Arsenal player ratings: Luiz’s brainless foul sees him sent off before Leno’s red card makes things worse in Wolves loss

ARSENAL had an absolute nightmare at Molineux as David Luiz and Bernd Leno were both sent-off in a 2-1 defeat for the Gunners.

Nicolas Pepe was their best player having put the North Londoners 1-0 up but Luiz lost his head and handed the home side a way back in on the stroke of half-time.

David Luiz saw red for a clumsy challenge on Willian Jose

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David Luiz saw red for a clumsy challenge on Willian JoseCredit: Reuters

An action packed first-half saw Bukayo Saka’s goal chalked off because Alexandre Lacazette was offside in the build up before Nicolas Pepe scored an outstanding opener on 32 minutes after winning the ball back deep inside Wolves’ half.

Arsenal deserved their lead as half-time approached before Luiz stupidly nicked Willian Jose as he was bearing down on goal.

Craig Pawson pointed to the spot, sent Luiz off and Ruben Neves smashed the resulting pen into the top right corner just seconds before the ref blew for half-time.

And things went from bad to worse for the North Londoners when Joao Moutinho hit an absolute rocket of a right-foot drive from all of 30 yards which rifled in off the left-hand post on 49 minutes.

Then things somehow went from worse to downright abysmal for Arteta on 72 minutes as Leno rushed outside his box to meet a long ball, misjudged the bounce on the wet skiddy surface and instinctively punched it. Cue red card No 2.

Arsenal did well not to capitulate and keep it at 2-1 but it was a poor defeat.

Here’s what SunSport’s William Pugh thought of the Gunners’ individual performances.

Bernd Leno was sent off on 72 minutes

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Bernd Leno was sent off on 72 minutesCredit: EPA
The German punched the ball outside the box

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The German punched the ball outside the boxCredit: supplied by Pixel8000

BERND LENO – 4/10

Solid save from Nelson Semedo’s long range effort after 22 minutes.

Could do nothing with Neves’ perfectly placed penalty or Moutinho’s wonder strike.

Zippy bounce saw his natural instinct kick in as his fist connected with the waist-high ball to compound matters for his team. Can’t be too hard on him.

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Full time stats from Molineux
Full time stats from Molineux
Joao Moutinho scored one of the goals of the season

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Joao Moutinho scored one of the goals of the seasonCredit: Kevin Quigley-The Daily Mail
Ruben Neves sent Bernd Leno the wrong way from the spot

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Ruben Neves sent Bernd Leno the wrong way from the spotCredit: Kevin Quigley-The Daily Mail

HECTOR BELLERIN – 5

Very quiet night. Not heavily involved. Couple of probing runs as Arsenal chased an equaliser.

Nothing special, nothing awful. Earned his money.

ROB HOLDING – 6

Dealt with Wolves’ limited attacking threat before the break.

Stunned but helpless for the home side’s goals either side of half-time but performed well to keep Wolves at bay alongside Gabriel in the second-half.

DAVID LUIZ – 3

Brainless challenge on the stroke of half-time saw him sent off and Wolves pull level through Raul Neves’ emphatic resulting penalty.

Had looked fairly solid until that point but a totally unnecessary trademark ‘head’s gone’ moment saw his team’s excellent first-half work undone in a flash.

The Brazilian saw red and gave away a penalty

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The Brazilian saw red and gave away a penaltyCredit: PA:Press Association
Luiz has been sent off three times for the Gunners since signing in 2019

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Luiz has been sent off three times for the Gunners since signing in 2019Credit: Getty Images – Getty

CEDRIC – 5

Looked a little out of his depth in an unfamiliar left-back role but didn’t commit any heinous mistakes.

Worked hard defensively and attacked when he could.

GRANIT XHAKA – 5

Underwhelming.

Booked for a dopey trip on the hour mark. Another bemusing performance.

This picture about sums up Xhaka's contribution

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This picture about sums up Xhaka’s contributionCredit: PA:Press Association
Thomas Partey did not impact the game as much as Mikel Arteta would have liked

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Thomas Partey did not impact the game as much as Mikel Arteta would have likedCredit: PA:Press Association

THOMAS PARTEY – 5 (subbed, 74mins)

Booked for a cynical foul on Adama Traore as he tried to break out for the home side.

Looked a little rusty when on the ball or joining in with attacks.

BUKAYO SAKA – 7

Came out the blocks at 1,000mph. Tidy right-footed finish from the edge of the box after ten minutes but unfortunate to see it disallowed for offside.

Tried his best to make something happen amid the madness for the remainder.

Bukayo Saka had an early goal disallowed

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Bukayo Saka had an early goal disallowedCredit: Kevin Quigley-The Daily Mail

EMILE SMITH ROWE – 5

Relatively ineffective after strong recent form. Was the quietest of Arsenal’s attacking quartet in the first-half.

Surprised to see Lacazette subbed instead of him at half-time.

NICOLAS PEPE – 8 (subbed, 60mins)

Wonderful strike to put the Gunners 1-0 up just past the half hour mark.

Showed grit and desire to win the ball back off Wolves inside their own half before somehow nutmegging two defenders and bending a delightful right-footed effort into the top right corner.

Can feel harshly treated to have been subbed when he was as he looked like Arsenal’s most dangerous player.

Nicolas Pepe showed real desire to score the opening goal

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Nicolas Pepe showed real desire to score the opening goalCredit: Getty Images – Getty

ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE – 7 (subbed half-time)

Set up Saka for what looked like a classy opener but the Frenchman was offside in the build up.

Worked hard and his centre-forward play – holding the ball up and linking up with the midfielders – was decent.

Unfortunate to be hooked at the break as part of the re-shuffle after Luiz’s red.

Alexandre Lacazette played well in the first-half and was unlucky to be subbed at half-time

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Alexandre Lacazette played well in the first-half and was unlucky to be subbed at half-timeCredit: Reuters

Subs

Gabriel (replaced Lacazette) – 7

Formed an almost instant partnership with Holding after coming on at half-time.

Was in the right place to produce some vital tackles and blocks as Wolves went for the jugular.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (replaced Pepe) – 4

Offered nothing and touched looked off.

But can be forgiven given his side were a man and then two men down.

Alex Runarsson (replaced Partey) – 7

Made a solid diving save just minutes after being thrusted into the action.

Was equal to it again with his legs soon after and put a delightful ball into the box at the death as the Gunners chased an unlikely leveller.

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