The Gabriel Martinelli red card was the15th under Mikel Arteta yet, once again, we are sitting here wondering why you never see red cards like that for anyone other teams.

Arsenal's Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli (R) walks off having been shown two yellow cards in quick succession by English referee Michael Oliver during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on February 10, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli (R) walks off having been shown two yellow cards in quick succession by English referee Michael Oliver during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on February 10, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

I’m 46 and have been going to football matches, of all levels, for 40+ years.

Admittedly, in those early years, I wasn’t quite paying full attention, but I still can’t think of a single time I’ve seen a player sent off the way Gabriel Martinelli was against Wolves.

I have, however, seen plenty of players do a version of what he did – commit two fouls in quick succession – but I’ve only ever seen one yellow issued.

Until Thursday night.

The International Football Association Board, who set the laws of football, seem to indicate that Michael Oliver was wrong to send Gabriel Martinelli off the way he did against Wolves.

https://twitter.com/bres84/status/1492082147695501345

Leaving aside that Gabriel Martinelli’s first foul caused a foul throw, that does not allow an advantage to be played, the reason you have never seen a player shown two yellow cards the way Martinelli was treated on Thursday night is because the laws seem to prohibit that from happening.

Foul throw caused by Martinelli's push means play should not have been allowed to restart
Foul throw caused by Martinelli’s push means play should not have been allowed to restart

Yes, that’s right, another official has misapplied a law to punish Arsenal.

Gabriel Martinelli red card – right or wrong?

Back in 2020, IFAB tweeted to say, “If the referee plays advantage for an offence which interfered with or stopped a promising attack, the YC should not be issued.

“The law states that if 2 offences occur at the same time the referee must punish the more serious. Thus, if a promising attack is stopped by a reckless challenge then the caution (yellow card, YC) is for the reckless challenge and not the SPA.”

Now, some say that Martinelli’s shove at the throw-in wasn’t an SPA offence, despite Oliver wetting himself with excitement to play an advantage to Wolves.

If the advantage was so good that, as many have said, it would have punished Wolves to stop play, then how can that be? It would only be unfair to Wolves if it was a promising attack, which it was.

You don’t get to have it both ways.

At no point between the first and second challenge did Oliver indicate to Martinelli that he would be booked when play was next stopped.

A yellow card is supposed to be a ‘caution’ – a warning to alter your behaviour because you could get sent off.

There was no warning here.

Would Martinelli have made that second challenge if he knew he had already been booked?

It seems unlikely, I mean, he’s not Granit Xhaka.

It’s also worth noting how quick Oliver was to get the Martinelli red card out. It was reminiscent of Stuart Attwell and Gabriel, when he couldn’t wait to send him off, but that’s another discussion for another day.

After the game, Mikel Arteta was so incensed about the Martinelli red card that he said he is going to ask for a private meeting with PGMOL.

“To be fair, it’s the first time I’ve seen a red card like this in 18 years that I’ve been in this league,” Arteta said.

“I think you have to be pretty willing to give a red card in that situation. But still it happened. We know that playing with 10 men in this league you’re not going to get points, enough points, the points that we want and we have to stop it.

“But to be fair it’s difficult to find more arguments and more ways to transmit that to the players. Everybody says it’s the most disciplined group they’ve seen in the last 15 years, but still we are getting red cards for other things.

“If you ask me if I’m happy with the decisions we’ve had this season, I’m not at all. But that’s a conversation I will have privately with the officials.

“We need explanations, we need explanations with what happened in VAR and I need explanations with what happened today.”

Even the former players on BT Sport – all three of them, none of whom were Arsenal – agreed the red shouldn’t have been given.

This video is worth watching for Robbie Savage using Peter Walton’s words to flabbergast Peter Walton as he tries to defend his former colleague as usual:

https://twitter.com/btsportfootball/status/1491901172894113794

Previous articleEx-Arsenal 18yo makes senior Championship debut
Next articleMultiple Wolves players complain over Arsenal celebrations
Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.