Gabriel’s reckless tackle on Troy Deeney has been branded a “disgrace” and should have resulted in a straight red card.
The Brazilian left Watford’s captain in a heap just before the half-hour mark of the FA Cup quarter-final clash with a two-footed lunge in the middle of Watford’s half. Deeney required lengthy treatment from the club’s head of medical Richard Collinge before being helped to his feet. Referee Andrew Marriner did not even award a free-kick, let alone issue a card of any colour.
Deeney was furious and remonstrated with Marriner, while he was receiving treatment, and then fourth official Stuart Atwell as he waiting on the sidelined after momentarily leaving the field of play.
“That should be a red card, two feet off the floor, a stonewall red card,” said Robbie Savage on BT Sport. And the former Leicester, Derby and Blackburn Rovers midfielder knows a thing or two about over zealous tackles.
“Howard Webb agrees with us on BT Sport, he says 100% red card,” said BT Sport commentator Darren Fletcher. “How Mariner hasn’t given that I don’t know. He is right on top of that.”
The BBC Three Counties team were almost out of their seats after the challenge.
“Two footed! That is a sending off,” said Jon Marks before passing on to his co-commentator Rene Gilmartin. “Gabriel goes in two footed, that is a red card,” said the goalkeeper. “I can’t believe the referee is 10 yards away and hasn’t given that. That is a disgrace.”
Even Arsenal fan Piers Morgan had no defence for Arsenal’s centre-half.
The Times’ Chief Football Writer agreed.
Marriner did eventually get his cards out, booking Costel Pantilimon for switching the side he took a goal kick from.
“Absolute nonsense from Mariner, he misses a two-footed challenge from Gabriel and then books Pantilimon for time wasting, nonsense,” said Savage.