Arsenal are now at risk of losing two of their star players due to suspension in the Premier League. William Saliba has joined Gabriel Jesus on four yellow cards ahead of next Sunday’s trip to Southampton.
Both Saliba and Jesus have been pivotal in the Gunners’ record-breaking start to the season. It is the best start Arsenal have ever made in a top-flight campaign, winning nine of their first 10 matches.
Mikel Arteta’s side are four points clear of second-placed Manchester City. Both teams were due to play each other this Thursday but the game was postponed to accommodate the Gunners’ rearranged Europa League match at home to PSV Eindhoven.
Arsenal therefore will be top whatever happens at kick-off at St Mary’s this weekend. But both Saliba and Jesus will be walking a tightrope.
Saliba was booked during the 1-0 win at Leeds on Sunday for giving away a penalty. Referee Chris Kavanagh initially missed the incident but issued the caution after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor.
Saliba is now on the brink of a one-match ban, as is Jesus. The Brazilian striker has been in that position for the last three league games but has so far avoided another yellow.
The duo would have to remain out of the referee’s notebook for the next nine league matches in order to avoid a ban. It is not until after a club’s 19th league match in a season that the threshold for a suspension is raised from five yellow cards to 10.
If both players were to be booked at Southampton, that would rule them out of the visit of Nottingham Forest. A trip to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea follows for Arteta’s side, with a match at Wolves their final game before the World Cup.
Arsenal overcame a stern test to beat Leeds in a dramatic clash at Elland Road. The game was suspended for 40 minutes in the first half following a power cut at the stadium.
Bukayo Saka scored what turned out to be the winner for the visitors 10 minutes before half-time. Leeds were by far the better team in the second half but were unable to make their dominance count.
Patrick Bamford missed the penalty after Saliba’s handball, putting it wide of Aaron Ramsdale’s goal. Arsenal defender Gabriel was initially penalised for another penalty and sent off in stoppage time, but VAR overturned the decision to the delight of the Gunners.