Mikel Arteta has acknowledged that his team’s disciplinary record this season has cost points, and it’s something that needs to be addressed.
However, his view of some of the red cards issued to his players is mixed. He revealed conversations about moments of stupidity by Granit Xhaka and Nicolas Pepe for their sendings-off against Burnley and Leeds respectively, but in other instances he feels it’s the way certain moments in games are adjudged by officials.
The latest example of the latter came on Tuesday night when David Luiz was sent off against Wolves, a decision many Arsenal fans felt was harsh – even if it was the Brazilian’s third dismissal in a season and a half in red and white.
Asked if he was concerned about disciplinary matters at his pre-Aston Villa press conference today, the Arsenal boss said, “Well, when I was worried about the discipline it was on two occasions with Nico and with Granit.
“We should avoid that and we talked about it. But there are other ones that are moments in the game where in the split of a second you have to make a decision and then a referee has to make a decision as well.
“There is much less to control on our side there. What is clear is that when you have five red cards in this period, you are going to lose a lot of points.
“If we would have some of those points, we would be in a completely different position in the table, that’s for sure.
“There are no teams with five reds up there at the top, it doesn’t happen.”
In the Premier League this season, the Gunners have had five red cards: Bernd Leno and David Luiz against Wolves; Gabriel for two yellow cards against Southampton; Granit Xhaka against Burnley; and Nicolas Pepe at Leeds.
From those games, Arsenal have taken just 2 points from a possible 12, so it is something that has been costly.
Arteta also said he was hopeful an appeal over Luiz’s red would be successful, but that has to be weighed up against the risk of him becoming involved in yet another red card or penalty incident.
Let’s hope we can keep it 11 v 11 versus Villa on Saturday.