions.
Flamini won the ball and did not appear to make any contact with Schneiderlin, but both of his feet were off the ground as he made the challenge.
He will now miss key Premier League matches for Arsenal against Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Manchester United, as well as their fifth round FA Cup tie against the Reds but will be available for the Champions League tie against Bayern Munich on Feb. 19.
Ramsey has also suffered a setback with a recurrence of the thigh injury he sustained on Boxing Day and could reportedly be out for another six weeks.
Planning to cope without the pair after dropping two points at Southampton has left Wenger, whose team could lose top spot on Wednesday night, with a problem and looking to the transfer market.
After being strongly linked with a move for Schalke's Julian Draxler before Friday night's deadline, Wenger said: “I hope we have something to tell you [on transfers], but not tonight. We lose a few players now and I have to think about it.”