Watching Bernd Leno join David Luiz in being sent for an early shower against Wolves was an all too familiar sight. Arsenal allowed their best 45 minutes of the season to go to waste, as two more red cards took the tally under Mikel Arteta to nine. NINE!
In 62 matches at the helm, that total, if we’re being all statistical, comes to a red card every 6.9 matches. It is a ludicrous number that champions the claim that Arsenal are their own worst enemy.
Such sentiments were echoed by Hector Bellerin in the aftermath of the 2-1 loss:
"“One hundred per cent [we’ve had too many red cards],” he told the official Arsenal website. “We’ve shown that when we’re 11 against 11 on that pitch, it’s completely different. “I always say that teams are not beating us, we are losing against ourselves.” More from Pain in the Arsenal 3 standout players from 1-0 victory over Everton 3 positives & negatives from Goodison Park victory Arsenal vs PSV preview: Prediction, team news & lineups 3 talking points from Arsenal’s victory at Goodison Park Mikel Arteta provides Gabriel Martinelli injury update after Everton win"
Arsenal’s 9 red cards under Mikel Arteta: Were they correct decisions?
In the case of almost all the dismissals that Arteta has overseen, they’ve come a stages where Arsenal have been not just in the mix for a positive result, but well on top. As if the team thrive on adversity and want to throw in a handicap for themselves to make things interesting.
Nine may sound like a lot. Because it is. Since the Spaniard took over 14 months ago, the teams next down the list are Norwich, Fulham, Everton, Brighton, West Brom, Leicester, Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United who have all been shown three. That’s….impressive?
Absolutely isn’t, and it’s sparked debate over whether there is some hidden agenda against the Gunners or if disciplinary issues are rampant within the squad. Best that we settle it then. Time for a review to see whether the calls made were correct or not, starting with the first one.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs Crystal Palace – 11/01/20
Originally shown a yellow card for his ill-timed lunge at Selhurst Park, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, having netted the opening goal on the afternoon, must’ve thought he got away with one.
Max Meyer was attempting to evade his challenge down the byline, with his quick touch inside taking the ball out of the path of the striker who was flying in.
Get the ball and there are probably no qualms about the tackle, even if he was off the ground. However, Aubameyang didn’t. He really didn’t.
It was a dreadful tackle. Meyer able to walk it off was remarkable, as any more force and it’s a snapped ankle. VAR intervened as the decision was red card. No malicious intent from the captain who is not that ilk of player, but a nailed-on sending off.
Red Card Decision: Correct
David Luiz vs Chelsea – 21/01/20
What a central defensive pairing: Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz. The stuff of dreams for any opposing side. Rival fans relished the thought of these two on the pitch together.
Away at Chelsea they combined in spectacular fashion, starting with a classically calamitous moment from the now departed Mustafi. Attempting to play a simple ball over the top back to Leno, he fluffed his lines and played Tammy Abraham in. Leno came out and opted against hauling the striker down, so Luiz took it upon himself to wrestle him to the floor with no intention of playing the ball.
It was simply a case of stopping him from shooting in whatever way possible. Such lunacy became a staple of Luiz’s game, and while Mustafi put his teammate’s head on the chopping block with that woeful pass back to goal, the Brazilian should have just conceded the strike and stayed on the pitch.
Red Card Decision: Correct