Ref Preview: Arsenal v Tottenham

Arsenal v Tottenham FA Cup Third Round 4th January 2014 The match Officials

Andrew Crawshaw


  • Referee – Mark Clattenburg
  • Assistant Referees – Peter Kirkup & Simon Bennett
  • Fourth Official – Martin Atkinson

I’m not sure how the referee performance in a FA Cup game will compare with that in a league game but on the basis that it may bear some similarities here goes.  And given the strong allegations publicised in the Daily Mail as being made against Clattenburg today there is a chance he made be pulled at the last minute

Last year he was in charge of :-

Match Review: Mark Clattenburg – Arsenal Vs Swansea City (0 – 2) [01/12/2012] – 72% overall bias against 93/7 but no wrong Important Decisions (second yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goals)

Match Review: Mark Clattenburg – Tottenham Hotspur Vs Arsenal (2 – 1) [03/03/2013] – 85% overall, bias against 15/85 again with no wrong Important Decisions

Match Review: Mark Clattenburg – Aston Villa Vs Tottenham Hotspur (0 – 4) [26/12/2012] – 82% overall, bias against 64/36  and again no wrong Important Decisions

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

Two games for Arsenal with the usual terrible bias against Arsenal 97% at home and 85% away, both games we lost.  Compared with three games for Spurs with bias in their favour 85%, 64% and an evenly balanced game with 53% to Spurs.  A bit of a contrast there.

The consistent thing was that he made no wrong Important Decisions in those four games which is positive for both teams.

This year he has been in charge of

  • Crystal Palace v Spurs on 18 Aug (0-1);
  • Swansea v Arsenal on 28 September (1-2);
  • Arsenal v Southampton on 23 November (2-0) and
  • Fulham v Spurs on 4 December (1-2)…

One thing different for this game will be the Assistant Referees – Mr Clattenberg usually operates with S Beck and S Child (together for 9 of his 13 Premier League games and he has had one or other of them in the other four games).  he has also not had Atkinson as Fourth Official this year.

So what can we expect?

Based on the last two years he is unlikely to do Arsenal any favours, expect the usual licence for Spurs players to get away with far more force in challenges than Arsenal are permitted.  Also look out for ‘phantom fouls’ and other tricks allowing Spurs to regroup when under pressure.

With the increased spotlight on recent refereeing decisions, I would hope that all referees have been told to get the important decisions right, something he managed last year so more of the same please.

But please, ref, be consistent for both teams, 85 and 94% of wrong decisions against one team  may be said to be consistent but is hardly in accordance with the rules of the game.  If you call a foul for one team and the other commits a similar offence then we expect you to give the same penalty – simples.

Previous articles on referees…

The earlier series of reviews:

13 Replies to “Ref Preview: Arsenal v Tottenham”

  1. Refs biased against Arsenal instead of the fact that they are always biased for Arsenal and Mark “I didn’t give a goal when the ball was at the back of the net and I didn’t give a free kick when Nani handled” Clattenburg being biased towards Spurs?


    Thanks for the laugh

  2. Off topic:
    What’s with Frimpong, i always see him in training, but no news of him starting a game again?
    Anyway, hope we treat this game as a must win.
    Forward gunners.

  3. I am very interested in comments on both Mark Clattenburg and the referees of the games involving both Arsenal and Spurs. Is the writer a referee? Was he a Referee? or is he just a Arsenal fan who sees every decision given against them as wrong. As an ex Referee I find the comments strange and very bias towards Arsenal, if I am honest.

  4. Fatboy,
    The writer of this article is not a referee.
    But the reviews (see links) were all done by qualified referees and by referees who supported other teams than Arsenal most of the time. In fact the majority of the referees involved didn’t support Arsenal.

  5. Fatboy,
    To add to what Walter said, the same decisions have been successfully used to predict what and how the referee would behave in the matches before, like it is done in this article.
    Also just reading the first para or two of the Ref Review articles. – This would be a good place to start.

  6. Why does anybody take this nonsense seriously? Over 40% of the panel used identify themselves as arsenal fans. There is no check whether they actually are qualified refs or not. The results are based on the submissions of those panel members who choose to submit. So the arsenal fans are far more likely to comment on arsenal and spurs games than neutral panel members are. You only have to look at the quality of their opinions……for example not one of the panel considered Flaminis foul on Rose in the league game to be worthy of a red. So it wasnt a wrong decision. Every time arteta flings himself to the ground when breathed upon is viewed as a foul so a ref is biased if he doesnt give it. Nobody objects to fans being biased……its what makes us fans…..but please dont dress up bias as fact. Its paranoid, silly and totally unscientific.

  7. There is very little objective truth in refereeing. Refs have to make instant decisions based on what they think they have seen. So your self-selected panel of amateur or even unqualified refs are so superior to refs who have officiated in world cups and european championships that they can see a wrong decision which these professionals have missed. Wow! It must be great to be so objectively right so often when the rest of us have to make do with subjective opinion!

  8. Why take this “nonsense” seriously?
    Because we have eyes and see the ref decisions, bias or tilting of the game…

  9. Why take this “nonsense” seriously?
    Gary, you have the cart before the horse.
    Many of us have come to this site because we see something wrong with the game.
    Game after game after game referees getting decisions wrong – we KNOW from that that something was wrong.
    The sterling effort of the ref reviews has been to quantify these anomalies.

    Please take the time to study the evidence.

  10. Lost spuds don’t want facts they just want to have a go at Arsenal fans and there blogs.

  11. Walter, now I believe without any doubt that some referees are reading this blog. And please can you invite a Spurs fans who might be referees to join the reviews? I feel by the time they review two or more games themselves, a lot of these misguided arguments will cease.

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