'Craig Pawson would not have wanted to send off Luiz,' says former ref

Arsenal's David Luiz is shown a red card by referee Craig Pawson during the Premier League match at

Arsenal's David Luiz is shown a red card by referee Craig Pawson during the Premier League match at the Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton. Picture date: Tuesday February 2, 2021. - Credit: PA

The laws of the game left officials with no choice but to send David Luiz off, according to a former top-flight referee. 

Arsenal suffered a poor week in the Midlands after losing 2-1 at Molineux and 1-0 at Villa Park.

The latter game was a case of the better team won but the defeat against Nuno was down to the officiating.

Mikel Arteta’s side were well on top in Wolverhampton after going 1-0 up through a brilliant goal via Nicolas Pepe.

Willian José was clipped by the knee of David Luiz in the box. As he had made no attempt to play the ball, Luiz was sent off.

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Mark Halsey, a Premier League referee until 2013, said: “Craig Pawson would not have wanted to send off Luiz, but he had no choice.

"That is the law, but he had nowhere to go because of law 12 and denying a goal scoring opportunity.

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“I think that if there have been key incidents in the game – it does happen, I have been in that position – the delegate appointed by the Premier League should speak to the media about any key incidents.

“I don’t think that the referee should go because they aren’t media trained. You know what the media can do, they could crucify them.

“I’ve made wrong decisions in the past and it makes you feel sick. You sit there thinking how have I missed that? You start questioning yourself on every aspect of your performance.”

Referees are becoming "celebrities" themselves in the English game due to VAR and game changing decisions.

“The fans are very important. I think the supporters should be able to hear the conversation between the referee and the people at Stockley Park. Everybody can then know what's going on," said Halsey.

“Our officials have far too much workload on their hands. The MLS have got it on board, they use retired referees to do the VAR.

“Now all of a sudden, they’ve gone the other way in not getting involved. I have been very vocal in my newspaper articles about clear and obvious errors. It really isn't difficult to get it right.

“VAR is perfect for the game but only if it is implemented correctly. At the moment it is not. It is there for a clear and obvious error or if a serious incident is missed.”

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