Mikel Arteta admits he is “Out of ideas” about how to stop his Arsenal players from being sent off after Gabriel Martinelli was shown the club’s fourth red card of 2022.
The Gunners were able to hold on for the final 20 minutes at Wolves without Martinelli to win 1-0 and move into fifth place in the Premier League after top-four rivals Manchester United and Tottenham had dropped points earlier in the week.
Martinelli was sent off for two bookable offences in the same passage of play – shoving Daniel Podence as he took a throw-in and then barging over Chiquinho after Michael Oliver had played the advantage.
Arteta was bemused by Oliver’s decisionand later said he will seek talks over Arsenal’s treatment by referees this season, but he also made it clear his players need to avoid getting themselves into similar situations.
Asked how he planned to stop his players from being sent off, the Arsenal manager told BT Sport: “I have run out of ideas.
“To win four matches like that [after a red card] is extremely difficult. We know that and one of the main things we have to stop is that.”
“But today something that I have never seen in my career happened. I’m glad we managed to win the game. I’ve never seen something like it. The rules can say that probably it is possible. But you have to be very, very willing to do that.
“We need to play with 11 players in the final 16 games – that is going to be key to give us the best possible chance for us to win football matches.”
Speaking at his post-match news conference, Arteta added: “I’m not happy with the decisions we have had this season, but that is a discussion that I will have with the officials.
“I need an explanation with what happened today. Those discussions will happen soon.”
‘I am proud to be the coach of these guys’
Arsenal fought hard all game in what proved to be a scrappy affair at Molineux against a potential top-four rival, but they dug in to get their first win of the new year and Arteta was delighted with the performance.
“I am really happy with the result because it is a massive result for us away against a very good team that makes few errors and is very dangerous,” said Arteta.
“The red card changes the context. We had to dig in, show resilience, and we have defended the box really well.
“I keep telling you guys how close they are. I really mean it. Today was another example but there are so many. I am proud to be the coach of these players.”
‘Lage unhappy with ‘two strange decisions’
Arsenal defender Gabriel’s goal proved to be the difference at Molineux, but there were appeals from Wolves for it to be disallowed, the hosts claiming Alexandre Lacazette had fouled goalkeeper Jose Sa in the build-up.
They also felt hard done by when Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka headed it into his own net, but Raul Jimenez was ruled to have interfered with play from an offside position.
Lage felt his side did enough to deserve the three points, but were let down by the officiating.
“I think we were the better team, the tempo we put in the game was very good,” he told BT Sport.
“At the end we didn’t score, but I think we scored [the disallowed goal]. I think it was two strange decisions, both goals. It does not justify everything, because I think we created a lot of chances to score. But the situations it was very strange, especially our goal. We must move on and keep working as we are working.
“I saw. The image I think is clear. The striker kicked Jose Sa’s hand, and they move on, and they score after that. I think it is so clear, I don’t know if the situation went to VAR. It was a strange decision in my opinion.”