The Premier League was full of silly red cards this weekend.
First, Francis Coquelin inexplicably went flying into a tackle on Harry Kane whilst already on a yellow card, with his side 1-0 up in the north London derby.
Then it was the turn of Kevin Mirallas. First, a dive and then a needless foul on Aaron Cresswell saw him deservedly dismissed after just 34 minutes.
On Sunday, James Milner didn’t help Liverpool’s cause by crunching into two tackles which saw him receive his marching orders when his side trailed.
But probably the most naive sending off of the weekend was the red card to Manchester United’s Juan Mata.
The Spaniard was cautioned after he prevented Darren Fletcher from taking a quick free-kick and then wildly kicked out at the same player just three minutes later.
United ultimately went on to lose the match 1-0, meaning their faint hopes of achieving a top four finish were made even more unrealistic.
And his manager Louis van Gaal was far from impressed with his midfielder believing that the incident changed the course of the match.
“The first was a stupid yellow card. You know it is a yellow card in advance. As a player you have to know when you have a yellow card,” he told reporters after the match.
“You have to take care of that. You can always get a yellow card and then it is a red card.
"It is difficult to create chances with ten against 11. So I think the decision was for us the turning point in the match,” he added.
Lost touch with top four
The defeat ended the club’s four match winning run and saw them slip to sixth, three points behind Manchester City having played a game more.
Van Gaal also feared that playing with ten men for 64 minutes could have some effect ahead of their Europa League clash with Liverpool on Thursday.
“We lost and you lose contact with the first four or five,” he said.
“This match has also an influence on the next match so for us it is very bad, a bad moment.”
United’s eighth league loss of the season will create further speculation surrounding the future of their manager.
It appears inevitable that Jose Mourinho will replace him at the end of the season, especially if they fail to achieve a top four finish.
But Van Gaal can still salvage something from their disappointing campaign. They are in the quarter-final of the FA Cup, where they host West Ham next weekend in between the two legs against Liverpool in the Europa League last-16.
Was Juan Mata to blame for Manchester United's defeat against West Brom? Let us know in the comments box below!
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