Ex-referee Mark Halsey has admitted that he has “doubts” over the red card that was given to Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno during Wolves’ 2-1 win against them on Tuesday night.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side came from behind to beat the Gunners who finished the game with nine men, after David Luiz was sent off during first-half stoppage time.
But Leno was dismissed after racing out his area to dispossess Adama Traore charging up the right-hand side, only for the ball to strike his hand which saw him given a straight red card.
Speaking exclusively to The Transfer Tavern, Halsey revealed his doubts about the decision, regarding whether the German shot-stopper was denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
“It’s not about the last man, we keep going ‘oh he’s the last man’, it’s nothing to do with that,” he said.
“It’s about did the player deny a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity. In those situations, the referee must consider the distance between the offence and the goal, the general direction of play, the likelihood of gaining and keeping control of the ball and the location and number of defenders around at that moment.
“The one part of that criteria I felt was in doubt was is he going to gain control of the ball? If you take Leno out of the picture and he misses that, on the wet and slippery surface, I think there’s a bit of doubt there whether he (Traore) would have gained control of the ball.”
Transfer Tavern Verdict
We have to agree with Halsey here. If Traore was barrelling down the middle of the pitch at the edge of the penalty box, then the red card would be unquestionable, but that wasn’t the case.
There were no guarantees from that position that Traore was going to score, due to the angle and where he would have ended up if Leno missed it. The Spaniard still would have had a lot to do to find the net from there.
Despite this, Wolves supporters won’t care one bit, as it was a huge win that pushed them far away from the relegation places and put a cork on their recent slump in form.
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