Boss Mikel Arteta has demanded an explanation for Gabriel Martinelli’s quickfire red card at Wolves and defended Arsenal’s disciplinary record.
The striker was sent off – the Gunners’ fourth red card in 2022 – for two yellow cards in a matter of seconds as Arteta’s side hung on to win 1-0 at Molineux.
Gabriel Magalhaes’ first-half strike moved the Gunners up to fifth in the Premier League table, a point behind West Ham with two games in hand.
Martinelli’s dismissal was the 15th under Arteta since he took charge in 2019, but the head coach insists they are not dirty and wants to know why they are falling foul of referees.
“It’s worrying,” he said. “The red card changed things. The red card was one you have to want to give.
“You ask me if I’m happy with the decisions we’ve had this season and that’s a conversation I will have with officials privately.
“I want explanations about VAR and what happened tonight. They are conversations that are going to happen very soon.
“Everyone says it is the most disciplined group they have seen in the last 10 to 15 years, but we are still getting red cards.
“I’ve never seen that (Martinelli’s red). I’ve been 18 years in this country and I’ve never seen something like it.
“I’m really happy with the result obviously. It was a massive result for us away at a good team that makes barely (any) errors and concedes very little.
“I keep telling you guys how close they are, how willing they are to defend their shirt.”
Defender Gabriel settled a bad-tempered game after 25 minutes.
Wolves failed to deal with Martinelli’s corner and, when Ben White nodded it back Jose Sa and Alexandre Lacazette collided, with the ball running to Gabriel to poke in his third goal of the season.
Marcal shot wide and Lacazette drilled at Sa, but there was never any real flow to the game.
Arsenal employed stalling tactics which enraged Molineux, with Gabriel booked for time-wasting with half-an-hour to go.
But their temperament ended up costing them when Martinelli was sent off with 21 minutes left.
First he shoved Daniel Podence as the Wolves man took a quick throw, but referee Michael Oliver played advantage, only for Martinelli to barge down Chiquinho as he ran for the area.
Oliver showed no hesitation in showing the striker two yellow cards.
Lacazette still wasted a golden chance when he curled wide after being sent clear down the left and Aaron Ramsdale turned Romain Saiss’ drive over.
Defeat kept Wolves eighth but they slipped five points behind the Gunners ahead of crucial games against other European contenders.
“It’s hard when you don’t get points and goals from this game,” said boss Bruno Lage, who revealed he lost Hwang Hee-chan to a back spasm before the game.
“They did everything I asked – they created chances, we had plenty of chances to score. It’s not new, especially at home, to have nights like this one – to keep playing, not score and they scored.
“The first half was a balanced game, but I said we were better and we had to keep believing if we came with the ambition to continue to do what we were doing.
“For the goal, I saw some contact with the goalkeeper in the six-yard box. I think the striker touches Jose, his foot on his hand, and in my opinion it’s a foul, but we cannot find that excuse.”