Arsenal hope to have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s three-game ban reduced after he was sent off during the 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.
Aubameyang, who opened the scoring at Selhurst Park, saw red after a challenge on Max Meyer midway through the second half.
Originally, he was only booked for the foul by match official Paul Tierney, but he was then sent off after the tackle – which forced Meyer to be substituted with an ankle injury – was checked by VAR.
Speaking after the game, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta said: “I just watched it and it looked nasty, to be fair. Knowing Auba, there’s no intention to make such a tackle.
“Hopefully he hasn’t been injured and we are sorry for that. The decision was made and we have to accept it.”
Palace boss Roy Hodgson added: “I knew at the time it was a severe challenge and I’m not accusing Aubameyang of wanting deliberately to do that, but it was a bad challenge, a forward’s challenge.
“He’s had his ankle bent almost in half, a 90-degree angle.
“The only thing that surprised me is it took them so long to decide it was a red card, because I don’t think I’ve seen a challenge which was more obviously a red card than that in a long, long time.”
There is a sense at Arsenal, however, that a three-game ban for Aubameyang is excessive and although they won’t launch an appeal to have it fully overturned, they feel there are enough mitigating circumstances to have the suspension reduced.
The club believe Aubameyang did not use excessive force when making the tackle and that it looked far worse when slowed down for replays. They also believe there are plenty of examples of similar challenges which have been looked at by VAR this season that have not led to a red card being shown.
Liverpool’s Andy Robertson was not punished for a late challenge on Tottenham’s Japhet Tanganga on Saturday while Arsenal will point to two challenges on their own players in recent weeks, one on Matteo Guendouzi at Norwich City and another on Nicolas Pepe during the win at West Ham last month.
As it stands, Aubameyang will miss the upcoming league games against Sheffield United and Chelsea, as well as the FA Cup fourth-round tie at Bournemouth.
And Gunners defender Sokratis has backed Alexandre Lacazette – who has gone six games without scoring – to step up in his strike partner’s absence, should Aubameyang’s three-game ban be confirmed.
“Laca is a massively important player for us. He’s a goal machine,” said the centre-back. “In some games, from the outside, you can’t see what he can do or maybe he is a little bit struggling.
“Auba is a very important player. He’s the captain of the team, but now is the time that also the other players step up and show quality.”