World Cup winner Frank Leboeuf lambasted the officiating during Arsenal’s Premier League defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers last night saying it “killed” the Gunners, speaking on ESPN.
Wolves won 2-1 as Arsenal were reduced to nine men at Molineux having received red cards in both halves.
David Luiz was shown the red card in first-half added time after tripping Willian Jose and conceding a penalty.
Before that moment Arsenal were 1-0 up and dominating the game. After Ruben Neves converted the penalty, Wolves took the lead shortly after half-time through a Joao Moutinho stunner.
Bernd Leno was also given his marching orders after handling the ball outside the box in the 72nd minute.
After that, it was game over for nine-man Arsenal. But it was the Luiz red card that angered former Chelsea and France centre-half Leboeuf the most.
Leboeuf: ‘It’s not a red card’
He said: “David Luiz only runs and touches the opponent.
“Nobody has a problem – it’s a penalty – even if Mr Arteta thinks the opposite. But there’s no clear intention to put him down. Therefore, for me, it’s not a red card.
“You have to be physiologically bigger than the rules to give the red card because that killed the game. (The decision) killed the game.
“For 44 minutes Arsenal were on top of the world, playing fantastically, having chances to score more than one goal. (They were) destroyed in half a second because of a strange law.”
Nicolas Pepe put Mikel Arteta’s side in front after half an hour, with the Gunners in cruise control heading towards the break.
‘No attempt to tackle’
However, their fortunes changed rapidly following Luiz’s foul. Craig Pawson and VAR concluded the Brazilian made no attempt to tackle Willian Jose and therefore he couldn’t be shown the yellow card.
Arsenal’s manager was adamant there had been no contact and said the club may appeal the dismissal.
The Gunners now travel to Aston Villa on Saturday with three regulars missing from their back line. Unless the cards are overturned, Luiz and Leno will be suspended, whereas Kieran Tierney is suffering a leg injury.
It seems likely Arteta will call on Runar Alex Runarsson to make his full debut. The Icelandic goalkeeper was brought on for the final 18 minutes last night following Leno’s dismissal.
Gabriel Magalhaes’ return after isolating due to covid couldn’t be timelier as Arsenal face a tough trip to Villa Park.
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