Paul Pogba received a straight red card in Manchester United's 3-1 victory over Arsenal last weekend. The French midfielder was dismissed by referee Andre Marriner for a tackle on Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin where Pogba appeared to stamp down on the back of Bellerin's knee.
It was a polarising decision where fans and commentators debated over whether Pogba meant to catch Bellerin. While it may have been reckless, others have commented on the unnatural position Bellerin took before the challenge was made.
While a majority would probably agree that Marriner was right to send Pogba off, one journalist has jumped to the defence of Pogba. The Daily Mail's Martin Samuel argues that Pogba should not have been sent off for that challenge.
Samuel believe there was nothing malicious in Pogba's attempt for the ball: "What happened seemed as much a freak accident as an attempt to hurt an opponent. It didn’t merit a straight red with the additional suspension that results. A yellow, yes. An orange, maybe, if such a thing existed. But a straight red? That seems harsh."
In fact, Samuel argues that Bellerin is at fault for the collision. "In real time, Pogba is stretching to get a touch on a loose ball and Bellerin is — well, who knows what Bellerin is doing? He’s on his knees, his trailing leg extends behind him, it is not so much a tackle as a contortion. He looks like he’s trying to build the base of a gymnastic pyramid."
On the opposing side of the argument, former referee Graham Poll argues that that the challenge was a clear red. "I’m staggered that any experienced football watcher could suggest that the challenge should not have warranted a red card," said Poll.
"Remember that ‘intent’ is no longer required unless for handball. Pogba gets none of the ball and lands his studs on Bellerin’s leg, clearly endangering his safety."
Pogba has recently returned to the Man Utsside after a spell on the sidelines. Now, he will miss three games through suspension. Pogba will miss United's clashes with Bournemouth, West Brom and most importantly the Manchester derby.