Arsenal ended their game against Wolves tonight with just nine players on the pitch. David Luiz and Bernd Leno saw red cards for denying goalscoring opportunities, and that cost us the game.
The Brazilian appeared to have brought down Willian Jose inside the box just before half time. Replays showed very little contact, but the referee decided to send him off, and VAR backed that decision.
Leno was given his marching orders in the 72nd minute. The Arsenal goalkeeper rushed out of the box to clear the ball, but he misjudged the bounce completely and ended up punching the ball off the pitch. He was sent off and he could have no complaints whatsoever.
Arsenal already had a mountain to climb with 10 men, but Leno’s red card made the task impossible. Wolves picked up all three points and every one of our players will feel hard done by.
How many games will Leno and Luiz miss?
A red card is usually a three-game ban as we saw earlier in the season with Nicolas Pepe and Granit Xhaka. However, the pair’s offence then was deemed as violent conduct, and their punishment was that harsh as a result.
Leno and Luiz’s actions will go down as professional fouls. The FA rulebook states that a red card received in a situation where a player denies a clear goalscoring opportunity will be treated the same way as when someone gets sent off for two yellow cards.
That means that Luiz and Leno will only miss one game and that is a massive boost. We have options in defence if the Brazilian was out for a longer period, but our goalkeeping situation isn’t that great.
Alex Runarsson isn’t quite good enough for the top level while Maty Ryan is currently injured.
A three-game ban for Leno would’ve been disastrous, but thankfully, he’s only out for one, and we will have him back when we host Leeds United on Valentines Day.