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Ben Godfrey: Gary Neville claims Everton star deliberately stood on Takehiro Tomiyasu’s face in Arsenal win

·2-min read
(Getty Images)

Gary Neville has accused Everton’s Ben Godfrey of deliberately standing on the face of Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu during Monday night’s Premier League clash on Merseyside.

After a tackle from Godfrey on Tomiyasu next to the touchline in the 28th minute of the then-goalless match at Goodison Park, the Toffees centre-back’s studs appeared to make contact with the face of his opponent on the follow-through.

Tomiyasu was left in considerable discomfort and received a small cut before recovering to play the remainder of the game.

Referee Mike Dean referred the incident to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), but it was not deemed a red card offence.

Everton went on to win the contest 2-1 after Martin Odegaard’s late first-half opener was cancelled out in dramatic fashion by Richarlison - who also saw two goals ruled out by the VAR - and Demarai Gray, the latter of whom struck in stoppage time to relieve some of the mounting pressure on manager Rafael Benitez and inflict Arsenal’s third defeat in four matches.

Discussing the Godfrey incident during their roles as pundits on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, Neville and Jamie Carragher both suggested that it was an intentional act.

Neville said: “You’re talking to two of the masters of following through into the face and trying to make it look like it’s accidental. We think he definitely means that.

“He just knows he’s there, he’s followed through over the top. This slow motion [replay] is the one where the reaction after is where he realises what he’s done and he’s like ‘oh look, it’s an accident’. 

“As a professional, it’s 100 per cent he means that.”

Though Neville feels the act was deliberate from Godfrey, who was selected ahead of Lucas Digne to start against Arsenal, he also said he understands why the VAR did not recommend that the player be dismissed.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“I can see why VAR have said it’s accidental, we couldn’t prove it, it’s not an obvious error,” he said. “But as a professional, you know it. He’s meant it, but I can see why it’s not a red.”

Carragher added: “He’s a very lucky boy. Very lucky.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta would not be drawn on the Godfrey decision after the game and instead wanted to focus on his side’s poor display.

“That decision is made, I’m sure the VAR has reviewed it, but I want more from my team,” he said.

Do you think Everton defender Ben Godfrey should have been sent off against Arsenal? Let us know in the comments below!

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