Speaking on Sky Sports, Graeme Souness highlighted how little there was in the foul that ended up getting Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent off, and how the Leicester City players fooled the referee.
Though Arsenal were poor in another defeat to Leicester City on Sunday, their cause was certainly dealt a huge blow by Michael Oliver’s decision to book Ainsley Maitland-Niles for both of his first two fouls of the match.
The first was an extremely soft decision as the Arsenal defender went shoulder to shoulder with his Leicester opponent, but it was the second that Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness took issue with.
“Maddison goes down holding what? Where’s the contact there? The ref was right on it,” Souness said on the Sky Sports Super Sunday show. “The players go down with a scream as well. People all around him shouting foul, so the ref’s influenced by that. That’s not a yellow card.”
The contact between Maitland-Niles and Maddison certainly appeared to be marginal at best, yet the Leicester man went down clutching his leg in apparent agony. It’s a real shame considering he’s meant to be close with Maitland-Niles from the England youth teams, yet he stitched his mate up with his playacting.
Of course, Maddison’s theatrics would have meant nothing without Michael Oliver’s help. Ultimately, you expect opposition players to do whatever they can to bend the rules to their advantage, it’s up to the referee not to buy into that.