Former PL referee claims Saka is overexaggerating challenge from Mings

Bukayo Saka called for referees to give extra protection to players after being on the wrong end of a Tyrone Mings challenge, but former Premier League referee Mark Halsey claims the Arsenal star is overexaggerating.

The young forward scored the only goal of the game as his Arsenal side went onto victory, but shortly after he had put his side in front, he was floored by a reckless challenge by England team-mate Mings, and the incident has caused mixed reviews.

Some Arsenal fans believed the player had his studs up, and should therefore be red-carded, while home fans made no secret of their belief that the player shouldn’t have even been booked having clearly got the ball first.

Pictures courtesy of BT Sport

Former ref Halsey claims that Saka made a meal of the tackle however, but also insists that the challenge from Tyrone was a little unnecessary especially with the pair both on the same side during the international break.

“The challenge by Tyrone Mings, he gets the ball, but it’s just that follow-through that catches Saka,” Halsey stated in his column with CaughtOffside. “Maybe it wasn’t as hard as Saka made out, and that puts the doubt into the referee’s mind.

“We have to remember that a careless challenge is a free kick and nothing else, but a reckless challenge is a free kick and a yellow card. It’s interesting, because I don’t know why Mings went in on him that hard when they’re about to meet up for international duty and we need Saka playing for England! It was quite amusing, to be honest.

“Still, it’s part and parcel of the game, physical challenges like that, so I’m a bit surprised Saka was complaining about it. Obviously referees have a duty of care towards players, but they also have to be mentally tough and not let players influence them too much.”

Saka doesn’t seem the type to complain where it isn’t due however, and was clearly still feeling the after-effects of the tackle, and the reaction sounds like a typical referee’s answer by claiming that both players were a little in the wrong.

With that in mind, Saka is now tipped to potentially miss the international break after the foul, which surely means that he wasn’t milking the tackle at all?


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Tags Bukayo Saka Mark Halsey


  1. I’m pretty sure Shawcross got the ball first before he followed through and snapped Ramsey’s leg. Excessive force trumps getting the ball first.

    Two things can be true at the same time. Did Saka make a more of it.than the physical contact warranted? Yes. Did Mings use excessive force? Yes. Are both of them lucky Saka wasnt seriously injured? Yes.

    Glad Halsey found it funny.

    Border line red for me.

    On another note, did anyone else notice that when the ref gave Xhaka his yellow yesterday he pointed to three areas of the pitch as if to say the yellow was for persistent fouling? Any guesses how many fouls Xhaka was called for in the game (including the yellow?). If you answered one ,you’d be right.

    This is not to say the refs are biased against Arsenal. I don’t believe that in the least. They are just, by and large, useless compared to their international colleagues.

  2. Of course the ex-ref takes a stand against Arsenal, is anyone surprised by this?
    Great to see that a referee thinks that this kind of tackle is amusing. Orange for me, excessive force used even if he got the ball, straight leg, studs up.
    They where commenting during the game that it wasn’t a red cause Mings was flat on the ground and not in the air when he did the tackle, what kind of excuse is that?
    The incompetence of pl refs never seizes to amaze.

  3. Football is NOT a contact sport.

    It is a sport where some contact is tolerated.

    Boxing, rugby, wrestling, those ARE contact sports.

    Putting a hole in someone’s foot is NOT acceptable contact, whether he got the ball or not.

  4. The Mings booking was a referee’s interpretation, fair enough

    But Voyageur you are spot on with the Xhaka thing, that was incompetence, he will be held to account for it but we may not hear about it

    He booked Granit Xhaka for being Granit Xhaka I would be interested in his explanation

    I don’t believe for one minute that referees are corrupt but I do think subconciously sometimes they factor in the player(s) involved, the teams and where they are, possibly even the Managers

    By the way, you can get tackled fairly and still get hurt and a player can simply lose their balance in the moment but it doesn’t mean it’s simulation, not everything is a booking and percieved exaggeration shouldn’t come into it if you are a ref

  5. And the thing against Arsenal continues. A spud fan this time.
    So, Saka should have waited to see if his angle is broken into pieces before voicing out his dissatisfaction. Rubbish!!!
    I still feel we have a disciplined set of players but we get carded for things other players & or teams get away with.

  6. Am massively disappointed to hear this and to hear it from a former Premier league Referee, certainly does not inspire confidence.

    This youngman need protection and not because he’s an Arsenal player, but for the beautiful game to progress smoothly.

    School children in a Ukraine bunker, knows
    It was a cynical tackle on the kid, even he admitted to it, so what are we waiting on a broken foot

  7. yellow card was fair enough.

    But as for xhaka’s yellow pointing to three areas, Ref go it wrong.

    my thought.

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