Jakub Kiwior said he hoped “VAR would intervene” after the Arsenal star lost his boot in the build-up to Julio Enciso’s opener at the Emirates on Sunday, which led to some stinging criticism from Roy Keane and his fellow pundits.
Kiwior has impressed having come into the starting lineup to replace Rob Holding in recent weeks, as William Saliba remains on the sidelines through injury.
The £21m centre-back went down holding his foot after his boot came off under the challenge of Brighton’s Evan Ferguson, before a cross was delivered right over Kiwior’s head to allow Enciso to easily nod past Aaron Ramsdale.
Deniz Undav and Pervis Estupinan added to the Seagull’s lead to give them a convincing and deserved 3-0 win and leave the Gunners needing a miracle to claim the title over Manchester City, who are now four points clear with a game in hand.
After the defeat, Micah Richards attempted to defend Kiwior before Keane dismissed his fellow pundit’s thoughts in typically brutal style: “You talk about putting your body on the line, last-ditch defending and stuff, you don’t stay down like that. Micah, his boot came off, his foot didn’t come off.”
The Poland international explained after the game: “I felt contact and lost my boot and didn’t even see the goal. I hoped VAR would intervene and chalk off the goal, but unfortunately, the ref saw it differently.
“After we conceded the second our heads dropped and we couldn’t come back,” he added.
Gary Neville weighed in on commentary, claiming Kiwior just had to “stand up” whether he thought he was fouled or not.
He said: “Kiwior is injured but the fact that he was injured, I mean… He goes down holding his ankle and left Arsenal short in the middle of the box.
“He goes down. Can he not just – I’m scared of saying it… And I’m sure the lads in the studio, Roy [Keane] and Patrick [Viera], might be thinking it and have a bit more to say.
“If you’re injured you’re injured. But as a centre half, surely you just have to stand up and let the attack finish?”
Jamie Carragher took to Twitter to label the moment embarraassing.
He wrote: ‘It was a embarrassing Kiwior stayed down whether it was a foul or not (it wasn’t) there was very little wrong with him. Get up & defend like your life depends on it.’