Alan Pardew felt that Francis Coquelin should have been given his marching orders by referee Lee Mason during Sunday afternoon’s game against Arsenal.
After seeing the combative central midfielder carded for a foul in the opening 45 minutes, Pardew was frustrated by Mason’s refusal to dismiss him for two further infringements, suggesting that Arsene Wenger’s decision to take him out of the game highlighted the referee’s mistake.
Speaking after the game, Pardew said:
“I had a chat with Lee in the tunnel and we agreed that he shouldn’t have been sent off – you don’t want that.
“I said that’s his last chance, he can’t afford too many other challenges, and he did one. Mason didn’t make the call, though.
“Our bench thought he should have gone. Their bench did too, so taking him off was a natural reaction. He should have been sent off.”
Whilst no one can be sure of how the game would have panned out had Coquelin left the field of play, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the Gunners losing a central midfielder for more than 45 minutes would have had an adverse effect on their chances of victory.
As it was, Wenger was able to hook him off the pitch before Mason did pull out the red card, keeping 11 players on the pitch and maintaining a platform upon which the Reds could secure a much-needed three points at Selhurst Park.
Of course, some will claim that it is simply a case of sour grapes from Pardew after a sixth home defeat in 11, but it must have been extremely frustrating to see a referee failing to dismiss a player who had seemingly already been given a final warning prior to his final offence.
Just as the sun will always rise in the east and set in the west, the “bigger” clubs in the country will always seem to get the rub of the green when it comes to debatable decisions. You’d think we’d be used to it by now.