Arsenal star left Michael Oliver no choice after rash challenge argues former Premier League referee

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Granit Xhaka made it easy for Michael Oliver to send him off after his challenge on Diogo Jota in Thursday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg.

The Arsenal midfielder tried stretching to reach Andy Roberton’s long ball but only succeeded in clattering into the Liverpool attacker.

It’s not clear whether Oliver shows the red card for serious foul play or a denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity.

With Xhaka’s boot connecting into Jota’s chest you could argue the challenge is endangering the player’s safety.

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However, if it was DOGSO (Denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity), there is an element of doubt as to the likelihood of Jota keeping or gaining control of the ball, as his first touch bounces off his chest at pace as he is fouled.

Former Premier League and FIFA referee Mark Halsey is a columnist for

Either way, Xhaka forced Oliver into making a decision which, given the importance of the game, shows once again that the player should’ve known better.

It’s not the first time the former Arsenal captain has been a little rash in his decision making either.

In his stead, his Arsenal colleagues managed a superhuman effort to come away from Anfield without having conceded a goal.

Ben White was a deserved man of the match, though the eventual goalless draw was as much to do with Takumi Minamino’s miss as anything else.

More Stories Andrew Robertson Andy Robertson Ben White Diogo Jota Granit Xhaka jota Mikel Arteta Takumi Minamino


  1. To Arsenal will always be a red but to other teams it is a no foul especial against Arsenal.Thats how much Arsenal is hated among premier teams by referees.

  2. When one Crystal Palace Player ( I have forgotten his name ) nearly maim our player Bukayo Saka this season by literally packing his two legs from the ground no yellow card was given , never mind a red. With Arsenal , the rules are always observed to the letter . My problem with English Referees is their inconsistencies.

  3. It was a clear overreaction by Oliver ,he went for the ball below head height,if it had been at Hartlepool it would have been a yellow and free kick.But Liverpool get everything don’t they…or not as the result

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