There can be little more infuriating for a manager than sending a player on with the potential to turn a game on its head only to see said player back in the changing room just moments later.
That is what Brendan Rodgers had to endure this weekend after Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was sent off just 38 seconds after entering the fray when his stamp on Manchester United’s Ander Herrera earned him a straight red.
Gerrard was quick to offer an unreserved apology to his team-mates, Rodgers and “most importantly” the Liverpool fans but that won’t make up for losing his final game against the Red Devils in such circumstances.
Gerrard’s sending off has been the talking point of football since Sunday afternoon and got the Ladbrokes News team thinking … is it the silliest red card of the season so far?
Here are some worthy contenders for that unwanted title – have a read and vote using the poll below.
Steven Gerrard – Liverpool v Manchester United
Gerrard simply came into this already-fiery encounter too hyped up. He wasted no time in clattering Juan Mata – albeit in a fair challenge – but moments later lashed out at Herrera and was given his marching orders, ultimately helping United open up a five-point gap over their nearest rivals for a Champions League berth.
Angel Di Maria – Manchester United v Arsenal
United’s dwindling hopes of winning any silverware this term were dealt a huge blow when the Premier League’s most expensive player ever was sent packing in the most avoidable of circumstances.
The Argetntine picked up a caution for diving – an offence worthy of a week’s wages in Ladbrokes News’ eyes – and then picked up a second yellow for pulling referee Michael Oliver’s shirt!
Shab Khan – Worcester City v Stockport
This sending off was met with plenty of chortles on social media and got the inevitable WWE commentator treatment but can you imagine the furore if a top flight player had pulled off this move?
Khan was backed by manager Carl Heeley, who claimed his player reacted to “extreme provocation” – and there is no doubt he was subjected to a filthy challenge – but players should be able to show more restraint – even in the Conference North.
Matt McClure –Tranmere v Wycombe
Wanderers striker McClure’s red card may not have affected the overall result – with the Adams Park outfit beating Rovers 2-1 on the day – but his cameo is almost the prototype for Gerrard’s dismissal at the weekend.
The forward replaced Sam Saunders after 67 minutes but just 70 seconds later – only 3.7 seconds of which was actual game time – was taking an early bath after being judged to have used his elbow in an aerial challenge with Tranmere’s Adam Dugdale.
James Vaughan – Huddersfield Town v Norwich
While stamps and elbows may make a manager’s blood boil, seeing a player sent off for dissent or overzealous celebration must be as bad as it gets.
Huddersfield’s Vaughan is the latest to see red for removing his shirt after firing what he thought was the winner against his former club. Would the Canaries have been able to secure a 2-2 draw had he remained on the field? We’ll never know!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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