Jeff Stelling and Phil Thompson clashed over Mike Dean’s decision to send Arthur Masuaku off in the 0-0 draw with Aston Villa.
Thompson insisted that the left-back was right to receive his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card for bringing down Ahmed Elmohamady but Stelling was having none of it.
“Masuaku, two yellows, I think they were right,” stated Thompson on Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports News, 13:34, Saturday, September 21st).
Stelling loudly responded: “No they weren’t” before explaining why he believes Masuaku shouldn’t have seen red for Aston Villa.
“The second booking there was no contact whatsoever, you should be VAR! No contact Thompson, zilch contact.”
However, Thompson wasn’t willing to change his mind on Dean’s decision and insisted Masuaku shouldn’t have remained on the pitch.
“He knows what he is doing!” said Thompson.
“Look, watch, he’s been done, he clips him slightly then puts his arm out to stop, it’s a yellow.”
Stelling is wrong to say that Masuaku made no contact with Elmohamady, as he did catch him, but the contact was so minimal there is no way the left-back should have picked up his second yellow card in that moment. However, Stelling is still right to argue that Masuaku’s red card was harsh to say the least as if those type of fouls are worthy of bookings, then not many games are going to see 22 players stay on the pitch. Yet Dean’s decision to send off Masuaku can’t be overturned, as you can’t appeal a red card that is a result of two bookings, and Manuel Pellegrini will now have to find a way to cope without the 25-year-old against Manchester United on Sunday. Masuaku has been in wonderful form this season as he has looked a more reliable presence at the back. The left-back has averaged a rating of 7.31 across his four league outings, registered 1.5 interceptions per game on average, made a staggering four tackles per match on average and if that wasn’t enough, he has already racked up an assist this season (Source: WhoScored).