Sunday 17 December 2017

Gunners launch Koscielny appeal

Jeremy Wilson

Arsenal have lodged an appeal against Laurent Koscielny's sending-off against Newcastle United, and so run the risk of his two-match ban being lengthened.

Manager Arsene Wenger and club staff believe there is evidence that Sebastien Squillaci could have covered the danger and prevented the situation from becoming an obvious goalscoring opportunity during Sunday's 1-0 defeat.

Koscielny certainly impeded Nile Ranger, but the FA's independent regulatory commission must determine today whether referee Mike Dean was right to interpret the foul as having stopped a clear chance to score.

Wenger is adamant that Dean made a mistake and Arsenal will argue that it was a case of wrongful dismissal.

However, appealing against a red card carries a risk, because the commission could deem Arsenal's action to be 'frivolous' and increase the suspension to more than two games.

If Arsenal are successful, Koscielny would be available to play against Wolves tomorrow night. Arsenal have lost their past two matches and, although Thomas Vermaelen is now said to be only days from returning to full training, he has not played since August.

If Koscielny's two-game ban is upheld, it would leave Squillaci and Johan Djourou as their only match-fit centre-backs for the away matches at Wolves and Everton.

In explaining the defeat against Newcastle, Squillaci pointed to Arsenal's lack of creativity and said their reaction against Wolves will be a pivotal moment in the season.

"I don't think there is any problem in defence -- we were not dangerous enough," Squillaci said. "When you play for a team like Arsenal you need to respond after two defeats. A great team doesn't have three consecutive defeats. We need to show that Arsenal is a great team."

Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone, meanwhile, has escaped disciplinary action for appearing to step on Bolton's Johan Elmander.

The decision has been taken because referee Chris Hoy has confirmed to the FA that match officials did see the incident. The outcome means Huddlestone has avoided a possible three-match ban for violent conduct and is available for tonight's visit of Sunderland. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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