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Matteo Guendouzi escapes further discipline

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The French midfielder grabbed Neil Maupay by the throat after the loss to Brighton

Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi will not face additional discipline for his role in a post-match fracas after Arsenal lost to Brighton & Hove Albion. From replays of the scrum, Guendouzi clearly (briefly) grabbed Neil Maupay by the throat, who responded by going to ground rather dramatically.

The FA released a statement earlier today:

Matteo Geundouzi’s conduct during this incident was not seen by the match officials at the time, but it was subsequently reviewed by the VAR, so he will face no further action.

Maupay was at the center of the controversy because earlier in the match he had injured Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno with an unnecessary and dangerous aerial challenge. The French striker nabbed a 95th minute winner, after which he was reportedly antagonizing Arsenal players. Maupay claims the Arsenal players were chirping at him throughout the match and said after the game that they needed to “learn humility.”

The decision from the FA follows the letter of the law — if a match official or the VAR sees an incident and doesn’t deem it worthy of a red card, the FA cannot review the incident. It’s a dumb rule, especially in an era where TV cameras capture fouls and incidents from numerous angles not available to referees on the pitch. Yes, the VAR has those angles, but he has to make a quick decision on what he’s seen. As we’ve seen throughout the season, by the Premier League’s admission, VAR can still get calls wrong.

They’ve gotten this one wrong, too. Matteo Guendouzi should be suspended three matches for violent conduct. You cannot put your hand on an opponent’s throat. Full stop. How fast, with how much force, how they react doesn’t matter. You can’t do it. Arsenal caught a break here. When a rule, like the FA’s supplementary review rule, necessitates an outcome so clearly wrong, it’s probably time to rewrite that rule.