Pundit calls for rule change after Martinelli sending off

Kevin Phillips admits the referee was right to have given Gabriel Martinelli two yellow cards in the same passage of play against Wolves.

However, he also believes that is a rule that needs to be changed.

Michael Oliver was the ref who sent off the Arsenal attacker after he appeared to commit two fouls in quick succession.

It is one of the strangest decisions football fans have seen in recent times.

However, the referee was not wrong according to the current rules and former Sunderland man, Phillips believe it has to change.

He tells Football Insider: “The ref has done what he thinks is right but sometimes you have to use common sense. It frustrates me even more now as a manager. Having a player sent off for something like that… It can ruin a game.

“Until the letter of the law and the rules change it will always be the same. They should have a re-think in my opinion.”

Just Arsenal Opinion

This decision would always be a controversial one, but as Phillips has rightly said, it is right to the letter of the law.

Hopefully, lawmakers will change it.

However, Arsenal’s players also need to work on their discipline and avoid continuously getting themselves sent off because it could start costing the team quite severely in the race for a champions league spot.

Mikel Arteta discusses the Wolves win, referees and red cards

Tags Gabriel Martinelli


  1. Super Bowl Stan 🙂
    His team wins America’s biggest sporting trophy.
    Game won in Stan’s stadium due to host the opening and closing ceremony plus men’s football quarter finals and finals at the 2028 Olympics.
    So Stan is a winner.
    Next up the PL title.

  2. It just needs to be applied fairly to all teams if it’s the law. I wonder how it will work with 2 different players getting a yellow in the same phase of play?

    If the law is changed that’s fine but then expect players to take full advantage when a break away is on and players put in multiple yellow card challenges to stop an attack in one phase of play.

    1. Agree with second paragraph. Don’t think the law needs changing although wouldn’t be too much to expect refs to exercise discretion i.e. both need to be blatant yellows rather than borderline. In Martinelli’s case I think, as much as it pains me to say, Oliver got it just about right.

      Now that Martinelli’s case has raised the possibility, players will hooefully be more cautious.

      The other option would be to whistle.for yellow cards right away rather than play advantage but that of course comes with it’s own set of problems.

      1. Yeah it’s a bit of a difficult one to ref overall.

        I’d just hate to see any players getting injured because it’s a tackling free for all in the same phase of play.

        1. I totally concur with this and have written so in multiple posts, unfortunately the usual Blinders bunch will post numerous unsubstantiated claims about how the refs are collective conspiring against only us, which is some real bonkers sh**…fact remains this was a highly unusual situation, which will provide the players with a suitable wake-up call, as Voyageur suggested above, so it makes no sense whatsoever to change a rule based on a one-off scenario

          1. Martinelli, dived for a foul he didn’t get, pushed their player to try to stop him taking a throw (foul) and ran 40 yards to deliberately foul the wolves player. Three yellow cards if we want to be correct.

  3. Unfortunately, the ref applied the rule as per letter. However, he should ve only given the one, as the first yellow card is precautionary”telling the player if you transgress, you gone” now if the ref didn’t become frustrated, lost his patience, slightly biased, he would have warned and then carded. How many times did he warn/cautioned Marti.

  4. trouble is the referee DIDN’T follow the letter of the law. if you attempt to disrupt a promising attack and FAIL then you are not booked. hence why Luke Shaw didn’t get booked vs saints for his shirt pull on Broja. if he had pulled the play back to retake the throw in then he can book martinelli.

    1. English referees only applied the rules when Arsenal is involved. Remember what Mike Dean did when he officiated the match between Arsenal vs Crystal Palace when Bukayo Saka was deliberately kicked, if it were Arsenal that committed that foul, it will be red card. Same thing with the match with Everton when Godfrey matched Tomiyasu deliberately. In both matches there was no VAR review and no red card. I think English referees association has a hidden agenda against Arsenal Fc.

  5. He didn’t apply the rules correctly because if he did, he would of had too of stopped play as the throw on taker, who was pushed had 2 feet off the ground when he took it. So the correct decision would of been, yellow for Martinelli & a retake of the throw on. But the rules always change when Arsenal are involved!

  6. Any referee with good sense of neutrality and balanced game would not have given two yellow cards to one player in two seconds at dieing minutes of a single match. Whatever is the letter, the spirit of the law is harsh and controversial that a neutral/referee should avoid.

    1. You obviously dont understand the laws of football and how they are applied. Michael Oliver had an excellent game and that is what we are asking referees to do more often, dont knock it.

  7. Football is a beautiful game that we need to enjoy not agonize. Healthy rivalry should always be expected and accommodated not brutality. Let players be stopped from getting to to mar beauty of the game. I totally agree with Oliver… Arsenal for life

  8. Something may be right but it has to be done with common sense.
    In 2010 soccer final Spain Vs Netherlands, if the ref didn’t apply common sense in some incidents it would have ruined one of the best WC finals.

  9. All the two incidences were bookable fouls but Oliver could have stopped the throw in (which was also a foul throw – all legs off the ground) and given a yellow card or warn Martinelli, straight away.. how can a Ref give an advantage from a dead ball situation?a throw in is not run of play situation to play advantage at an expense of sending off a player in that tough game..

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