Arsenal legend Ian Wright has slammed the “ridiculous” decision to send David Luiz off in the defeat at Wolves on Tuesday night – but had less sympathy for Bernd Leno.
Defender Luiz and goalkeeper Leno were shown red cards as Joao Moutinho’s stunning effort earned Wolves their first win in nine games.
Nicolas Pepe had given the Gunners the lead as they threatened to run riot in the first half.
But Luiz was dismissed by referee Craig Pawson after conceding a penalty for a trip on Willian Jose which allowed Ruben Neves to level and Leno saw red when he handled outside his area in the second half.
There appeared to be little contact between Luiz and the striker and Wright believes the Premier League officials made a mistake.
Wright told Premier League Productions: “The way he’s supposedly meant to have challenged him and stopped a goalscoring opportunity when he’s round the back of him, I just can’t understand that one.
“Maybe it’s because I’m an Arsenal man but it’s very tough to take, especially how we started.
“We started the game so well. It was a brilliant start for Arsenal. I thought this was one of those where if they could have taken a couple of those chances early on – they hit the post and hit the bar – it could have been a romp.
“But David Luiz on the halfway line, he goes in and gets caught out coming back.
“He clips him on the back, it just really seems so harsh for him to get a sending off. It’s very hard to take for Arsenal fans.”
Arsenal dominated the first half and Bukayo Saka shot against a post after just 36 seconds, also having a ninth-minute goal ruled out by VAR when Alexandre Lacazette had strayed offside.
Pepe the hit the bar before opening the scoring after 32 minutes when he outmuscled Nelson Semedo and curled in.
The Gunners looked on course for victory only for the game to turn in first-half stoppage time when Luiz was dismissed.
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Wright added: “I’ve got so much sympathy because whether it’s intentional or not, that seems like a very harsh red card.
“He’s actually trying to get out the way, he’s trying to get back. He’s not changing his stride, he’s actually trying to slow his legs down and the rule says he stopped a goalscoring opportunity. And he’s sent off for that?! It’s ridiculous.
“The penalty is fine, I haven’t got a problem with that because he’s been impeded but it wasn’t intentional so why does he need to be sent off for that? It’s double jeopardy and he’s being punished for something that’s a total accident.”
Wolves’s winner came four minutes into the second half when Moutinho’s brilliant 30-yard strike cannoned in off a post.
Arsenal had no response and their night got worse when Leno’s red card left them two men light.
Leno rushed out of his area and inexplicably handled the ball 20 minutes from full-time. He became the ninth Arsenal player to receive a Premier League red card since Mikel Arteta took charge a little over a year ago.
Wright added: “I don’t know what he’s doing there, he’s got himself in all sorts of problems. You can see it on his face there.
“He’s come out, he’s mistimed it, it’s skidded off the surface and it’s an obvious red card.”