On the 13th day of the this month Arsenal received their 13th red card under the leadership of Mikel Arteta.
It’s the most in the English topflight since the Spaniard became our manager, 5 more than Southampton in the same period.
It follows the tradition set by Arsene Wenger who’s ill-discipline, especially in his early years in England, was also poor. Under the Frenchman though we had a decent record of coping when down to 10 men.
While Arteta was rightly proud of Thursday’s clean sheet at Anfield, he’s still to win a game once a red card has been shown.
Mr Wenger was heavily criticised for not controlling his players better but when you think of a Keown, Vieira, Petit, etc, battling was part of their DNA. Our Premiership winning squads were technically great but could also fight you if needed.
By comparison while Arteta is constantly making us better defensively, red cards seem more a case of individual errors.
On the subject of our draw at Anfield in midweek, I feel the need to educate some younger Gooners. When it’s claimed we did really well consider we were down to 10 men, we were only in that situation due to poor defending in the first place.
We haven’t had the odds stacked against us, it’s a consequence of poor decision making.
Defend properly and you don’t end up with a one-man deficit.
Kick a man in the chest when he’s in on goal and you get punished.
Just like at home to Man City fans say ‘but we defended so well down to 10 men’, that’s because your centre back was irresponsible.
Anyways let’s look at the 13 red cards under Arteta’s tenure…
Palace Away – 1-1
Having given us the lead, Aubameyang’s afternoon takes a turn for the worse when a yellow card is upgraded to a red thanks to VAR. It’s a challenge which could have caused a serious injury.
Only our then captain knows if he meant any malice, but straight in front of the dug outs there was no need to make that tackle.
🟡 ➡️ 🔴
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is sent off!
He was originally shown a yellow card for his challenge on Max Meyer, but had it raised to a red after a VAR check! pic.twitter.com/1eV91CF32Y
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 11, 2020
Chelsea 2-2 Arsenal
While mocked for getting more red cards in 2 years in North London compared to the 8 years at the Bridge, David Luiz was badly let down by Mustafi on his return to Chelsea.
After his partner’s back pass put Jorginho clean through on goal, Luiz had a choice to make …. let the ball be tapped in or take one for the team and concede a penalty giving Leno more of a chance of making a save. The Brazilian was clearly trusting the new double jeopardy rule meaning a player couldn’t be sent off when conceding a penalty.
That’s though if a genuine attempt at the ball has been made, which Luiz’s bear hug take down was not. A better argument is that Mustafi was back on the line covering
Nightmare return to Stamford Bridge for David Luiz, who is sent off following Shkodran Mustafi's error 🔴
Chelsea lead 1-0 thanks to Jorginho's penalty… pic.twitter.com/tkJeqZtXCd
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 21, 2020
Man City 3-0 Arsenal
One of the most disastrous half-an-hour cameos in our history.
Having come on for an injured Mari, David Luiz shinned a clearance straight into the path of Sterling to gift Man City’s opener before half time.
On the other side of the break he brings down Mahrez and gets a straight red card.
To his credit, the Brazilian took accountability straight away, admitting it was a mistake to play the game. Whether that was based on not being fully fit or his contract situation it was not clear.
Arsenal 1-1 Leicester
In a cruel blow to catching Leicester in the race for a European spot, Arsenal were leading when they brought on Eddie Nketiah for some fresh legs on the 70th minute.
It was a rare chance for the youngster to impress in the League, but 4 minutes later he was sent off for a straight red after a poor lunge.
The Gunners failed to protect their lead.
Leeds 0-0 Arsenal
In a moment which left many questioning the mentality of the squad, Pepe decided to motion his head in the direction of a Leeds player.
I refuse to call it a headbutt because the defender no doubt exaggerated, but the fact is Pepe should never have given the officials a decision to make.
This came at a time when the winger’s contribution was already being questioned.
PEPE SENT OFF 🟥
The Arsenal man headbutts Ezgjan Alioski off the ball and is shown a straight red card
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 22, 2020
Arsenal 0-1 Burnley
Given the reaction Pepe’s moment of stupidly caused it seems inconceivable that Xhaka would do what he did, putting his hand across Ashley Westwood’s throat.
This was when confidence was at rock bottom with the team having won one Prem fixture in seven. At a time where we needed our senior players to step up this was the last thing we needed.
Arsenal 1-1 Saints
Just three days later Arsenal again undermined themselves due to individual mistakes.
While Gabriel’s two yellows can’t be compared to Xhaka’s moment of madness it was still silly to pull back Theo Walcott knowing he was on a booking. The Brazilian wouldn’t learn from this mistake.
Another RED CARD for @Arsenal 😳
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) December 16, 2020
Wolves 2-1 Arsenal
Very similar to his red card at Chelsea, when conceding a penalty David Luiz puts his faith in the double jeopardy rule, but again his tackle is not judged as a genuine attempt at a ball.
Worse Is to follow ……..
Already accused of making too many errors, Leno decides with his team already down to 10 men to rush out of his area and for zero reason, punch the ball away, meaning we had to play at the Molineux with 9 men!
Villarreal 2-1 Arsenal
Somehow Arsenal seemed not motivated for a major European Cup Semi-Final.
Their sloppiness was summed up by two yellow cards for Ceballos although the Spaniards were accused of play acting. Arsenal did well to return to London with an away goal
Man City 5-0 Arsenal
Arsenal yet again showed weak mentality.
Which happens too often in a big fixture away from the Emirates, the moment we faced adversity we folded like a pack of cards.
Having already conceded two early goals at the Etihad when the youngsters needed guidance from one of the few senior players they had on pitch, Xhaka decides to jump in with a two footed challenge.
Look away, Arsenal supporters…
🟥 Granit Xhaka is sent off for a reckless lunge on João Cancelo.
The correct decision according to Peter Walton. pic.twitter.com/dDDPsZCqyr
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 28, 2021
Arsenal 1-2 Man City
Again the moment we faced adversity we crumbled.
While aggrieved by the nature of the penalty we conceded, Arsenal needed a leader to calm everyone down and keep composure.
Instead Gabriel scuffled the penalty spot. No bones about it, it’s a form of cheating.
Knowing he was on a yellow his body block just minutes later was senseless.
"This is stupid, immature, petulant… What do you think you are achieving?"
"The worrying thing is it didn't surprise us, it will continue to happen."@rioferdy5 and @JoleonLescott have no sympathy for Gabriel for losing his head when emotions were running high. pic.twitter.com/9qgYi99eIf
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 1, 2022
Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal
This wasn’t reckless from Xakha but more based on his poor positioning sense.
He seemed unaware where Jota was, misreads the flight of ball, and suddenly he’s kicked a player who’s clean through on goal straight in the chest.
RED CARD! 🟥
Arsenal's Granit Xhaka is sent off after a reckless last man challenge on Liverpool's Diogo Jota pic.twitter.com/n71xpYPzRW
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 13, 2022
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