[Videos] Top 5: Crazy Red Cards Featuring Van Persie, Hazard & More

By on April 3, 2013

After seeing West Brom’s Youssouf Mulumbu given his marching orders in the 3-1 defeat away to West Ham last weekend, for what was nothing short of playground petulance in the face of expected frustration, it evoked memories of other bizarre red cards the Premier League has encountered in the recent past.

Feeling what looked like a small tug on the midfielder’s arm, Mulumbu proceeded to grab the ball and smash it into the bewildered Gary O’Neil’s leg with all the subtlety of a ticked off rhino. It was a sight best left at home, and Andre Marriner ejected the Togolese international with a straight red, where it would have been just as appropriate to send him to the naughty step.

It was unprofessional to say the least, and Mulumbu’s behavior would have been the rotten cherry on top for beaten West Brom coach, Steve Clarke.

Here is a short collection of other strange red cards, ranging from the senseless to the downright strange. Football fans love a bit of controversy, and these examples certainly had tongues wagging:

5. Arsene Wenger – Man Utd 2-1 Arsenal – Premier League – 29th August 2009

A grand mess from start to finish, Arsene Wenger’s ‘red’ card gets an honorary mention in this list, rolling in at number five, due to its absurdity.

Having just seen Robin Van Persie’s effort ruled out for offside in the dying stages, Wenger lost his trademark cool and vented his frustration on the nearest, kickable object: a water bottle. After giving it a good thump, a pedantic fourth official thought it prudent to inform the referee of the Arsenal boss’ tantrum, and have him sent to the stands.

Although certainly not the first time a manger has been ‘sent off’, this will forever be a definitive example due to Wenger’s showmanship in the face of the ludicrous. After stumbling over the occupants of the Arsenal dugout, the wizened Frenchman found himself stood on a podium surrounded by baying Utd fans. And there he stood, arms held wide, looking at the referee with a combination of bewilderment and disbelief.

A truly farcical spectacle, Wenger was issued an apology by Premier League referees chief Keith Hackett, but Wenger’s cool demeanor when faced with unnecessary humiliation will be remembered for many years.

4. Arjen Robben – Sunderland 1-2 Chelsea – Premier League – 15th January 2006

Robben’s red card in this fixture falls under the ‘stupid’ category, but only because of the Dutchman’s failure to remember the rules of the game, however petty they may be.

After scoring Chelsea’s winning goal in this hard fought fixture, the winger saw his emotions get the better of him, and threw himself at the traveling Blues’ fans to celebrate in style.

Interaction with the crowd is technically a bookable offence, and unfortunately for the already yellow-carded flyer, referee Chris Foy took exception to Robben’s over-exuberance, and brandished the second yellow, ensuring Chelsea’s original joy quickly melted into disbelief.

The Blues managed to hold on for the remaining 20, earning another victory on the way to retaining their Premier League crown; but Jose Mourinho said Robben will remember, ‘for the rest of his career’, this small but crucial rule which almost cost his side dearly.

3. Robin Van Persie – Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal – Champions League – 8th March 2011


Arsene Wenger likes a good moan; be it about an untimely spate of injuries that crippled his side, an offside call or two, and of course, a red card decision. Robin van Persie’s sending off against the mighty Barca in the 2011 Champions League last-16 clash is a perfect example, and one that we can all sympathise with.

With almost an hour gone, and the tie so finely balanced, Van Persie found himself on the end of a lofted through ball, but shot wide on his weaker foot. Turning back with a frustrated grimace etched on his face, he was greeted with a second yellow and therefore red card held aloft by Swiss ref, Massimo Busacca.

The Dutchman had been judged to have kicked the ball away in an effort to time-waste. With more than 30 minutes to play in the game, this idea can be comfortably thrown out.

Van Persie stood aghast as his teammates surrounded the blinkered ref, before he too began to prostrate in the face of the man who had effectively ruined the whole tie for fans and neutrals alike.

These sentiments were patronisingly echoed by Wenger after the game, who saw his Arsenal side buckle under the might of Barca, and the huge weight of injustice they felt after their Captain and talisman had been cruelly removed from the equation.

2. Eden Hazard – Swansea 0-0 Chelsea – Capital One Cup – 23rd January 2013

Quite unbelievable scenes as Chelsea were knocked out of this year’s Capital One Cup by eventual winners, Swansea, and it was not the result that was shocking.

Belgian whiz kid, Eden Hazard, did the unthinkable and kicked a Swansea ball-boy in the ribs while wrestling a ball from his grasp. His actions earned him a red card, complete annihilation in the press, and a concrete place on this list of bizarre red cards.

The decidedly ‘Machiavellian’ ball boy had dug his own grave before the game, tweeting that he was the ‘King of timewasting’ for the Swans. Any lasting sympathy for the 17 year-old was removed after this detail was revealed, and his rolling and wincing at the small poke delivered by Hazard would have made the most ‘expert’ of play actors proud.

Hazard wanted so desperately to salvage the tie for the Blues, but his actions were completely without thought, and he is very lucky this incident hasn’t put a permanent stain on his reputation.

1. Kieran Dyer/Lee Bowyer – Aston Villa 3-0 Newcastle – Premier League – 2nd April 2005

Due to its timing, you would have been forgiven for thinking that Newcastle were playing an April Fool’s prank on the world of football. But, unfortunately for everyone involved, it was no prank and Newcastle were the victims of an unprecedented loss of control from two of their stars.

Off the ball, away from the other players, and completely out of their minds, Bowyer and Dyer decided to air their grievances like a pair of troglodytes. Bowyer was dragged away, his shirt torn to shreds, and with his veins in his forehead about to rupture with rage; Dyer would have been thankful for being taken away from the man, who was primed to rip him apart.

Atrocious behavior, worthy of any hall of shame, both were red carded, and handed bans and fines. It is agreed that Bowyer was chief culprit, but either way, this was bizarre, thoughtless, and arguably the strangest red card the EPL has seen in recent memory.

Extra Time: Ronaldinho and the flash cards

A bonus mention for Brazilian legend, Ronaldinho, who almost became unstuck by a totally unexpected red card…

Are there any I’ve missed? Any you think deserve a place on this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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