Arsenal have complained to the Premier League’s refereeing body about what they believe to be rough treatment of Bukayo Saka by opponents.
In 2023, Arsenal’s winger was the league’s third-most fouled player, being on the receiving end of 87 fouls. Only Jordan Ayew (117) of Crystal Palace and Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes (92) were fouled more.
It is understood that it was an accumulation of incidents which prompted Arsenal to highlight that, in their opinion, opponents are free to clatter the winger without an initial punishment in Premier League matches.
The matter was brought up as part of a wider conversation earlier this season with the league’s refereeing body — dialogue which happens between all clubs and the body.
Arsenal are believed to have said that a referee should issue a yellow card to an offender after the first strong foul on the 22-year-old, rather than wait for a second infringement.
Arsenal complained to PGMOL about what they believe to be rough treatment of Bukayo Saka
In 2023, Saka was the league’s third-most fouled player, being on the receiving end of 87 fouls
The concern over Saka is possibly influenced by the winger having carried an Achilles issue since last season. He was also forced off against Lens on October 3, which saw him out injured for a couple of weeks.
In February last year Arteta warned Saka that he can’t rely on referees to protect him from rough treatment.
The Spaniard said at the time: ‘He needs to learn when to take certain balls, what to do with that ball, how to use his body, when to jump.
‘There are a lot of things we can train but obviously it is very difficult to understand what the opponent is going to do…
In February, Arteta warned Saka he can’t rely on refs to protect him from rough treatment
‘Wingers and talented players get kicked and fouled and get the demand to win games and that is the chance he has, that is his role in the team.’
Earlier in the season, the FA charged Mikel Arteta for his rant about refereeing after the Gunners’ defeat to Newcastle, but an independent panel dismissed those charges last month.