Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher assesses whether Vladimir Coufal should have been sent off during West Ham’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal…
Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe fired Arsenal to a 2-0 victory over West Ham and into the top four of the Premier League, but it was a game not without its controversy.
The hammers were trailing when they were reduced to 10 men as Vladimir Coufal was sent off for bringing down Alexandre Lacazette, who saw his subsequent penalty saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
West Ham boss David Moyes had little sympathy for Coufal following the incident, saying: “For the red card, he does get the ball first, but I thought he should have got more of the ball. But his timing means he catches the top of the ball and follows through.
“I thought he should have got more of the ball. He should have tapped the ball away. The timing of it means he catches the top of the ball and followed through. I think that’s the reason the referee had to think about a decision.
“We made a mess of it to get to that point. I thought Vladimir could have got more of the ball. We gave the referee an opportunity to choose a decision.”
Should Coufal have seen red?
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Coufal should not have been sent off.
DERMOT SAYS: “For his first yellow card, it’s a flailing arm from Coufal into Kieran Tierney. That’s all it is but it’s a yellow card. That is not a red card as he doesn’t use his arm as a weapon. He doesn’t throw it back. So I think Anthony Taylor makes the right decision.
“For the second yellow card and therefore a red, it’s a massive controversial decision. It’s a very debateable decision and for me I feel he’s very, very unlucky to be giving the penalty away. What Anthony Taylor sees on the field, he sees Coufal get the top of the ball and the player then goes through and catches Lacazette on the shin.
“That’s what he sees and that’s what he makes his judgment on. I don’t think he sees that a) he gets the ball and b) he gets the ball a second time with his trailing leg, which is why the ball goes to the left. The referee thought this through and ran it through his mind.
“The VAR then looks at it [Peter Bankes], and he thinks that because Anthony Taylor has given the penalty, he also believes he’s got the top of the ball and then caught Lacazette. The VAR can’t then intervene and can’t turn it down.
“For me, it’s not a second yellow and therefore it’s not a red card. The reason I say that is because I’ve got the luxury of looking at the pictures. I thought the penalty was so dubious myself, that’s why I think it’s not a red card. The vagueness of the system is that once you’ve awarded the penalty, he’s got the perception that it’s a reckless challenge and therefore a second yellow card.
“Ultimately, he pays the price for the flailing arm on Tierney.”
Why didn’t Anthony Taylor go to the pitchside monitor?
DERMOT SAYS: “He can only go to the screen for the penalty judgement. He would have spoken to Peter Bankes about whether or not it was a penalty. They will have had this conversation and Anthony Taylor will have said that he felt it was a reckless challenge because he got the ball but he also took the player.
“The pictures do actually show that so you can’t turn that down. That is where the VAR backs off, and regarding the red card, VAR can’t intervene because the challenge was technically classed as a second yellow card. So the on-field decision has to stand.”