Date: 11th March 2014 at 11:50am
Written by:

When Arsene played Bayern Munich in the first leg of the first knock out stage they did so with only ten men for much of the game after goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was sent off for being too close to Arjen Robben.

The incident actually prompted FIFA to take a look at the rules which as they currently stand are a three-pronged punishment for denying a goal scoring opportunity.

When these events occur in the penalty area the offending player is sent of for denying a goal scoring opportunity (despite the fact that the awarded penalty represents about the best goal scoring opportunity you can get), the fouled player is awarded a penalty and the offending player is subsequently suspended.

Arsenal have suffered at the hands of three referees in recent Champions League history and each time it cost us big.

The first was the sending off of Jens Lehmann in the 2006 Champions League final. Yes it was a foul outside the penalty area and on any other day the red card would have been justified, however a fraction of a second after the foul, Barca put the ball in the back of the net, nullifying the foul and the red card. Barca would have had their goal and the game would have continued 11 v 11.

Then in 2011 Robin van Persie was sent off at Camp Nou after getting a second yellow card for kicking the ball away after the ref had blown his whistle. That would have been all well and good had van Persie not kicked the ball away (he didn`t actually kick the ball away, he was taking a shot) less than a second after the ref blew his whistle.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has called for tonight`s referee to use his common sense and try and keep all 22 players on the pitch.

“We played now a few times with 10 men in Europe and under always very special circumstances, in the Champions League final [of 2006], now against Bayern [last month], at Barcelona [in 2011] when we were in a position to qualify. Said Le Boss

‘I hope tomorrow we will get a fair chance to play with 11 versus 11 until the end.”

‘I think you do not want players to stay on the pitch who deserve to be sent off but you do not as well the interests of the game to be killed for reasons that are a bit tricky. To find that kind of balance, the experience of the referees is important.”






Join The Vital Debate