The FA are investigating a yellow card received by an Arsenal player earlier this season, per multiple outlets with The Athletic breaking the story. The match in question, although not confirmed, appears to be Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Leeds United on December 18th. Andre Marriner was the referee.
After the match, bookmakers alerted the FA to unusual amounts placed on an Arsenal player to be booked. The yellow card in question seems to be Granit Xhaka’s 88th minute caution for time-wasting.
Ever the efficient detectives, the internet unearthed this tweet:
65K matched on Xhaka to be carded. Matched on betfair at 2.56 about 10 mins to go. For conetext most books we’re about 2.88 PREMATCH. Very strange. Anyone know what that’s about? pic.twitter.com/FQRco2Atwe— FoG (@FoG_BLoG) December 18, 2021
Earlier in the match, Xhaka was not booked for a clumsy (and some might say nasty) tackle on Raphina that I don’t think we’d have had much grounds to complain about had he seen a straight red.
An FA spokesperson said, “The FA is aware of the matter in question and is looking into it.” ESPN UK reports that right now, the inquiry is focused on the betting patterns themselves and not any individual player’s conduct and that it is a preliminary inquiry rather than a formal investigation at this stage. It is not clear how the referee factors in, either. Per The Guardian, Arsenal declined to comment.