It changed the game – Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta angry at David Luiz red card

Nick Mashiter, PA

Mikel Arteta hit out at the decision to send off David Luiz after nine-man Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at Wolves.

Defender Luiz and goalkeeper Bernd 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.

David Luiz tangles with Willian Jose, leading to his red card
David Luiz tangles with Willian Jose, leading to his red card (Shaun Botterill/PA).

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 boss Arteta confirmed the club would consider an appeal.

“I would say yes, let’s go straight away, but we have to speak and make the decision (about) what’s the best thing to do,” said Arteta, with Arsenal 10th and four points adrift of the top five.

“I am sitting here and I’m expecting to see something and I’m not seeing anything. It changed the game – to play with 10 men for 45 minutes in the Premier League without your centre-back against this opposition, of course it changes the game.

“If there is any contact it’s him with David, I don’t know if they have a different angle to what I have. It’s hard enough to win games in the league and those big decisions are like that.

“It was a big decision, if they got it right and can justify they got it right I put my hand up and apologise. The way we lost the game is where it really hurts, it’s painful, but I have to take the positives.

“We didn’t concede any chances but Moutinho scored a worldie and it’s 2-1. Bernd comes out and hits the ball with his hand, it’s a clear red card and we’re down to nine players and it’s almost impossible to win.”

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.

Joao Moutinho celebrates his brilliant winner
Joao Moutinho celebrates his brilliant winner (Catherine Ivill/PA).

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.

Wolves then won it 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.

Victory was the first time Wolves have done the double over Arsenal since 1978/79.

Boss Nuno Espirito Santo said: “Everything changes with the penalty, the dynamic of the game changes there. I think the referee doesn’t have any other option in both situations.

“The goal is amazing, for Joao he is such a talent player and he deserves this moment.

“It’s a very welcome win. It means a lot, we have been in a tough moment. The beginning of the game was very difficult and Arsenal were playing very good football.

“All achievements are good and we have done many beautiful things in past seasons and we want to emulate them again.

“The standards are very high and we have to chase them. We cannot allow ourselves to ever put our heads down. I will not allow our players to stop believing in themselves.”

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