Declan Rice was fairly critical of West Ham teammate Arthur Masuaku after being asked about the defender’s sending off against Aston Villa during Sky Sports’s post-match coverage of the game (broadcast on 16/9 from 22:00).
The Hammers managed to secure a point from their trip to Villa Park. But they needed to step up for the final 23 minutes after Masuaku was shown a second yellow card.
The left-back was dismissed after a clash with Ahmed Elmohamady. And after the game, Rice – who had not seen a replay of the incident – suggested that it was not a challenge that he should have made.
“To be fair, I just said to Arthur then, ‘what are you doing?’ And he looked at me and said it wasn’t a foul,” he told Sky Sports. “I haven’t seen it yet, but, he was already on a yellow. So I’ve got to say that when you’re on a yellow, especially with VAR now, you’ve got to be careful.
“You can’t be making silly challenges because ultimately that could have cost us tonight. But Arthur’s been excellent since he’s come back into the team.”
In fairness to Masuaku, it looked to be an incredibly harsh second yellow. There appeared to be almost no contact with Elmohamady, and Manuel Pellegrini may be extremely frustrated that he cannot appeal the decision with Masuaku being sent off for a second yellow.
It would be no surprise if Rice has a lot more sympathy for his teammate once he sees the challenge back. But the midfielder also makes a very valid point.
Masuaku did leave the referee with a decision to make. The contact was definitely minimal, but, given the referee’s view, you could understand why he was shown a second yellow as Masuaku did appear to move towards Elmohamady.
It should not have been a second yellow, so it is perhaps harsh to be critical. But you can also see why Rice was disappointed when the game was in the balance.