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Football London
Football London
Tashan Deniran-Alleyne

Arsenal to avoid double suspension risk with Bukayo Saka and William Saliba in FA Cup tie

Mikel Arteta didn't get the result he wanted when Arsenal were held to a goalless draw by Newcastle United on Tuesday night, but there is some good news for the Spaniard heading into the FA Cup third-round tie against Oxford United.

Prior to the Magpies' visit to the Emirates Stadium, William Saliba and Bukayo Saka were the two key Gunners players walking the disciplinary tight-rope having picked up four yellow cards in the Premier League apiece. This meant another booking would have ruled one or both out of the North London Derby with Tottenham a week on Sunday.

Despite referee Andy Madley showing yellow cards to four Arsenal players - Granit Xhaka, Martin Odegaard, Eddie Nketiah and Oleksandr Zinchenko - the fact none were for Saliba or Saka means they will almost certainly be available for selection against Tottenham Hotspur.

READ MORE: Why Arsenal players will wear an all-white kit vs Oxford United in FA Cup third-round tie

Of course, before attention can turn towards the big game on January 15, Arteta's side have an FA Cup tie away to League One opposition in Oxford to negotiate on Monday night. But as the rules regarding suspensions differ in cup competitions, the aforementioned Arsenal pair would be free to feature without having the threat of a one-game ban hanging over them.

The ruling states: "Accumulating five, ten, fifteen or twenty yellow cards in league matches can result in an automatic ban in your relevant league. Accumulated yellow cards in cup competitions are treated separately and can result in an automatic ban from the cup competition in which the yellow cards were received."

Therefore, as yellow cards accumulated in the FA Cup only apply to this particular competition, it means were Saliba and Saka to feature against Oxford and receive a booking they would not be ruled out of the Tottenham game, instead serving a suspension in the fourth round tie should the Gunners prevail.

With that said, the only scenario that would see any Arsenal player miss the north London Derby through suspension is if they are sent-off against Oxford. Whether that be for two bookable offences or being shown a straight red card - interestingly the latter is yet to happen for the Gunners so far this season.

This is because the ruling states that "suspensions following a red card are applied across both league and cup competitions" and "the period of suspension will commence immediately (unless the club have submitted a claim of wrongful dismissal or mistaken identity)".

Considering Arteta is expected to rotate his side for the FA Cup tie it would be somewhat of a surprise if Saliba and Saka are involved in any capacity, especially with the Spurs game taking place six days later. Although, if the Arsenal boss decides to name a strong team, he can do so with the comfort that the suspension risk has been eased for two of his key players.


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