Man City’s Akanji queries lack of yellow cards in Arsenal clash

Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji said he was unable to understand how Arsenal avoided some “clear yellow cards” during Sunday’s foul-filled scoreless draw at the Etihad Stadium.After Liverpool went top of the Premier League with a win over Brighton, the other leading title contenders strengthened the Merseysiders’ position in a 0-0 encounter that featured a mere three shots on target.

As the visitors, Arsenal were happier with a point. But City were left perplexed by the failure of referee Anthony Taylor to book a single Arsenal player for one of the 20 fouls committed by the Gunners.

The only yellow cards Arsenal received were for time-wasting offences committed by Gabriel Jesus and David Raya.

“I don’t understand,” said Akanji. “One in the first half (from Kai Havertz) was a very late tackle on Stefan (Ortega). For me it is clearly a yellow card.

“I don’t want to say just against us. There were also some decisions against them that I didn’t understand that he gave a foul for.

“There are some rules and I think there are clear yellow cards where it should be.”

Reigning champions City, now third in the table, cannot afford to dwell on their frustration given they will be back in action on Wednesday, in a match at home to fourth-placed Aston Villa.

Pep Guardiola’s men have not lost in all competitions since December’s 1-0 reverse at Villa Park and Akanji said everything was still up for grabs in the title race.

“Yeah, I mean how many games do we have left? Nine, so yeah 27 points to get,” he said. “That’s our goal to get all of them and then we’ll see how it ends.”

Arsenal also return to action on Wednesday, kicking off 45 minutes earlier against relegation-threatened Luton.

The Gunners will return to the top of the Premier League should they win as Liverpool do not play again until Thursday’s match against Sheffield United at Anfield.

Former City forward Jesus said the key for Arsenal was to concentrate on their own form.

“It’s the Premier League, it’s a tough league and anything can happen,” he said. “It is only two points the difference (with Liverpool) and then we have a very good goal difference.

“Everything counts at the end, but there are still a lot of games. We also have the Champions League. This is the most beautiful part of the season, you try everything to win titles.”

 

© Agence France-Presse

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Dylan Johnson