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WBA v Arsenal 21 November 2015 – The Match Officials. Beware the assistant refs!

West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal Saturday 21 November 2015 – The Match Officials

by Andrew Crawshaw


First here is the updated Table of Shame following the referee reviews of the Everton and Swansea games

Referee Review: Arsenal – Everton : the dead sparrow review Lee Mason in charge for this one.  58% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 78/22 and two wrong Important Decisions (Second yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goals).  In Min 77 Deulofeu should have been sent off for his second dive of the match (he wasn’t even given a yellow card for either his first in Min 45+1 or this his second), Minute 82 Mirallas fouled Bellerin in the penalty area but nothing awarded.

For the first time ever… Ref Review: Swansea – Arsenal and look – A major decision in Arsenal’s favour! A historic moment.  Kevin Friend in charge, 74% overall competence rating, bias against the two teams of 40/60 – Yes actually in favour of Arsenal! and one wrong Important decision, again in favour of Arsenal when in Minute 31 Mertesacker should have been penalised for handball and a Swansea penalty awarded.

Wrong Important Decisions Favouring Arsenal Favouring Opponents
2nd Yellow Cards 0 12
Red Cards 0 7
Penalties 1 9
Goals 0 3
Total 1 31
Possible Cost in Points 0 6


So after 11 matches the first wrong Important decision in favour of Arsenal, 31 now against and still nearly three a match against us.

On to this Saturday and we have:-

  • Referee – Mark Clattenberg
  • Assistants – S Beck and J Collin
  • Fourth Official – S Attwell

First time this year that Mr Clattenberg has been in charge of one of our games, For West Brom it will be the second visit as he was in charge when they lost at Chelsea in week 3.

Mr Beck is nearly a full time fixture with Mr Clattenberg having been paired 9 times out of 11 and Mr Collin is no stranger either with 7 out of 11.

Both assistants have ‘flags against them for their performance under Mr Clattenberg in the Spurs v City game where between them they should have spotted that two of the four Spurs goals and the sole City goals should have been ruled out for offside.  Let’s all hope for better on Saturday.

Last Season 2014-15 Mr Clattenberg was in charge of two games involving Arsenal, one at home and one away – exactly as it should be.  Interestingly Mr Beck was Assistant in both games and Mr Collin in one.

Here is the all-referee table for all decisions in Arsenal games last year

Referee Correct total Wrong total
Lee Mason 86.44% 13.56%
Moss 83.17% 16.83%
Pawson 80.82% 19.18%
Clattenberg 78.85% 21.15%
Oliver 78.18% 21.82%
Dowd 73.44% 26.56%
Taylor 72.88% 27.12%
Friend 70.59% 29.41%
Marriner 70.42% 29.58%
Jones 70.00% 30.00%
East 67.92% 32.08%
Dean 67.37% 32.63%
Atkinson 66.47% 33.53%

This shows Mr Clattenberg in fourth place with nearly 80% of all decisions correct but do these good numbers hide anything significant?

Ref Review : Arsenal – Man City

71% overall (weighted score), bias 73/27 and two wrong Important Decisions Min 45 Milner should have had a second yellow card (his first should have come in Min 18 but neither were given). In Min 76 Wilshere controlled the ball with his arm and should have had a red card.  I have this down as one point incorrectly gained by Arsenal.

Ref Review: Crystal Palace – Arsenal

80% overall (weighted), bias against the two teams 18/82 and two wrong important decisions.  In Min 2 Özil was called back for offside when he was 1m onside (I don’t know if the Assistant was Mr Beck or Mr Hussin, the second Assistant on duty that day).  He finished the ball into the net but it is not clear if the keeper had stopped playing with the raised flag.  In Min 3 Coquelin should have had a straight red card for a raised foot on Campbel.  I have this down as three points incorrectly gained by Arsenal.

If anything then last year Mr Clattenberg slightly favoured Arsenal as there is a case to say that poor decisions on his part assisted our results in both games, he certainly would have been justified in sending an Arsenal player off in each.

Looking back to 2013-14 where there are no formal referee reviews but here are links to Walter’s post game pieces.

Swansea v Arsenal 28 Sept 2013 (1 – 2) Now that was a real quality Saturday afternoon  Goals from Gnabry and Ramsey and some good keeping from Szcz who could do nothing about the Swansea goal and no mention at all of Mr Clattenberg which argues that he did his job in an efficient and un-noticeable way.

Arsenal v Southampton 23 Nov 2013 (2 – 0) Arsenal – Southampton, the now completed incomplete match report  Giroud nicking the ball off Boruc and scoring into an empty net after 22 min.  Southampton fouls on the border line between over-aggressive and within the law, Clattenberg letting it go most of the time.  Late on Arsenal rightly get a penalty when Fonte tries to swap shirts with Mertesacker as an Arsenal corner is taken.  Giroud sends Boruc the wrong way and Arsenal win 2 – 0.  No other mention of the referee so big call for Arsenal correct,  minor calls generally going to Southampton.

Arsenal v Man United 12 Feb 2014 (0 – 0) An expected result, now we have to start our final sprint  Vidic lucky not to be carded at least once for elbows and many minor decisions going United’s way but overall a game which we controlled but had no luck.  A game where is was vital for us not to lose more than needed to win.

Back one more year to 2012-13 and looking at the referee reviews from  Another season where we had him twice, There are also two reviewed West Brom games which I have included for completeness.

Match Review: Mark Clattenburg – Arsenal Vs Swansea City (0 – 2) [01/12/2012]

72% weighted overall, bias against the two teams 93/7 but no wrong Important Decisions

Match Review: Mark Clattenburg – Tottenham Hotspur Vs Arsenal (2 – 1) [03/03/2013]

85% overall, bias against the two teams 15/85 but again no wrong Important Decisions

Match Review: Mark Clattenburg – West Bromwich Albion Vs Manchester City (1 – 2) [20/10/2012]

88% overall score but bias 0/100.  No wrong Important Decisions

Match Review: Mark Clattenburg – West Bromwich Albion Vs Tottenham Hotspur (0 – 1) [03/02/2013] 88% overall score again, bias against the two teams 47/53 and no wrong Important Decisions.

Overall a year of really good refereeing, three scores of 85% or higher, no wrong Important Decisions.


  1. Mark Clattenberg is clearly one of the best referees in the PGMO and not one who Arsenal usually need to fear. When we lose with him in charge it is rarely as a result of him tilting the pitch in an overt way.
  2. His record on the Important Decisions is certainly better than most and even with these he has been known to give Arsenal the ‘benefit of doubt’. Mind you he has probably been reminded not to do this on Saturday!
  3. If West Brom commit a foul in their penalty area there is a real chance of a penalty being awarded to Arsenal and it’s not often I feel able to write that in a preview!
  4. The bias of wrong decisions in normal fouls is still likely to be predominantly in favour of West Brom though and the typical ‘Phantom’ fouls may still be called against Arsenal.
  5. The fact that we normally only have him two or three times a year is also significant and may indicate that he is less amenable to undue pressure from his bosses.
  6. I am hopeful that Mr Clattenberg will prove to be ‘invisible’ in this game refereeing fairly for both teams.


  • 20 November 1909: A 2-2 draw concluded a terrible opening to the season with just two wins and three draws in the first 14 games.  The result left Arsenal bottom of the 1st division, but with slightly better recent results than Tottenham and Bolton who were above them.
  • 20 November 1920: Arsenal score 4 for first time after the 1st world war beating Huddersfield 4-0.  Pagnam got two, within a run that gave him seven goals in four games.

Meanderings from the History Society….

Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed football, is now available on Kindle at £9.99.  For more details and to buy a copy please click here or go to Amazon Kindle and search for Woolwich Arsenal.




8 comments to WBA v Arsenal 21 November 2015 – The Match Officials. Beware the assistant refs!

  • Josif

    It’s ClattenbUrg, not ClattenbErg.

    I agree with another brilliant preview. MC is the best (not that his competition is either numerous or competent though).

  • Mandy Dodd

    We have The Clatt…..amazing, a rarity, just hope he is what he can be, a top ref…..rather than someone under orders

  • Well written review. I enjoyed reading this one. Seems we might expect to have a better outing than most with Mr. Clattenburg with the whistle.

    @Gord, I concur. Hearty congratulations to our own ‘Rambo’ Ramsey. Hope you and Coleen have given us a better warrior than Aaron, and endowed with cleverer feet capable of delivering loads of net-busting missiles. This one must be a gunner too….anyone?

  • shakabula gooner

    Rambo I, hearty congratulations on the arrival of Rambo II. 😉

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Is Mr Clantenburg a Gooner? I suspect he may be one. Not that he’s been taken sides with Arsenal whenever he has officiated in Arsenal games that makes me to have this suspicion. As it’s seen, he has done job very well in accordance with the rules&regulations guiding the game to the best of his knowledge and ability when he refereed Arsenal.
    This review has proved he has officiated in games that involved Arsenal fairly to both parties, and did not allow his likely being a Gooner to dictate to him his sence of judgements in his officiating duty. At the same time, Mr Clantenburg doesn’t look like a Ref’ that obeyed orders to do his bosses bidding as some referees have been noticed to have done in games. And a times clearly seen to have done against Arsenal. When it comes to suspecting of obeying the orders from above, the Goonership in Mr Clantenburg will not allow him to do that. I think we are safe in this match. Thank God for that.
    My hearty Congratulations to Aaron Ramsey on the arrival of his bouncing baby boy. I wish him and his wife a successful parental care of the boy.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think Clattenburg is a Newcastle supporter

  • finsbury

    Thank you for the preview.

    It is remarkable that this is the first time AFC have seen FIFA ref Clattenburg this season. I am glad you remark upon it. With such a shortage of officials too. Most odd. You’d think it’d be discussed on the 24/7 football broadcasts somewhere. But no.

    Clattenburg’s body language may make people laugh at times, that penalty he gave for Leicester against Utd made me laugh (was that call an error that resulted from him enjoying the absence of Lord Slurgus too much? Over compensation! Haha!).
    But he is clearly an official who deserves to be considered as a Referee and not one of Riley’s crows. That much is clear from his appointments of late. The smears against his name from those who get on so well with Riley’s crows (#CampaignagainstChelsea). Being banned by Riley for having hair whilst *Gollum Gollum* gets a pat on the back after his performance in Fulham. No opinions required here! Only observations.

    Something in my funny bone tells me that we won’t be seeing him for the City game! Hopefully I am mistaken (that is most certainly an opinion).

    Hopefully this Referee has a good game today. Up the Arsenal.