The Lowdown: Royal sent off v Arsenal
As pictured by ESPN on Twitter, the 23-year-old Spurs defender was shown a straight red card by referee Anthony Taylor for a high challenge on Gunners ace Gabriel Martinelli during their 3-1 defeat in the north London derby.
After the match, Spurs manager Antonio Conte questioned the official’s decision to show red, claiming that English referees don’t have the “same line” when making decisions (via Sky Sports).
The Latest: McAvennie defends Royal
McAvennie claims there was no malice in Royal’s tackle and that it should not have warranted a red card.
Speaking with Football Insider, the 62-year-old proclaimed: “You don’t mean to do that. That’s my understanding of it.
“Half of ex-players say it was a penalty, half say it wasn’t a penalty. What do you do? You’ve got to make a tackle. There’s a difference between tackling somebody to try and hurt them and tackling somebody who’s a bit quicker than you. They get the ball and you’re a bit late.
“For me it’s not a sending off, it’s just somebody quicker than you and the referees have got to use that interpretation. If it’s meant, yeah it’s a sending off. It just changes the game. If you’ve got ex-players and pundits debating it and their opinions are split, I would say it’s not a sending off.”
The Verdict: Replacement needs to step up
Royal has emerged as Conte’s first-choice option at right wing-back this season, with the Brazil international featuring in Spurs’ starting XI seven out of eight games in the Premier League since the campaign began.
This is in spite of Matt Doherty’s return to form last season, in which he held the starting role before suffering a ligament tear, and Djed Spence’s arrival from Middlesbrough, having signed for Tottenham this summer in a deal worth £20m.
With 109 Premier League appearances to his name, Doherty is likely to return to Conte’s XI, although this could be the perfect opportunity to give Spence game-time, having played just one minute of football since arriving at Hotspur Way.
Either way, whoever is selected will need to step up to the plate in Royal’s absence, with Spurs now having to accept that they will be without the Brazilian for the next three league games.
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