David Luiz’s sending off makes it three red cards in five Premier League games for Chelsea, and an even worse five red cards in nine matches in all non-friendly competitions. That three of those incidents have now come against Arsenal only adds to this strange streak, which has seen a fairly wide variety of yellow and red card-worthy offences — from Moses’s dive and Fabregas’s sarcastic clapping to Pedro’s tackling and Cahill and David Luiz’s rushes of blood — so in isolation, each incident can be understood and explained reasonably well. But put together, there could be cause for worry, though Antonio Conte tried to explain it away with just a bit of bad luck.
"Do you think we are becoming bad? For sure, it's strange, no? A strange situation. But in normal situations we have to improve. In tactical situations, physical situations, you need to try and improve. Also, you have to be more lucky in the future.
"I was a player and I think it can happen, this type of period, if you are not so lucky and receive red cards.
"In the end, we'll try to pay more attention in the future. I hope, also, to be more lucky with the refereeing decisions -- for us, and also for the opponents. Sometimes [this season] the opponents deserved a red card but, instead, they carry on playing with 11 men."
-Antonio Conte; source: ESPN
Certainly, we’ve seen the Cahill and David Luiz fouls go uncalled or not comparably punished in other instances. Similar tackles against Chelsea players from Eric Dier and Gana Gueye just this season only resulted in yellow cards, for example. Refereeing luck aside, Conte also pointed out — and perhaps rightly so — that David Luiz was pushed from behind by Alexis Sanchez, who isn’t the first “not that type of player” with a history of sneaky fouling.
If the first foul gets called, then the second one doesn’t matter, not that it excuses David losing control and going in way too high and way too strong on Kolasinac.
"You know very well that I don't like to comment on refereeing decisions. It is in the past. Now the only thing I can say is it is very important to see what happened before the David Luiz tackle.
“For sure, that was a foul [by Alexis Sanchez]. For sure. But, I repeat, the referee took this decision. If he stopped the play before, it wouldn't matter.”
-Antonio Conte; source: ESPN
Either way, David Luiz is now set to miss three game because of the straight red card — which essentially wipes away the earlier yellow for a bicycle kick in a crowd — so unless Chelsea appeal (an appeal which would be unlikely to succeed, to say the least), Andreas Christensen will have to deputize. Fortunately, the youngster has done well in his appearances so far this season, including in the win away to Spurs.
“Yes. Christensen is a very young player but I think he is a good player and I trust him. Now he has the possibility to play and now he has to prepare very well to play."
-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard
Time to shine, Andreas!