Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Consolation for Arsenal as Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are cleared

The wrong man: referee Andre Marriner sends off Kieran Gibbs

Arsenal will have both defender Kieran Gibbs and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain available against Swansea tonight after appeals to the Football Association.

Full-back Gibbs was shown a red card in a case of mistaken identity during the first half of Saturday's 6-0 thrashing at Chelsea by referee Andre Marriner, instead of Oxlade-Chamberlain – who had committed the handball in the six-yard box and indeed admitted his guilt at the time, but was waved away.

The FA confirmed on Monday evening the sanction against Gibbs had been removed, and instead transferred onto Oxlade-Chamberlain.

However, Arsenal then subsequently moved to have that offence downgraded on appeal, claiming the England midfielder had not in fact technically prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity as the shot from Chelsea's Eden Hazard looked to be going just wide.

That claim was also upheld, meaning both Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain will be able to face Swansea.

A statement from the FA read: "An Independent Regulatory Commission today heard two claims from Arsenal, one of mistaken identity and the other of wrongful dismissal, both in relation to Saturday's game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

"The commission ruled that the dismissal of Kieran Gibbs was a case of mistaken identity and transferred this to his team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

"Subsequent to deciding this matter, the commission then considered Arsenal's claim for wrongful dismissal in relation to Oxlade-Chamberlain.

"This claim was upheld, meaning Oxlade-Chamberlain will not serve any suspension with the standard punishment withdrawn with immediate effect."

The heavy defeat on Saturday lunchtime ruined manager Arsene Wenger's 1,000th match in charge and severely dented any Barclays Premier League title ambitions, with the Gunners now down in fourth place, albeit still with a match in hand on the leaders.

Wenger – who cancelled yesterda morning's scheduled pre-match press conference – has been left puzzled by his side once again failing to turn up in a big game; Arsenal found themselves 3-0 down by 17 minutes, and played out the rest of the match with 10 men after Gibbs' sending off.

Midfielder Mikel Arteta has issued a public apology on behalf of the Arsenal players for the "unacceptable" and "embarrassing" humiliation – and vowed they will get things right against Swansea.

Arteta accepts the Gunners were "just not good enough" and have no option but to raise performance levels against the Swans, with the squad having held a debrief session at their London Colney training base on Sunday.

"We paid for our own mistakes. We have to take it on the chin because it is unacceptable to lose another big game like this," the Spaniard said.

"You cannot only just move on, you have to analyse what you have done and react. I am expecting a big reaction on Tuesday (because) Saturday was not good enough for this football club.

"The good thing is we have a lot of things to play for and we have always reacted to disappointments and difficult moments, but this one is a really hard one to take, it was a massive game for us and for me it is unacceptable."

Meanwhile, Marriner has been given a match to referee this weekend despite his blunder in sending off the wrong Arsenal player against Chelsea.

The referee, who was in charge of last year's FA Cup final, apologised to the Gunners after the game.

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