Arsenal vs Man City delayed as assistant referee is forced to drop out at last minute and replaced by Kevin Friend

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Arsenal vs Man City delayed as assistant referee is forced to drop out at last minute and replaced by Kevin Friend

Arsenal’s clash with Manchester City was delayed as the assistant referee was forced to change minutes before kick-off.

With the game starting at 12:30 GMT, it was announced that the players were ready to step onto the pitch that the change of caretaker has been confirmed.

Hatzidakis was withdrawn from the game at late notice

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Hatzidakis was withdrawn from the game at late noticecredit: getty
Dude has gone from fourth official to run the line for the match

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Dude has gone from fourth official to run the line for the matchcredit: getty

Assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis – who was due to be one of the two linemen – was replaced by Kevin Friend, the fourth official.

In turn, no fourth official was present for the first 30 minutes of the game.

The match started minutes before the start of proceedings in North London.

Friend is set to return to his role as fourth official at half-time, with Neil Davis stepping down as assistant referee at the break.

Davis arrived at the Emirates shortly before Bukayo Saka’s opening goal.

And the man in charge of the game – Stuart Atwell – was disputed early in the match.

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Martin Odegaard broke into the Man City box and tried to push the ball past keeper Ederson, only to go down under a challenge from Brazil.

Atwell only signaled for a corner and the incident was reviewed by VAR.

But it was considered a proper sliding tackle from Ederson, who seemed to get his foot on the ball.

Arsenal chief scored the maximum points from his last four love games in the Champions League places in the game.

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s City have taken an impressive lead in the title race with 10 consecutive league wins.

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If the visitors take a win at the Emirates this afternoon, they will extend their lead at the top of the table to 11 points.

Man City have not lost to Arsenal in the Premier League since a 2-1 loss at the Emirates in December 2015.

He had not scored a single goal against the Gunners in any of his last six league meetings – until Saka opened the scoring for the hosts this afternoon.

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