Wolves 2-1 Arsenal: David Luiz red card explained by ex-referee

  • Rob Swan

Arsenal suffered a 2-1 defeat away at Wolves in the Premier League on Tuesday night and saw two of their players sent off.

Nicolas Pepe put the Gunners 1-0 up in the 32nd minute before Ruben Neves equalised for the hosts from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

David Luiz was controversially shown a straight red card for bringing down Willian Jose.

Joao Moutinho then put Wolves 2-1 up early in the second half with a stunning strike from 30 yards.

And Arsenal’s miserable evening was compounded when goalkeeper Bernd Leno was sent off for inexplicably handling the ball outside his penalty area.

It might have been a different story for Mikel Arteta’s side had Luiz remained on the pitch.

The decision of referee Craig Pawson to send off the Brazilian defender baffled many football fans on social media – and not just Arsenal supporters.

BT Sport’s resident referee Peter Walton explained at half-time why Pawson had no option to send Luiz off.


However, his explanation didn’t go down well with those in the studio, or those watching on at home.

“Intent doesn’t come into the law because you can’t read a player’s mind, so you go by his actions,” Walton said.

“His actions there were rather careless. In terms of bringing the player down… yes, he doesn’t make an attempt on the ball, that’s the important thing. Had he made an attempt on the ball, it would have been a yellow card plus a penalty kick.

“But because he hasn’t made an attempt on the ball, and the ball is not within playing distance, that becomes a red card. Craig Pawson’s got no opportunity at all to issue a yellow, it has to be a red card and a penalty kick.”


BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey, sounding puzzled, added: “Okay, so you can unintentionally clip someone and get a red card, or you can intentionally bring them down, while looking like you’re going for the ball, and get a yellow card?”

“Yes,” Walton responded.

“From my memory, that’s about the third time that David Luiz has been sent off for a similar offence. So you say players should learn and understand, maybe so…”

“Another great rule,” Rio Ferdinand, clearly unimpressed with the explanation, sarcastically added.

Here’s how football fans reacted to Walton’s explanation on Twitter…

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