Takehiro Tomiyasu: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says 'we may have to play with the stopwatch'

“We may have to play with the stopwatch,” Arsenal president Mikel Arteta quipped, eight seconds after Takehiro Tomiyasu’s throw-in played a role in his red card.

Referees have been asked to crack down on time-wasters and opposition this season – with 18 yellow cards for opposition and 14 yellow cards for injury time in the opening weekend.

That’s 32 yellows in just over 5% of the season compared to 174 across the entirety of the last campaign. If the cards continue at the current price there will be 608 this season.

“This will have a huge impact.”

In this latter game, Kai Havertz had the ball for 15 seconds for an Arsenal throw-in before handing it over to Tomiyasu instead. The Japanese defender looked for players to make a run, and while he was taking it, eight seconds later, he was booked.

Not long after, he was given a second yellow card for a simple foul on Jordan Ayew.

“These are the (new) standards,” Arteta told BBC Sport afterwards.

“I don’t know exactly how long… (When told the time was 23 seconds). No, it wasn’t. I think it was eight seconds. We might have to play with a stopwatch. It’s okay, we won the game, I’m happy.”

He added, “The new rules are one thing, the way they are communicated is very different but we will adapt to it.”

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville said on Sky Sports: “We went to see (chief referee) Howard Webb a few weeks ago and it was said the current rules stop wasting time.

“If players start getting sent off for time-wasting – it will have more impact tonight on time-wasting than adding 15 minutes at the end.”

This was a nod to the other big change this season – more injury time was added to the end of matches to more accurately reflect all the stoppages.

Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher added, “I feel sorry for Tommiyaso. It was Barty’s turn at first, then Havertz. I don’t think Tomiyaso wasted time, he ran to catch the ball.”

“It works in terms of firing players.”

Palace chairman Roy Hodgson said: “These rules and ideas are placed on us, we don’t have much to say, we have to learn to live with them.

“I can understand how unhappy Arsenal will be about the two yellow cards, and I’m sure I will be too.

“It works in terms of sending players off, but whether that’s the right thing, I’ll leave the referees to decide for themselves.”

A total of five players have been ejected in nine games this weekend, though Tomiyasu’s game was the only one that featured the new guidelines.

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice added: “In the beginning we had a meeting of the referees to explain the new rules. We know if we lose time we will get a yellow card, but extra time can be frustrating sometimes in the end.

“They set the law at the start of the season and if they are wasting time there is nothing we can do about it.”

Arteta wasn’t the first manager to complain about the new tips this weekend.

Fulham had their captain Tim Ream sent off for two feats, the second for receiving a rather harsh penalty, in the 2010s Saturday’s 3-0 defeat against Brentford.

Leader Marco Silva received an opposition yellow card in the aftermath.

“It’s the new Premier League, and we’ll have to get used to it,” he said afterwards. Any time your hands are not in your pockets, it is a yellow card for the manager. Any time a player moves in the direction of the referee, there will be a yellow card.

“We’ll have more than 200 yellows in the first 10 weeks. There are new rules and we have to get used to them. The Premier League is very different now than last season, the previous season or the last 20 years. We have to adapt. It’s hard to understand.”

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