Although the majority of the pundits in the Sky Sports studio after our 1-0 loss against Chelsea on Sunday supported the referee’s decision to send off Per Mertesacker, there was one who disagreed.
Surprisingly, that someone was Graeme Souness – a man who is known for disliking pretty much anything Arsenal do.
Speaking post-match, it appeared all the pundits, including Jamie Carragher and former Gunner Thierry Henry, were in agreement that it was a red card. However, Souness soon piped up and revealed that he actually believed it was soft considering how little contact Merteacker actually made with Diego Costa.
“I think it’s harsh, [there was] minimal contact,” the pundit remarked.
“I think it’s harsh, Costa makes a meal of it you can bet there was a scream.
“He (Willian) delays, he delays, he delays [then] plays a wonderfully weighted ball but there’s minimal contact.
“Costa does several rolls and you can bet, you can guarantee a little scream comes out.”
The former Liverpool man actually seemed pretty angry by the decision, or more, Costa’s reaction. However, I’m surprised that anyone’s shocked by the striker’s play-acting anymore, considering this is hardly a new occurrence.
Looking at it in hindsight, which is a wonderful thing, Mertesacker should have allowed him to run through and have his best chance on goal without bringing him down. It might have resulted in us going 1-0 down, which we did soon after going down to 10 men, but we would have had all 11 players still on the pitch.