Arsenal: Kai Havertz should have been sent off before scoring winner vs Brentford, rules panel

Arsenal forward Kai Havertz should have been sent off before scoring the winner against Brentford earlier this month, a panel has concluded.

The German sent the Gunners top of the Premier League with a late header at the Emirates Stadium after the Bees had threatened to derail their title challenge.

Yoane Wissa had pounced on an Aaron Ramsdale mistake following Declan Rice’s early opener but the header from Havertz condemned the away side to a defeat.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank hit out at the decision not to dismiss Havertz earlier in the game. The former Chelsea star was already on a yellow card when he went down in the penalty area and appealed for a spot-kick.

Replays suggested there was in fact minimal contact in the challenge and a group of Brentford players urged referee Rob Jones to show Havertz a second yellow, though he ultimately escaped punishment and proved decisive.

“I know I don’t ever do that, but I actually don't think Havertz should be on the pitch when he scored the goal,” Frank told Sky Sports.

“For me, it was a clear dive for the penalty should. If you see that slowly back, it’s clear.

 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“Maybe, maybe it’s difficult for Rob, the ref. But the linesman Nick [Hopton] should have seen it. In my opinion, clear.”

An independent Key Match incidents panel (KMI) assess all the big decisions made by referees and was set up by the Premier League two years.

They have ruled that the Arsenal forward should have been shown a second yellow for “a clear act of simulation”.

A unanimous conclusion from all five members of the panel read: “Havertz is already falling when the defender makes contact, brushing Havertz’s hip.

“The panel unanimously agreed the on-field decision was incorrect and Havertz should have been awarded a second caution for a ‘clear act of simulation.’”

In November, the KMI also ruled Havertz was lucky to have avoided a red card against Newcastle after a “very dangerous” tackle on Sean Longstaff.

Arsenal continue their title challenge away at champions Manchester City after the international break.