Watford striker Troy Deeney: Gabriel could have broken my leg
Troy Deeney claimed on Sunday that Arsenal defender Gabriel could have broken his leg with a two-footed studs-up lunge that could feasibly still result in Football Association disciplinary action.
Gabriel made the tackle during the first-half of Sunday's 2-1 defeat and, given that Andre Marriner did not award even a foul to Watford, it is possible that he could claim not to have seen the incident and have it referred to a panel of former referees.
This is more common for off-the-ball incidents – and Marriner did appear to have a good view of the tackle – but retrospective action can be taken if the three-man panel unanimously agree that a red card was merited.
“I could have gone through him as well and I tried my best to keep the studs down, and [remain to] the letter of the law, but he come over the top,” said Deeney.
“I don’t think he was intentionally going to do me but, fair play, he came and apologised. I was just a bit frustrated at the initial moment because they are the ones that can break legs. Thankfully I am a big lad and I rode the tackle. We are men at the end of the day. We shake hands and carry on until the next game. Crack on.”
Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, felt that both players had their feet off the ground. “It didn’t look [a red card] to me but I have to see it again,” he said.
“He won the ball. I think Deeney as well (had feet off ground). They both went for the same ball and Gabriel was first to the ball.”
Deeney did also subsequently have the satisfaction of providing the assist for the first goal, with Gabriel being beaten far too easily as Odion Ighalo put Watford on the path to a Wembley semi-final.
Their manager, Quique Sanchez Flores has previously won the Europa League with Atletico Madrid and the Portuguese league with Benfica but said that it was the best result of his career.
“This is the most important game,” he said. “To play in the semi-finals in Wembley, it's amazing for the people of Watford, the fans, the club and the players. It's an impetus for the last part of the season. We did not have many chances but they were very clear. We mixed well counter attack with playing football and defending well.”