Emil Krafth should have been sent off as Newcastle United fell to a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, according to Keith Hackett.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Fifa and Premier League referee claimed Stuart Atwell was wrong to judge Krafth’s challenge on Emile Smith Rowe as not worthy of a second yellow.
The defender was shown his first caution just after the half-time break for a challenge on Nuno Tavares.
Just minutes later he fouled Smith Rowe as he appeared to push his arm into the Arsenal attacker’s face, as shown on the BBC’s Match of the Day programme.
A second yellow would have seen Krafth hit with a one-game ban ahead of Newcastle’s bottom of the table clash with Norwich City on Tuesday night.
Asked for his assessment after analysing footage of the incident with Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, Hackett said: “I think the referee dodged a bullet.
“I think Krafth was silly. When you’ve got a player that’s on a yellow card this is always the danger. Atwell probably thought that was not sufficient enough for the yellow card to come out, he was looking for an ‘orange’ card. I understand that.
“If you ask me about the law, was it a foul yes? Was it his second yellow card offence? Yes. Was it reckless? Yes. He could have gone.
“I was surprised. If I was the assessor at this game, they don’t have them anymore, I would be asking for them to talk me through that incident. This was a refereeing error.”