The dismissal of defender Kompany with 15 minutes remaining, and the three-match suspension that is likely to be the result, was the one blemish on Manchester City’s otherwise straightforward 2-0 victory against Arsenal.
Mancini said that the decision will be appealed against. “He went into the tackle, anticipating the opponent, and took the ball,” Mancini argued. “I don’t know how it is possible to get a red card like this. It was no foul, no red card. From the bench, it was difficult [to judge] but I have seen it again.”
Depending on who you consult, or even which camera angle you watch, Kompany went in one-footed or two-footed on Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, with studs showing or not showing, and either on the ground or off it.
Mancini, for his part, was adamant. “I am 48, but I can see very well,” he said, comparing the incident to Kompany’s sending-off against Manchester United in an FA Cup tie a year ago.
“Against United, it was not a red card for me, because he was also anticipating,” Mancini said. “Here, he was a minimum of 50 centimetres from the opponent. This tackle is football. He went in with one foot. That is a tackle. If it was a red card, I would say. But it was not a red card, because he anticipated Wilshere. Totally, 100 per cent.”
Kompany himself was in a more conciliatory mood. “No grudges against the referee, I understand the difficulty of the job,” he wrote on Twitter, adding a smiley face for good measure. “About the tackle: if the ball is overrun by the opponent and a 50/50 challenge occurs, collision is inevitable. Ultimately I’m a defender: Appeal may work or not. I will never pull out of a challenge, as much as I will never intend to injury a player.”
City’s proposed appeal notwithstanding, Kompany is set to miss the next three matches: at home to Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday, an away FA Cup tie against either Crystal Palace or Stoke City the following Saturday, followed by a league trip to Queens Park Rangers three days after that.
Should the Football Association decide that City’s appeal is ‘frivolous’, however, they have the discretion to add an extra game to the ban, which would see Kompany miss the home game against Liverpool on Sunday Feb 3.
“We will appeal, because it is impossible that we can lose one player for three games for nothing,” Mancini said. “We will do an appeal and I think we can win, because it’s easy, it is correct. But we have a problem because we’re missing a lot of players. Now we are losing him for three games, but I don’t think we should.” There were fewer complaints over the other sending off. Instead, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger chose to blame his own players for the sluggish start that saw them lose Laurent Koscielny after just 10 minutes.
“We’re a bit too nervous to play in a serene way at home, and that is costing us,” he said. “We want to do so well that we are a bit uptight.”
Meanwhile, Wenger revealed that midfielder Mikel Arteta will be out for roughly three weeks after suffering a calf strain. The Spaniard will have a scan on Monday, but is almost certain to miss the trip to Chelsea this Sunday.
By Jonathan Liew, Telegraph.co.uk