A red card for Olivier Giroud in Arsenal’s clash against Paris Saint-Germain means he will not play when Arsenal host FC Basel for their next Champions League group stage fixture. Arsene Wenger, who did not see the incident happen, had questioned Giroud and Marco Verratti about their altercation and advised them to “go see the referee”.
“The ball was on the other side, I did not see what happened,” Arsene Wenger told reporters at the post-match conference (via Arsenal.com).
“I think the first yellow card [for Giroud] was very harsh already, it wasn’t a foul. The second, he tells me he has done nothing at all and Olivier is honest so I believe him.
“And Verratti told me as well that he has done nothing, so I said look, ‘go together to see the referee and tell him you did nothing.”
The French international was also sent off in Arsenal’s opening tie against Dinamo Zagreb last year in the Champions League and the striker was unable to avoid similar disciplinary problems on Tuesday night. However, looking at the incident proves the 29-year-old was only a victim in the entire episode.
Giroud was shoved twice by defender Marquinhos when he was having what seemed to be only a harmless argument with Verratti. The referee, Viktor Kassai dealt with the incident by handing red cards to both Giroud and Verratti despite the two proclaiming their innocence.
“I’d already been booked so didn’t want to make trouble,” said Giroud as reported by The Mirror.
“I made a small challenge on Verratti but he threw himself on to the ground.
“I didn’t understand, so I asked him, “what are you doing?”, then he got up quickly and Marquinhos pushed me from behind.
“I don’t know how Verratti fell over a second time. I didn’t go looking for trouble so it’s frustrating.
“I think that the referee was tricked. Verratti was also on a yellow, so I was surprised by his behaviour.”
To the striker’s dismay, Arsenal cannot appeal against Giroud’s one-game batch since UEFA regulations state bookings and dismissals can only be appealed if “the referee’s error was to mistake the identity of the player.”
Since there was no such error, the Gunners can do nothing but face Basel without Giroud’s heading ability that could have helped the Gunners score against their deep-lying defence.