Howard Webb confirms that Kovacic should have been sent off against Arsenal

One of the most controversial moments in Arsenal’s 1-0 win against Manchester City at the weekend was Matteo Kovacic escaping a sending-off.

The Croatian aggressively tackled Arsenal players at least twice, which should have earned him either a straight red card or at least two yellow cards.

However, referee Michael Oliver allowed him to stay on the pitch and handed him a yellow card just once.

Several pundits and fans are convinced he should have been sent off in the first half of that game and VAR should have intervened to ensure that happened.

However, he remained on the pitch and it was one of the moments discussed during the PGMOL’s Match Officials Mic’d Up programme.

PGMOL’s boss Howard Webb admitted the Croatian should have been sent off. He said, as quoted by the Daily Mail:

‘This is clearly a poor tackle and I’m confident if a red card had been given by Michael Oliver on the day, it would have been a very straightforward “check complete”, but he doesn’t.’

Just Arsenal Opinion

We all saw that Kovacic had to be sent off for one of those challenges and never was.

The referee was lucky we won that game because there would have been a serious backlash because of his failure to make the right decision.


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Tags Howard Webb Mateo Kovacic


  1. Tgere wiukd have been NO BACKLASH whatsoever, as there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY whatsoever.
    This corrupt system is even challenging the idea that, as in rugby, the conversation during a VAR decision should NOT be available for the paying public to hear!!

    The reason given for not sending him off? They didn’t want to spoil the game – so along with Dean saying he covered for a fellow ref who was having a bad game, why have ANY rules?

    1. Ken – They didn’t want to spoil the game for Mancity because had it been Arsenal’s player, we would have see a straight red card given out. what annoys me is the double standard and picking and choosing the rules whenever it suits them and not applying them fairly. VAR is supposed to help the ref but at this point I don’t see the use of it.

    1. Ken the officiating body needs help, have long call for the assistance of the legendary Italian referee Pierluigi collina.

      Surely he can’t create anymore damage than what is happening, his input can only enhance the process

      1. Collina is still involved in football as an unpaid consultant to the Italian Football Referees Association (AIA), the Head of Referees for the Football Federation of Ukraine since 2010, a member of the UEFA Referees Committee, and Chairman of the FIFA referees committee.

  2. After the travesty of justice against Liverpool vs the Spuds, PGMOL may have breath a sigh of relief that a huge decision didn’t affect the result in Arsenal’s clash with the champion on Sunday.

    Sunday clash was one of little action with both managers, hampered by key absences, seemingly keen on just surviving to fight another day, in the end it was won from in the dugout.

  3. Yet another example to add as these occurrences continue to rise.

    Without accountability and consequences, I don’t see anything changing and the refs remain untouchable.

    Fans suffer, players suffer, managers suffer, even the game suffers from this disgrace. Shocking how they stubbornly refuse to change.

    Numerous examples in other sports of how VAR is run properly, yet PL refs seem untouchable. Oliver will be back after the break, and devoid of consequences.

  4. I for one, am kinda glad the tackles weren’t serious and Kovacic wasn’t sent off.

    BECAUSE this is the kind of catalyst that snaps city out of their funk and make Pep and his team go beast-mode, and finding a last minute winner against us. Seen it happen enough.

    I will take the yellow and the 3 points ✨️✨️

    Note: don’t murder me in the comments 😁

  5. Surely no coincidence that all this VAR mishaps seem to mostly affect Man city closest challengers.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if down the line we found about corruption from referees. Michael Oliver went to UAE to referee a game recently so it means he was paid by the owners of Man city, how is that not a conflict of interest i dont know.

    1. It’s nonsense for them to give pregnant excuses all along,why can’t they reason out that why the same case all through? We are tired,one maybe happy today but this will haunt one day when at the point of need

  6. This sounds well, but I will always say and those in that VAR boardroom are NOT consistent. Sometimes two incidents of the same character do happen in a match and the reward or penalty is treated as two incidents different,why ??? It’s awkward and awful. Let’s have constant and consistent reviews and if need be please refer to previous occasions. Stop system manipulation and corruption in regards

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