Pundits defend Portsmouth defender James Bolton following tackle on Arsenal's Lucas Torreira

It was a tackle that resulted in Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira being stretched off the Fratton Park pitch.

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 11:08 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 5:00 pm

However, Pompey’s James Bolton has been defended for his role in the 12th-minute incident of Monday night’s FA Cup tie.

The unfortunate Uruguayan was looking to get on the end of a pass down the Gunners’ left wing when he was stopped in his tracks by the covering Blues defender.

The challenge left Torreira grounded, with the 24-year-old rolling around and beating the turf in agony before assistance arrived.

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Bolton, who was operating as a make-shift centre-back for the fifth-round fixture, was seen offering his sympathy before the former Sampdoria ace was stretchered off and taken to an ambulance for further assessment.

He was later seen leaving Fratton Park wearing a protective boot and on crutches.

However, in quotes attributed to EPSN in Uruguay, Torreira has since revealed he ‘twisted’ his ankle and that he is ‘fine’.

The incident stopped play nearly five minutes.

Arsenal's Lucas Torreira is tackled by Pompey defender James Bolton. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

But according to ex-Spurs midfielder Jermaine Jenas and former Pompey boss Tony Pulis, who were both at PO4 to provide commentary for BT Sport and BBC 5 Live respectively, there was no need to criticise Bolton for the tackle.

Both agreed it was a strong but fair challenge.

Commentating on the incident in real time, Jenas told BT Sport: ‘It seemed like a good tackle, it seemed like a really strong tackle.‘Don't get me wrong, but I thought he won the ball.

‘And I was right, (he) takes ball and man.

‘It looks a really good tackle.

‘I don't see how any Arsenal player can have any problem.

‘It's just unfortunate that Torreira seems to come out on the wrong side of it.’

Then, after seeing replays of the tackle, the former England man added: ‘You know, I didn't have a problem with it.

‘It was strong, don't get me wrong,

‘I thought it was a very strong challenge, but he wins the ball.

‘And yeah, the force of the challenge in terms of the direction he's travelling in - you just cant stop when you win the ball.

‘You just can't stop the direction you are travelling in.

‘So, it’s an unfortunate one because Torreira looks like he’s got a bad injury but I can't see how (referee) Mike Dean can give a yellow card or even think about giving any punishment because I thought it was a good challenge.’

Pulis, who was the Blues’ boss in 2000, told the BBC: ‘It just looked a really, really solid challenge to me.

‘He certainly played the ball.

‘Let's hope it’s not too bad.

‘Looking at the challenge, I don't think the player has done anything but go for the ball.

‘It wasn't malicious in any way shape or form.’