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July 2021

Tottenham v Arsenal: what can we expect from the ref?

By Walter Broeckx

The ref for this important NLD is Mark Clattenburg.

Mark Clattenburg is 37 years young, was born in Consett and I had to look it up on the internet and that is some way up North in the North East to be precise. [In case you are new to this site, Walter is resident in Belgium, and is only half way through his “Out of the way places in England” course, provided by the senior management of Untold. – Ed-]

He has been a PL referee since 2004 and is listed as a Fifa ref since 2006.

According to some sources he is a Newcastle supporter and therefore doesn’t do games involving Newcastle and Sunderland.  As Newcastle is not directly involved in the battle for CL spots we can expect his alliance with Newcastle to have no reasons to favour one or the other team.

Before we move on to the stats let’s look at a few key incidents in his career that raised some controversy. Some will remember the MU – Totts game in 2005 when MU keeper Carroll fumbled a ball over his own goal line when a long distance shot was made.

Clattenburg didn’t give a goal to the Totts even though the ball was way over the goal line. In my humble opinion one cannot blame the ref for such an incident as it has to be the assistant who has to follow this and try to look if the ball has gone in or not.

Another incident with those two teams was when he gave a goal to MU when Nani tapped in when the rest thought play was stopped for a clear previous foul. To the letter of the law Clattenburg was right as he didn’t stop the game so players should have continued. But even I think he should have given the previous foul. So I can understand the Tottenham grief about that.

We also remember this season the controversial racism/sending off diving players incident between Chelsea and sorry I but can’t help it MU again. He was cleared for the racism accusation and my sources within the English game (us referees do talk to each other) made it very clear to me that there is no doubt he isn’t racist.

Let me say however that the sending off was rather harsh in my opinion. The good thing though is MU is not to be seen this coming weekend. Tottenham, of course, are.

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Now let us look at the stats.

Arsenal in the PL.

Arsenal won draw lost
Total PL 53,45% 26,60% 19,95%

Already a bit familiar with these of course but for new people around we keep on giving them. This is based on 20 years worth of PL games.  And in a graphic this looks like this

But now the new thing. How did Arsenal do under Clattenburg? The numbers are based on 24 games in total:

Clattenburg won draw lost
Total 70,83% 4,17% 25,00%

And in graphic this looks like this

So this looks a rather interesting score that we have achieved under Clattenburg. We hardly had any draws under him. Only 1 in 24 games. And for the rest more wins that usual but also more losses than usual.  One could say we owe him or he owes us a few draws in the near future.

But all in all a rather promising score under Clattenburg but also rather black and white score (can I use this with Clattenburg in the light of the Chelsea accusations?): either we win or we lose.

Let us move over to the other side of what was not that long ago Middlesex.

The overall statts of the totts in the PL look like this:

Totts won draw lost
Total PL 38,52% 26,35% 35,13%

And in a graphic this looks like this

And when they have Clattenburg in charge the stats based on 25 games in total look like this…

Clattenburg won draw lost
Total 44,00% 24,00% 32,00%

And in a graphic this looks like this

So we also see that the totts are having more wins than in general but not by a big margin. It all is rather close to their overall average numbers.  And they had a few bad experiences in the past as described above.

The next point is the referee review of last season.  His personal score can be found here . In short in case you don’t want to click the link: a high competency score, a relative low home bias score, and in 70% of his games and that included 2 Arsenal games we almost found no real bias at all. In fact one number stood out a bit and that was the biggest bias in favour of Manchester United.  So if he is true to his past we should have an unbiased ref in this game.

But I also want to point at our election of the best referee of last season based on the numbers we found and this can be found here . And again for those not wanting to click the link I will reveal to you that our referee reviewers added all the numbers together and we came to the conclusion that he was the best ref in the PL in the games we reviewed last season.

Let us look at his past in NLD games.

15/09/2003 : Totts – Arsenal 1-3

31/10/2009 : Arsenal – Totts 3-0

14/04/2010: Totts – Arsenal 2-1

From that last game only 1 player remains at Arsenal in the starting line up and that is Vermaelen who had to get off with in injury early in the game. Amazing how we have a completely new team in less than 3 years time. I didn’t count Sagna as he was ruled out by Wenger and that would have been only 2 players from the starting line up that day.

And that’s all I have to tell you about the ref who will be in charge next Sunday.

But I do want to end with another thought of the PGMOL. People know that I have been attacking them and their head Mike Riley on more than one occasion. And don’t worry Mike, I will be on your tail and will attack you as usual in the future.

But being a follower of the principle that if something is good we should also mention it, I think we can only be satisfied with this appointment. Not as much for the win stats we have under him, but for the fact that I think that he is a good ref with a good eye for the fouls and also for the dives (be warned some of you) but he also is in general one of those refs where you feel that if he makes a mistake it is an honest mistake.

Of course we will crucify the ref and Riley if his mistakes let the game turn against Arsenal, don’t worry. But I feel assured that with this ref it will be mostly down to the players to put the final score on the scoreboard and not down to the ref. Unless he has a complete off day of course.

March 1 1913.  Arsenal beat Tottenham without a ball being kicked.

The books…

The sites from the same team…

27 comments to Tottenham v Arsenal: what can we expect from the ref?

  • Florian

    I found it quite surprizing to have Clattenburg delegated for this game. What was Mike Riley smoking? 🙂 Joke aside, Clattenburg had an up-and-down season this year, seemed more unstable and prone to mistake, and consequently has lower competency scores than last season. Wishing him all the best non-bias though, as he demonstrated he’s capable of that. And yes, a few yellows for diving would come in handy.

  • Spursforever

    Good analyses. Hope that the referee will not impact the result on Sunday. I have not forgiven Mark Clattenburg for the two Spurs matches you mentioned above. In my opinion the worst is our “89 min goal” against ManU, remember that the score was 0-0…. All referees should have seen that themselves despite of having a blind linesman as an assistant referee. I share thsi with you Arsenal fans to enjoy now but hopefully we will smile on Sunday 6 PM despite of having Mr. Clattenburg as referee.

  • Adam

    It’s not Clattenburg I’m concern about, It’s Simon Beck running the line. He likes doing Tottenham the odd favor in a big game. Whereas Darren Cann (the other lino) was running the line when we last won 5-2 but also has history with Wenger and Adebayor when he was at Arsenal.

    So all marginal off-sides for Spurs to be let go and all marginals to be called on us.

    Watch out for Beck.

  • Naz

    This will be irrelevant if Arsenal simply turn up and play.

  • WalterBroeckx


    I haven’t checked his score from game to game to be honest. But I do seem to remember (without checking the numbers) and have the feeling that after the Chelsea-MU incidents he was not his usual himself in the first games after that.

    I know that a ref when faced with a trauma (and I think you can call it a trauma when you are accused of something like that-racism) it can rock your foundations a bit. I know in Belgium the FA has a sports psychologist who also is/was (not sure) a ref who helps refs when they have faced a major problem in order to get them back to their level.

    As said I seem to remember that now he is back to his old solid level of performances as he was before. I hope he will keep it up next Sunday.

  • WalterBroeckx

    as a ref and assistant ref myself I know that this is almost impossible to see for a ref just standing 10 meters past the halfway line.

    The assistant should have followed the ball but I can imagine him in the 90th minute and with what looked a totally harmless hoof that the keeper wouldn’t make such a mess of it. But he should have ran faster and then he should have seen it.

    Now to give a ball over the goal you should be certain for more than 100% of your call. We usually say before the game when we look at how we will work as a team and use the term “200% sure to give a goal when the ball has passed the line or not”. Maybe he (ref or assistant) wasn’t 100% sure and then you can decide to not give it. Which was the wrong decision of course.

    Worst case scenario is that he did see it but feared the anger of SAF and thus let it go…???

    Anyway, I think most of us at Untold Arsenal and myself in particular have been advocating for the use of video images to help the referees to make the correct decisions.

    I hate it when football fans have to go home from the stadium in the knowledge that the final result was not what it should have been. In general I can cope with any loss when it was fair when looked at it from the laws of the game.

  • John Smith

    The letter of the law proved Crappenburg wrong

    Not only did he make no signal whatsoever as to whether it was advantage, a free kick or play on but he told the Spurs captain and some of his teammates to go away while he talked to the linesman yet allowed Rio Ferdinand to stand there and run his mouth

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think you refer to the Gomes-Nani goal incident. I wrote about it from memory. If you got a link to it I will be happy to have a look at it.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Just hope the ref is watching out for bale, officially the worst diver in the premier league. And ade who stamps on players faces. Looking around, think the whole country and a significant proportion of those who at least claim to be our fans want us to lose this one. Just hope this ref is not one of them . Hope wenger develops a siege mentality. Does not look like bac will play against a team who got away with breaking his leg, but Jenks, if he keeps calm has the pace , ability and certainly desire to do well here. He just has to be careful, very careful. The likes of shawcross and Huth spend all season dragging players in the area, largely getting away with it. Kos does it once…….you have been warned Jenks.

  • Tasos

    So long as the name “Mike Dean” didn’t appear on the team sheet of this game I was happy enough.

    BTW Walter you forgot this Mark Clattenburg controversy which went once again in the favour of Man Utd. A familiar pattern for EPL refs.

  • jayjay

    The ref will make a huge difference in a game like this.

    Basically the only way to stop Dembele and Bale is to foul them they are too big strong and powerful and Arteta wont be able to stop them on his own.

    If Bale is on his game then we have not got a chance just get Jack to man mark him as that is our only chance.

    Adebayor is a donkey but on his day can be unreal and if he ups his game against us then he could be a problem

  • Mandy Dodd

    very relieved it was not Mike Dean Tasos, amazed in a happy way it is not.
    But as posted before, we just have to turn up and play our game

  • Limpar's Wand

    Thanks as always for the work you do on refs!

    Just something I noticed the other day when I saw a list of where PL referees are from… It really shocked me that not one is from London, or anywhere in the south at all. The majority come from the north-west, with a few from the north-east (like clattenburg). It really is almost as if every referee is northern on purpose. Considering the number of current premier league clubs from london and the south, I really find this most remarkable. I’m not claiming any conspiracy theory and I don’t imagine it makes a huge amount of difference. I just thought it was odd.

    English refs are renowned on the continent for letting hard tackles go and allowing a rougher game. Now I know why… our refs obviously think it’s rugby league.

  • Tasos


    “just get Jack to man mark him as that is our only chance”

    LOL. That’s a joke right?

  • bob

    “Basically the only way to stop Dembele and Bale is to foul them they are too big strong and powerful and Arteta wont be able to stop them on his own.”
    Imo, sounds like yet another reason to rue the departure of (or failure to have replaced) one Alex Song.

  • AL

    Tasos, I think what jayjay is actually trying to say is that its spurs’ only chance to win the game if bale is given some space:) Well, that’d also be assuming jay is a spud…..

    Thanks for the article Walter, let’s hope Clatternburg is firm with play acting, or is it simulation. From what I’ve seen of him he always seems fair in this dept(anyone remember Torres second yellow?).

  • Rufusstan

    Thanks for the article. Like others I rend to be relatively happy so long as it isn’t Dean we face. In all honesty its the first time in a while I have gone onto a bit game not worried about what the ref will do (and you just know I have tempted fate now).

    On the rest: Limpar — The fact that the 30 million+ people in the South East cannot find one PL ref is regularly pointed out here. Why? Politics? Them not looking in the right places? Londoners being genuinely crap at refereeing? Who knows.

  • iam happy to see new signing from the feild
    we should be strong in foolball

  • we look week but strong in foolball i wise icould be there.
    i am one of the funs in south sudan yei may god bulese the boss and all the guys and funs
    guya santino

  • Florian


    I sure hope that too – that he’ll have a solid game. And, as stated, his linesmen are doing their job properly. I remember from looking at refereedecisions that he had a few games where he made more than his usual share of mistakes. But as you say, it might very well be that it was only the specific time span after the Chelsea allegations. I remember he didn’t officiate at all for some 3 weeks.

  • Mandy Dodd

    The other who will have to watch out is jack. Many predicting a red card in this game

  • Gord

    OT: The BBC general coverage has some catering news which might be of interest:

    > 1451: IPIE IN THE SKY

    > Big news from the SPL, where Hearts have stolen a march on their rivals by launching a phone app which allows fans to order their half-time pie from the comfort of their seats.

    > A statement on the Scottish Premier League club’s website said: “Supporters seated in the upper sections of the Wheatfield Stand will have the unique opportunity to use their Android or iOS smartphones to skip the queues and have their food delivered direct to their seats, ensuring that they don’t miss a minute of the action on the pitch.”

    > Genius. Sheer genius.

    What is it the Tony keeps saying is unavailable at the Emirates? Cappuccino?

  • Cappu, chips and burgers

  • Gord

    Maybe the catering people at the Emirates could look into some kind of mobile application, where they could take orders for food and drink, and then either deliver like Hearts apparently does, or just tell the customer their order is ready?

    So far, I don’t see that any results from today favour us much. But, maybe Wigan can get a win yet today?

  • Gord

    Having read some of Walter’s articles of late, it is interesting to see this outside comment in the BBC commentary:

    > 1749: GET INVOLVED

    > Clayton from London: “Why are fans of other clubs so obsessed with Chelsea? It’s almost as if they’ve been whipped into a frenzy by the media…”

  • toto

    So the NLD has come and gone, and did we learn anything new about our team? True to form, we had that 10-minute spell when our defence was non-existent and the spuds took full advantage. Two mistakes, two goals, nothing unusual there, all Arsenal-like. The ref had a good game, so no complaints there really except he could have shown a 2nd yellow to Adebayor which would have changed the course and outcome of the game for us.

    So what went wrong? Arsene and trains tnese players everyday so he must see something in ramsey good enough to keep Podolski out of the team. I think Podolski is better than Carzola on the wing and Carzola is better than Ramsey in midfield. I was surprised to see Jenkinson taken off for Rosicky; and then play Ramsey out of position at right back? How is Ramsey better than Jenkinson at fullback? Wouldn’t it have been better to keep Jenkinson on and take Ramsey off for Rosicky? Anyway, I accept that the manager might know something that we don’t know about these players but it seemed odd that Arsene preferred Ramsey to Jenkinson who by the way was one of our beter payer