Bournemouth have launched an appeal to The Football Association (FA) against the red card shown to captain Simon Francis during the latter stages of Tuesday night's (3 January) pulsating 3-3 Premier League draw with Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium. The experienced defender started and featured for 83 minutes of that match before being controversially sent off by referee Michael Oliver for a hefty challenge on Gunners midfielder Aaron Ramsey.
"AFC Bournemouth have appealed against Simon Francis' red card after the defender was sent off during Tuesday's match with Arsenal," the Cherries confirmed in a statement released via their official website on Wednesday morning (4 January). "The club will hear the outcome by the end of the week."
An ever-present at the back, Francis did not miss a league game throughout the entirety of last season and has also featured in all 20 of ninth-place Bournemouth's top-flight matches so far this term. If the FA fail to overturn his dismissal, then the 31-year-old will be suspended for this weekend's FA Cup third-round trip to Millwall in addition to league outings against Hull City and Watford.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was critical of Oliver's decision to send off Francis after the full-time whistle, describing the incident as a pivotal moment in a disappointing outcome. The hosts were desperately attempting to cling onto a 3-2 lead when they were reduced to 10 men after Alexis Sanchez and Lucas Perez had combined to hand Arsenal a lifeline after earlier goals from Charlie Daniels, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser had looked set to condemn them to a third successive away defeat.
The mounting pressure finally told during six minutes of second-half stoppage time when Olivier Giroud headed Granit Xhaka's cross beyond Artur Boruc for his eighth goal of the season and third in as many appearances.
"I think it was a key moment in the game, then it's just a case of us putting bodies in the way and make it difficult for them," Howe, who has been touted by many as a potential long-term successor to Arsene Wenger, told Sky Sports. "I didn't think it was a sending off on first view, I don't think his feet were raised enough on contact to warrant a red card, that was my view the first time and my view when I watched it again. So I think we were harshly treated there."