Ainsley Maitland-Niles should he have been sent off? Pundits give their views

It is a matter of opinion whether the sending off yesterday of Ainsley Maitland-Niles would have made a difference to the final result, I personally think we would still have lost but no one knows for sure, it clearly did impact the game and opinion does seem to be that the sending off was harsh.

Speaking on Sky Sports Graeme Souness is firm in his opinion that it was harsh and in particular the second yellow.

Souness said, “The second one, no, very unlucky.

“Maddison’s not helped his mate there. He slips briefly, it’s a lunge, not a lot of contact when we see it from this angle, and that’s really harsh on the young man.

“Where’s he hurt him there?” Asked Souness as he watched a replay of Maddison going down in apparent pain. “He goes down holding what? Where’s the contact there?

“The referee was right on it,” said Souness. “What happens today, the players go down with a scream as well. People all around him shouting foul, so the referee’s influenced by that. For me, that’s not a yellow card.”

Former referee Mark Halsey echos the words of Souness calling the sending off unlucky and questioning the reaction of James Maddison.

Writing in the Sun Halsey said, “Ainsley Maitland-Niles was very unlucky to be sent off – and James Maddison can feel responsible.

Maddison’s reaction was poor as Maitland-Niles made no contact with his England Under-21 team-mate, but earned a second yellow card.

In real time it looks worse than it is, I would have managed that and given him a final warning.

But you can understand why Maitland-Niles received his first caution as it was a careless challenge and denied Leicester a promising attack.

It wasn’t an easy game for Michael Oliver to referee as both sets of players were niggly”.

Former Gunner Ian Wright was not as diplomatic as Souness and Halsley and feels that Maddison cheated in getting the 21-year-old sent off

“I felt sorry for Ainsley. If I’m going to be totally honest, I felt James Maddison cheated in that little scenario there, Wright said.

“Ainsley didn’t lunge at him. He came from the side and he didn’t even touch him.

“People are saying to me on Twitter that he lunged and he got what he deserved for it.

“He didn’t lunge, because Maddison wasn’t in front of him, he was to the side of him.

“So Maddison used his experience to get us down to 10 men.

My own personal opinion is that it was harsh but I do not blame James Maddison, he only did what all footballers do and milk the tackle for all it’s worth and on this occasion, he got the result he desired.

Maitland-Niles is inexperienced and that is what cost him the second yellow card, you do not lunge in like that when you have already picked up a card and I am not one to blame the referee either, he saw it in real time and reacted to that, he does not have the benefit of replays.

That said, I did think that some of the Leicester City players got away with a lot worse and that inconsistency is frustrating, to say the least.


  1. Does it matter ?
    A) we lost the game
    B) he should be played at full back he’s a CM and better than the others

  2. Maddison, England under 21 international has experience and Niles, England under 21 international has no experience. How is it so hard to say the ref is incompetent and Maddison is a cheat and you all are cowards to call out these incompetence of these refs

    1. You called diving,cheating experience?if he was so better he wouldn,t have to resort to it,years ago foreign players used to get blamed,well the tide has turned,and then a ref defending another ref when he had no case!!

    2. Some refs should never do an Arsenal game and Oliver is one of them. Jones elbowed LT in the box a clear penalty but was never called. There were many tackles that deserved card that he just waved play on only to give a soft one yo the other team against us. Niles never touched that boy and the card should have been for cheating but where ManU is involved in a race with us some refs are partial.

      1. ?not for the first time; Maddison is a chronic diver. Simulation and feigning injury are the two biggest blights on Association Football. Maddison wouldn’t see out the game in either of the two Rugby codes. Retribution would be within the rules and physically damaging.

  3. I don’t understand Unai Emery style of football we can easily out played by any team,we can’t keep position,we can’t complete 3 to 4 passes without giving the ball to our opponents to go and score….Unai came in and take our style of football away,players running every were in the pitch with out known what to do.. Guendouzi going high the pitch cant track back…the boy should be properly coached if not he will end up like iwobi.

  4. Will the card be overturned, it probably doesn’t matter now anyway as we’re relying on Che to slip. I looked at last five results of teams and Che have turned it around, they are on form at the minute whereas we have four red spots and one green. I hope we don’t look out of confidence on Thu, bad time to hit the worst patch of form all season. Emery was between a rock and a hard place though, the side needed freshening up, it needed more legs, but the inexperience from youngsters away at a team that the first team find difficult, it’s a big ask. Even putting Niles in the central position, he’d be schooled too easily, rather Willock for that one with no expectations though, as those Leic players were very strong in the engine room. Players like Smith, Nelson, possibly Saka, forward players, they might have been useful, or at-least two of them alongside Auba and Laca. Chambers was another option we could’ve had, along with Beilik, we don’t have anyone pushing our CB’s for their place. That’s only hindsight though, before the game this wouldn’t even enter my head.

  5. Maitland-Niles was unlucky, but Arsenal were dominated by Leicester before that incident. So it didn’t really matter because Leicester players wanted to win more than Arsenal players and Vardy & co deserved it

    Of course the player who stepped on Xhaka’s shin should be yellow-carded in the least, but maybe FA gave the officials some instructions to redeem their mistake on Deeney’s red card. That’s just my suspicion and I agree with the other commenters regarding the officials in England, most of them are not good enough

    Arsenal should not ask Lichtsteiner or Jenkinson to replace Maitland-Niles. They had better give the opportunity to a young RB from the academy

    1. i don,t get you boss Deeney red card was not a mistake that was an elbum get it and for mike oliver is a must for him to give Arsenal a red even i knew it before the game started that we will get a red card,i hope VAR will help next season.

  6. Football is not a boxing contest where you can win on points. How regulary it happens that it is not the “better” team that wins but the one who get it right to score a gaol. THAT IS ALL THAT COUNT. Nobody look after a match to “points” but only and only who scred the most goals. Every thing ells is pure speculation. Therefore to hide behind a speculation. Les should have win anyway is nothing more than a lot of bull and is a weak argument for an ( just another?) officials injustice to Arsenal. Beside a lot is made of the so called ball dominance that Les have. What is not sead is that those “dominance” was up to Miles red cart most of the time sideways and actualy toothlees.

    1. Completely agreed with everything you said. before the red card Leicester couldn’t do anything with their possession.

  7. He saw red.. end of. I was gutted for him.. Will we appeal? Who knows….
    You just have to read ref watch on sly sports, to see what another wonderful weekend the officials had!

  8. Maitland-Niles got a red card…big deal. Arsenal was under the cosh long before the red card and it was only a matter of time before Leicester scored. I recall that at a certain point before MN went off that possession was something like 72-28% to the home side. The whole team was poor again without any penetration and would never have won that game even if we had a man extra on leicester…period.

    1. No That’s not true they couldn’t create a chance with their possession before the red card.

  9. In my own opinion. the ref has been committing blunders for a longer period of time which fans had commented on his performance on the field. Most referees did know divers in England but they look down on them. Michael Oliver is not a competent referee. FA has to address this inwardly and charge any referee committing such a mistake becos. i knew without the sending off they wouldnt have beaten Arsenal

  10. It was a harsh sending off, and we could have won if it hadn’t happened. No guarantee, of course, but it would have been much more of a proper contest at 11 vs 11. Still, these things happen so nothing we can do now.

    Hopefully we can win the last two league games of the season, and the team gives a good account of themselves in trying to win the Europa League, that’ll be ok, and hopefully some good additions in the transfer window will lead to a more developed and balanced team for next season.

    I’m really looking forward to having Rob Holding back in defence. Really hope he can get back to being as good as he was before the injury.

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