Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set to avoid ban
It is highly likely that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will avoid a ban for his handball during Saturday’s game against Chelsea.
Whilst it was clearly Oxlade-Chamberlain rather than Kieran Gibbs who made the world class save to deny Eden Hazard, it is likely that Arsenal are going to take advantage of a loophole to ensure he is not banned.
According to FA rule 4. (a) Mistake Identity:
If a Player who has been cautioned or sent off in a FTCM claims that he was the victim of mistaken identity in relation to the imposition of such sanction, he may appeal to The Association. The Club on behalf of the Player must, by 1pm of the next working day DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES 2013-2014 following their game, notify The Association in writing (by fax or e-mail – Fax 0844 980 0626 or e-mail Disciplinary@TheFA.com) of their intention to submit a claim.
This ruling puts it in the clubs hands to appeal against the decision. If they decide to appeal, and it is upheld by the commission, the disciplinary action “is transferred from the record of the Player reported by the Referee to the appropriate identified offender.”
Put simply, if Arsenal chose to not appeal, Kieran Gibbs serves the 1 match ban, leaving Oxlade-Chamberlain free to play.
The decision is up to Arsenal who they wish to serve the ban. With Arsenal having Monreal and Vermaelen both available, they are well covered at full back. Whilst in the middle, it is unlikely Arteta can play twice in such short succession, and with Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby & Ozil all out, it leaves us with just Flamini, Kallstrom and Cazorla.
It is fairly clear that Arsenal are better off taking the hit on Gibbs to ensure Oxlade-Chamberlain is available to play.