Former Manchester United star Peter Schmeichel believes Mateo Kovacic should have been awarded a "pink card" for his ugly challenge on Arsenal's Martin Odegaard in their 1-0 win over Manchester City.
In what was a rematch of the best two teams in the Premier League last term, Kovacic went steamrolling into the back of Odegaard in the first half, in what was a nasty tackle. And while Michael Oliver brandished a yellow card to the Croatian, Kovacic looked to be in trouble when the tackle, which saw him plant his studs on Odegaard's ankle, was subject to a VAR check.
However, somehow Kovacic escaped without a red, despite the footage of the challenge clearly showing he had left his studs in on the Arsenal skipper in what should have been a straight forward sending off. And it even led ex-Man United keeper Peter Schmeichel to claim Kovacic should have been given a "pink card".
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Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Schmeichel said: "It's a pink card! When I first saw the tackle, it didn't look that bad. But there's on angle where you see the studs are raised and it goes down Odegaard's ankle."
However, there was a consensus amongst Sky Sports pundits Micah Richards and Theo Walcott that Kovacic should have been sent off in the first half, which would have left Man City with 10 men for the remainder of the contest.
Should Mateo Kovacic have been sent off for his tackle on Martin Odegaard? Let us know in the comments section below.
Ex-Arsenal winger Walcott said: "As soon as it went to VAR and having seen it slowed down, I thought red card. It’s a nasty tackle and for me it’s a red card, without any question. That’s not me putting my Arsenal head on, but I think he is endangering the player."
While Richards agreed with referee Michael Oliver's decision to give Kovacic a yellow for the challenge on Odegaard, the former Man City full-back did however go on to state the Croatian should have been sent-off for a second bookable offence after he escaped a challenge on Declan Rice without a card.
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Richards said: "This is where they got it wrong – I think that is a yellow card. You see he is not near the ball, gets the bottom of his ankle. I think that is a second yellow card."
Thankfully, in the end the outcome of the tackle did not result in Odegaard getting injured. And Kovacic not being sent off also didn't hurt Arsenal on the pitch either. The Gunners managed to come away from the Emirates clash with all three points against Man City thanks to a second half deflected Gabriel Martinelli strike, which won the game 1-0 for Arsenal.
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