The Gunners were leading through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 20th league goal of the season, but young striker Nketiah was sent off in the 75th minute for a reckless tackle.
LONDON – Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was left frustrated and puzzled after Eddie Nketiah’s red card late on in Tuesday’s 1-1 home draw with Leicester City in the Premier League.
The Gunners were leading through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 20th league goal of the season, but young striker Nketiah was sent off in the 75th minute for a reckless tackle on James Justin shortly after coming on as a substitute.
Jamie Vardy then equalised with his 22nd goal of the season to leave Arsenal nine points behind fourth-placed Leicester with four games of the league season remaining.
Referee Chris Kavanagh initially waved a yellow card at Nketiah, but after VAR reviewed the incident the official went to look at the tackle again on a pitch-side monitor and deemed the foul worthy of a red card.
Referees have rarely made use of pitch-side monitors since VAR was introduced this season, although they were asked to use them sparingly by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) when guidelines were laid out.
“With the red card you have to know he is a young kid,” Arteta said. “I don’t understand the rules.
“I never see a referee check any of the images. But I can do nothing now, it is the rules.”
After Aubameyang’s goal Arsenal played some fluent football and they might have been out of sight before halftime but for several saves by Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel. Yet they faded after the break.
“I am extremely proud of our team, the way we played against this kind of opposition. We should have been three or four-nil up,” Arteta said. “When you have this kind of opposition and you are on top you have to kill them when you can.”
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said the red card was the correct decision.
“It was a clear red card. I don’t think young Eddie tried to make the challenge he did. He is stretching. But you can see and I’m thankful it doesn’t result in injury,” he said.
The draw kept Leicester four points above fifth-placed Manchester United who have a game in hand.
“It is good for us,” Rodgers said. “Arsenal have been on a run but we have come here after a tough game at the weekend and played well. We didn’t lose it so it is good for the spirit.”