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Published: 20:58 | 15/4/19

Gracia slams referee after Deeney red card

Watford manager Javi Gracia believes referee Craig Pawson was wrong to show Hornets' captain Troy Deeney a red card in Monday's 1-0 Premier League defeat to Arsenal at Vicarage Road.

Deeney was sent off for an apparent elbow in the face of Lucas Torreira, just a minute after Arsenal had taken the lead in bizarre circumstances.

The goal came after ten minutes, when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang charged down a clearance from Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster in his own six-yard box, and the ball deflected into the Hornets' net.

Deeney then was shown a straight red card after Pawson, who did not see the incident, consulted his linesman following the clash.

However, Gracia believes Deeney was just trying to hold off Torreira, and only deserved a yellow card.

"In my opinion it is clear, maybe a yellow card but never a red card," Gracia told BBC Sport. "I do not agree with the decision.

"Troy is very sad. It was an important game for us, he knew it. The sending off was very tough for us.

"I am very proud of my players. I am not interested in the result, we had our chances, hit the woodwork and created chances with 10 players."

Arsenal's win, coupled with a first clean sheet on their travels all season, sees the Gunners move into fourth place in the Premier League table with five matches to play.

"We were competitive today but in the circumstances we can control the match better," Arsenal manager Unai Emery told BBC Sport.

"We didn't make it easy to score the second goal. We did not control the ball in the attacking third.

"A clean sheet is very important. It is going to give us a lot of information, this match. Our analysis will give us confidence."

By Nick Royle

Photo: Getty Images/ Marc Atkins

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