Tuesday 4 December 2012

Referee Mark Clattenburg Back In Command Part 1 of 2

The following incidents occurred during the EPL match between Arsenal and Swansea on Saturday 1 December 2012. The match finished 0—2, with 1YC.

This was Referee Mark Clattenburg's first match back in the middle following his forced 4-week hiatus due to Chelsea's poor and pathetic allegation that he used racist and 'inappropriate language' to Chelsea players in November's match against Manchester United. Clattenburg produced a commanding performance.

Incident One: Foul Identification

In the 5', Clattenburg showed he was still sharp and up to speed with the EPL as he spotted a foul by Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen (red 5) on Swansea attacker Michu (white 9). Here are the freeze frames:

Referee Clattenburg had to see through some players from about 20 yards away

Whether this tackle is considered careless or reckless depends on the standard imposed by the match referee. We know the EPL is a physical league with many Referees permitting tough challenges. Furthermore, this challenge occurred in the 5' and many experienced defenders "test the water" in the opening minutes of a match with heavy tackles.

Incident Two: Clattenburg's Characteristic Cowboy Crouch

In the 14', Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny pulls off a double save and the ball goes out for a corner. Here are some freeze frames:

Clattenburg has put himself in the standard position, and with his characterisic legs apart as if straddling a horse. This is perhaps related to his Classic Cowboy Crouch when he performs his duties as an EAR (extra AR).

Plus there is a potential pun about "Being put straight back on the saddle" that may be lost on Clattenburg's employers who unfortunately did not give the positive impression that they were supporting him in the face of, and subsequent failure of, Chelsea's racism charge.

Incident Three: Obstructing An Opponent

In the 51' Arsenal attacker Gervinho plays a quick one—two but is obstructed by Swansea defender Chico Flores. Here are the freeze frames:

Replays suggest it was a foul, but since Clattenburg was very close to the play he immediately put his hands behind his back to communicate to everyone that, in the opinion of the Referee, there was no foul.

The incident occurred outside the penalty area, so if a foul was awarded it would have been a DFK just outside the box.

Incident Four: No Penalty Call

In the 71', Clattenburg makes an excellent decision when Arsenal attacker Olivier Giroud is suddenly put through on goal. Swansea defender Chico Flores makes a last-gasp tackle. Here are the freeze frames:

Giroud has green-tipped boots and Flores has white-tipped boots, which helps reviewers and assessors when watching replays!

Clattenburg acknowledges his AR2, since there is clear communication between them. AR2 probably assisted by saying something like "no foul" or "no penalty".

Arsene Wenger thinks "penalty"

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger appears mortified that nothing (no penalty, no red card) was given. From his view from the technical area (far away and possibly without the proper angle), it may have looked as though it was a foul.

This was a great call, and will be further mentioned when this post resumes in Part 2 of Referee Mark Clattenburg Back In Command.

Welcome back Clatts!

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