By Nick Ware

13th Sep, 2021 | 3:10pm

Keith Hackett: Michail Antonio deserved straight red card in West Ham draw v Southampton

We’re delighted to welcome former Premier League referee Keith Hackett as our exclusive West Ham United columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the London Stadium.

Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett believes West Ham striker Michail Antonio was lucky to avoid a straight red card against Southampton.

The Irons talisman, 31, was dismissed at St.Mary’s Stadium on Saturday after collecting two yellow cards.

His first came in the 71st minute before a late tackle on Moussa Djenepo in the 95th minute saw a second brandished in his direction by referee David Coote.

The August Premier League Player of the Month is now set to serve a one-game ban, meaning he will miss Sunday’s clash with Manchester United.

However, ex-FIFA listed official Hackett suggests Antonio can count himself fortunate that he will not face a three-match ban for a straight red card, a sanction that would also have kept him out of next week’s EFL Cup clash with Sunday’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side [September 22] and a Premier League trip to Leeds United [September 25].

Antonio’s next game would have been on October 3, against Brentford, had he been handed a three-game suspension.

“When it’s a borderline yellow or red, and it’s a second yellow, the referee will go for a second yellow,” Hackett told West Ham Zone.

“The reason behind that is the club cannot appeal yellow cards, so it wards off any opportunity of an appeal. So, in a way, it’s something that’s almost a gift for the referee and therefore if he has any doubt, he’ll go second yellow and that’s why they do it.

“I think the referee has gone second yellow and Antonio has no appeal, it’s closed off.

“On its own, it’s a red card. It’s reckless and therefore the referee could have issued a red card.

“But I suspect he’s issued a second yellow for that reason.”

[Could Antonio count himself lucky he’ll miss just one game and not three?] “Yeah.”

In other West Ham news, pundit slams this Irons player and predicts a major Moyes decision this week.

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