Gilberto started Arsenal’s game tonight against Blackburn, only to get sent off after fifteen minutes.
Gilberto clashed with Robbie Savage, who appeared to kick Gilberto twice, before Gilberto kicked back in frustration. Gilberto was shown a straight red car by Rob Styles, while Robbie Savage escaped with a yellow card. Commentators called the decision unfair on Gilberto – and I agree. By the book, it was a straight red card for Gilberto. But Robbie Savage was completely responsible for causing the reaction. He made two terrible lunges for the ball, both which should have received a yellow card each. Gilberto then lashed out at Savage, but received a red card for one foul. Savage flung himself on the floor like the Savage he is.
Arsenal went on to win the game 2-0, and Savage played like a girl. (Which is how he always plays.)
After the match, Arsene Wenger said he had spoken to Gilberto, who had said that he “did not make contact with Savage”. This is obviously not true, and if Gilberto claimed it, he is either lying, or being misquoted. Wenger called Gilberto “a very honest boy – a very honest man” – but despite Gilberto being hard done by, he has to be faulted for his lashing out at Savage, and certainly then saying that he did not.
Wenger said that it was very harsh on Gilberto to get sent off – and also that he will not appeal against the decision. This means that Gilberto will miss Arsenal’s next three games. They are against Manchester United, Tottenham and then Bolton. This is bad news for Arsenal, as these three teams are devilishly tricky. Flamini will have to step in for Gilberto while he is suspended.
A good Arsenal win marred by a bad day for Gilberto. At least Robbie Savage is having a worse day.
Edit: Wenger’s quotes have been published on Arsenal.com. They go like this:
on Gilberto’s red card…
“He will miss three matches. To me the red card looked harsh because the first foul was made by Savage. Gilberto reacted a bit too much because he was kicked after the referee had blown the whistle. Ideally he should not have reacted at all but he told me he didn’t touch Savage. There is not a lot we can do about it, we had to accept it and we gave the right response. We played 80 minutes with 10 men and still kept going forward every time we could.”
on a possible appeal against the sending off…
“Usually appeals don’t work when the referee has seen it so we could even get one game more! We don’t want to take that chance.”
on the ‘letter of the law’…
“I felt that Savage went in an aggressive way to Gilberto. I felt that if you send Gilberto off then you should send Savage off as well, although I need to see the incident again. The referee was very close to the action and decided to give Savage a yellow for the first foul, which he deserved. He applied the law to the letter, that means a red card for retaliation and a yellow for a bad foul, so he can defend his case. But in the spirit of the game I think both could have gone.”
Gilberto on the ball
Gilberto kicked by the Savage one
Gilberto kicks out at Savage
Gilberto is restrained by Mcartney after lashing out
Gilberto squares up to Savage after the girly-haired one gets up
Gilberto shown red
Red from a different angle
Gilberto being consoled by Henry after being sent off:
Gilberto walks to the stands