What was he thinking: Arsenal outfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dives to save a shot on goal by Chelsea with his hand.

What was he thinking: Arsenal outfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dives to save a shot on goal by Chelsea with his hand. Photo: Reuters

LONDON: Referee Andre Marriner expressed his disappointment to Arsenal after sending off the wrong player during their 6-0 loss to Chelsea on Saturday, the Premier League's refereeing body announced.

Arsenal were 2-0 down at Stamford Bridge in manager Arsene Wenger's 1000th game in charge when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain used his hand to push a shot from Chelsea winger Eden Hazard away from goal in the 15th minute.

Wrong man: Kieran Gibbs (28) is sent off.

Wrong man: Kieran Gibbs (28) is sent off. Photo: Getty Images

Marriner awarded a penalty, which Hazard subsequently scored, but showed a red card to Oxlade-Chamberlain's innocent teammate Kieran Gibbs, who was standing nearby.

Television pictures showed England midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain telling the official: "Ref, it was me!" But Marriner let the decision stand, and Gibbs was left to storm off the pitch.

In a statement released after the game, Professional Game Match Officials Limited said: "Andre is an experienced referee and is obviously disappointed that an error of mistaken identity was made in this case.

It was me: Oxlade-Chamberlain tells the referee Andre Marriner that he was the guilty player.

It was me: Oxlade-Chamberlain tells the referee Andre Marriner that he was the guilty player. Photo: Reuters

"Incidents of mistaken identity are very rare and are often the result of a number of different technical factors.

"Whilst this was a difficult decision, Andre is disappointed that he failed to identify the correct player. He expressed his disappointment to Arsenal when he was made aware of the issue."

Fourth official Anthony Taylor confirmed to television broadcasters at halftime that Gibbs's red card had been a case of mistaken identity.

The Football Association announced during the game that Arsenal had the right to appeal against the decision, tweeting: "Clubs can appeal mistaken identity to The @FA, although The @FA can pro-actively review also.

"Following a red card clubs can also review possibility of a wrongful dismissal claim to The @FA, unless dismissal is for 2 yellow cards."

Wenger felt that the controversy stemmed from the fact that Marriner had not seen Oxlade-Chamberlain's handball.

"I believe it was handball, but the referee hasn't seen it," said the Frenchman.

Despite the confusion, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said that the mistake did not have a significant impact on the outcome of the game.

"It was a penalty and a red card; unfortunately the wrong boy came off," he said.

"Even the linesman couldn't help him (Marriner) to make the right decision. The important decision: is it a penalty? Yes. Is it a red card? Yes."

A similar incident occurred earlier this season during an English third-tier game between Preston North End and Port Vale in November.

On that occasion, Preston striker Joe Garner was hit with a retrospective three-game ban after team-mate Neil Kilkenny had been mistakenly sent off.

AFP