It had been a good hour of football, sure Spurs were down, but Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal were having a good derby until Anthony Taylor lost the plot.
Maybe Tottenham would never win Saturday’s north London derby, and perhaps they would never come back from the early second-half calamity that handed Gabriel Jesus and Arsenal their second goal. However, if the was ever going to be anything for Tottenham in the NLD, that chance disappeared as Taylor ran across the field to give an inexplicable Emerson Royal red card.
Dumb foul, but never a red for Tottenham defender
It was a lazy, dumb foul with a hint of frustration, but the tackle into the ankle of Gabriel Martinelli from Royal was not significantly different from many of the dozen fouls called to that point in the game. Martinelli went down hard and made an authentic meal of the foul as the linesman’s flag went up.
As Tottenham players protested to Martinelli, calling for him to get off the ground, overcame Taylor, reaching to his top pocket and pulling the red, showing it to the crowd of players as if he did not even know who committed the foul as the announcers exclaimed that Taylor had shown red.
It was certainly not the first missed call by Taylor, who allowed Martin Ødegaard to get away with a clear shirt pull on Son, which impeded a Spurs break. Taylor did play the ‘advantage’ in that situation, but the game rules say Ødegaard should have been booked, yet he never was.
Even on the Gabriel penalty on Richarlison, Taylor had to think long and hard about a strong cold foul before he blew the whistle and wearily pointed to the spot. It was not a call Taylor wanted to make, but he did not want VAR calling him out, so he pointed to the spot.
Ultimately, the penalty on Gabriel in the box was blatant, and so was the uncardedØdegaard foul, but the red card on Emerson was not.
Maybe Tottenham did not deserve to win this edition of the derby, but we will never know whether or not they could have won after Taylor ruined an excellent game of football.
Now Spurs enter a big run of games down a man for the next three; we can only hope this is not a harbinger of things to come.