Yesterday’s game saw two red cards, with one being awarded to Villa midfielder Henri Lansbury for a ‘taking one for the team’ challenge on Middlesbrough midfielder Marvin Johnson to quell a potential counter attack.
Whilst there was no malice in the tackle, it was an undeniably reckless one that could have caused some damage if he had mistimed it. Lansbury launched into the tackle from behind, tripping Johnson with a kick to the shin. Initially, fans winced at the prospect of another horror tackle coming from a Villa player after the horrendous tackle that Neil Taylor committed on Seamus Coleman, but as Johnson rose fairly quickly from the challenge, there was a collective sigh of relief, before a sigh of disappointment as Lansbury was ushered off the pitch.
Lansbury’s tackle was something that’s seen week in, week out in the Premier League – perhaps not to the same level of rashness – but tackles to stop an encroaching attack. These usually receive a yellow card and the game continues, but this game was different.
The referee was looking for an excuse to level the game after Villa had dominated possession, attempts on goal and so forth, and Lansbury gave him the perfect opportunity.
On another day, with a different referee, Lansbury would have received a telling off and a yellow card – especially with Marvin Johnson rising to his feet almost straight away and confronting Lansbury about his tackle.
Whilst the tackle wasn’t exemplary, it wasn’t a horror tackle and wasn’t too dangerous considering it was a kick to the shin – whilst the payer receiving it was wearing shin pads – from behind. We’ve all seen worse.
In our opinion, the tackle was 100% a yellow card. The referee was right to book him, just chose the wrong colour card to level out a game that had been all Villa since Adama Traore had been sent off for Middlesbrough in the early reaches of the game.
Villa have since appealed the decision and the impending ban. Whilst we don’t agree with the outcome of Lansbury’s tackle, we think it might be good for him to spend some time on the sidelines to reflect on recent performances and allow a youngster like Jake Doyle-Hayes or Jordan Lyden to break into the first team.