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February 2021

Leicester v Arsenal Sat 20 August – The Match Officials and what we know of them.

by Andrew Crawshaw

Before I look ahead to the game on Saturday, a brief recap from last week.  Michael Oliver had a good overall score and certainly far better than I was expecting with an  82% overall weighted score and bias of 60/40 against the two teams.  He did make two wrong Important Decisions, Liverpool’s opening goal coming from an incorrectly awarded free kick and Chambers being offside when he headed our third goal.

The reviewers agreed that a yellow card was sufficient punishment for Llana’s foul on Ramsey in Min26.  So overall the score should have been 2 – 3 to Liverpool and no points were robbed by the referee.

We should be grateful that we didn’t have the kind of performance that Anthony Taylor (another FIFA Accredited referee) produced on Monday when he made a complete cock-up of the Chelsea v West Ham game.  5 wrong Important decisions, Chelsea should have had two penalties but both Costa and Kante should have been dismissed.

On to Saturday – our officials are

  • Referee – Mark Clattenberg – FIFA Accredited – Durham
  • Assistant Referee 1 – Jake Collin – FIFA Accredited – Mersyside
  • Assistant Referee 2 – Simon Bennett – FIFA Accredited – Staffordshire
  • Fourth Official – Andre Marriner – FIFA Accredited – West Midlands

So for the second week in a row a very experienced refereeing team, all being FIFA Accredited so again there should be no excuses for them making any major mistakes.  Mr Clattenberg had a week off last week – maybe he was allowed a four week break following the Euro Final as were our players, or maybe it took that long for the ink on his celebratory tattoos to dry.

Last season 2015-16 we had the pleasure of Mr Clattenberg on four occasions

21 November WBA v Arsenal (2-1) Ref Review : WBA – Arsenal

42% overall weighted performance, bias against the two teams 9/91 and 5 wrong Important Decisions (second yellow cards, red cards, penalties and goals).

  • Min 34 Arteta was penalised for a ‘Phantom Foul” from which West Brom scored (no foul so no free kick so no goal),
  • Min 46 Olsson wrestled Giroud to the ground in the penalty area should have resulted in a penalty for Arsenal and a second yellow card for Olsson neither of which were given,
  • Min 75 Morrison should have had a second yellow card for a foul on Campbell,
  • Min 84 the penalty that Arsenal was correctly awarded should have been retaken due to encroachment by two West Brom players.  A minimum of two points and almost certainly three robbed by Mr Clattenberg

24 January Arsenal  v Chelsea (0-1)

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Referee Review: Arsenal – Chelsea

76% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams 35/65 and one wrong Important Decision when in Min 56 Kos fouled Fabregas in our penalty area and Mr Clattenberg didn’t award the penalty.  A game where Mr Clattenberg had a decent enough game, didn’t affect the result and even gave a balance of wrong decisions in favour of Arsenal

19 March Everton v Arsenal (0-2)

Ref Review: Everton – Arsenal, more of the terrible the same….

43% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams 6/94 and two wrong Important Decisions.  Min 34 both Besic and Funes fouled Alexis in the penalty area, no penalty given, Min81 Funes should have been given a second yellow card for a foul on Giroud.  Awful refereeing despite which we won the game.

15 May Arsenal 4 Aston Villa 0

Ref Review : Arsenal – Aston Villa: did we see any change in referee approach in the last game of the season?

64% overall, bias against the two teams 58/42 and 3 wrong Important Decisions.  Min 5 the goal from Giroud shouldn’t have counted as it had gone out of play before reaching him, Min 23 and 51 We should have had two penalties each one for a foul on Giroud by Toner.  Below the 70% minimum acceptable level but the bias numbers were just within the 60/40 point so not too bad from that point of view.

Four appearances then from a FIFA Accredited referee and only one was above the 70% minimum acceptable level.  No fewer than 11 wrong Important Decisions which is totally unacceptable.  One game where his errors ensured that we lost.

Going back to the previous season 2014-15 and we again had him for two games

Ref Review : Arsenal – Man City

71% Overall, bias against the two teams 73/27 and two wrong Important Decisions.  Min 45 Milner should have a second yellow card for a foul and Min 76 Wilshere should have conceded a penalty for handball.  The game ended as a 2 – 2 draw, City should probably have won it 3 – 2 so two points gifted to Arsenal.

Ref Review: Crystal Palace – Arsenal

80% overall, bias against the two teams of 18/82 and 2 wrong Important Decisions.  Min2 Özil called back erroneously for offside (he was a meter onside and finished the ball into the net)  Min 3 Coquelin should have been dismissed for a high foot on Campbel.  I called this one as three points gained by Arsenal from the incorrect refereeing decisions.


  1. Despite being an extremely high profile referee – he refereed both the Champions League and Euro 2016 finals last season – Mr Clattenberg can at times be truly abysmal as he showed in all three of our games last year.
  2. He likes to ‘let the game flow’ and seems to ignore the rules of the game at times to allow that to happen.  A yellow or red card foul should always be given even if it means disturbing the flow of the game.
  3. He was awful last season at giving penalties. He failed to correctly award six in the four games.
  4. Like all referees he is likely to award our opponents a ‘Phantom Foul’ in a dangerous area and all of our players need to be extra vigilant to avoid giving him an excuse to do so.
  5. The points he took off us last season balanced those he gave us the season before.  We don’t want that kind of yo-yo refereeing, two wrongs don’t make a right.  Please prove to us that you are a competent referee with a balanced performance on Saturday and that the crap you showed us last year was an abberation.


If you want to comment, and haven’t yet done so please do have a read of the article I doubt if anyone has ever had their mind changed.

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8 comments to Leicester v Arsenal Sat 20 August – The Match Officials and what we know of them.

  • Josif

    A fine preview, Andrew, except two minor details I’d add:

    1.Arsenal weren’t handed two points by the ref in a 2:2 draw against City as we got just one point from that game and haven’t mentioned that special review from the thug-fest Chelsea v Spuds when Clattenburg gave all players a licence to kill each other. I know that you refer mostly to Arsenal games when making these previews but that game between Chelsea and Spuds was both the English football and the English refereeing in the nutshell.

  • finsbury

    Thank you!

    Is it just me or was MC off colour in that Euro final?
    To be fair to him he wasn’t vomiting up his innards at the final whistle unlike players from the team who may or may not had players or coaches accused of doping in the past.

    Who can forget the erroneous pelanty awarded against the Cheating Mancs for LCFC by Clatters following another Vardy dive in their first season back up?

    Many of us remember as it was the first time more or less that a pelanty had been awarded against Scudamore and Riley’s favourite club at home since the PL had began.

    No doubt many appreciated the hilarity of what Clatters did to poor old Moysey that day but going into this match it’s not that reassuring that Clatters has such previous ‘form’ with LCFC 🙂

  • colario

    I suppose the wrongfully given penalty to Leicester last week by the PGMOL North West official could have been a genuine mistake.

    On the other hand it could be an indicator that the ‘Leicester PGMOL North West honeymoon is still on.

    Mark Clattenberg waved the flag for the PMGMOL last season and no doubt will do it this season.

    However in my opinion this season the PMGOL North West are going to have to change their preferences this season. It shouldn’t be too difficult to do this, with the managers now in manure city that gave birth to Mike Riley.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    So Mr Clattenberg is the match referee for our away game to Leicester on Saturday. I think he used to be an Arsenal referee before. But he has since changed to become an anti-Arsenal referee if going by the officiatings he officiated against Arsenal last season in some games is anything to take into account..

    But any anti-Arsenal refereeing by Mr Clattenberg will be felt with by the Gunners who will in my believe hit the Foxes decisively with a crushing defeat at their King Power Stadium and comeback with all the 3 points which will be at stake in the match to thus rendered any anti-Arsenal refereeing by Mr Clanttenberg a none starter.

    We can’t afford not to win this match tomorrow. Even getting a point in that match will almost be equivalent to a defeat as we could fall behind by 5 or 4 points in the table to any of the teams who already had 3 points last week and could have another 3 or 2 points this weekend. I wouldn’t want to see us overhauling teams in the table even at this early stage in the season as it maybe. But rather, I prefer to see us being chased and uncaught as we top the table up to the end of this season.

    A lot had been said about the failed Arsenal defensive base partnership of Coquelin and Elneny which didn’t give the effective defensive protection to Holding and Chambers and consequently exposed Arsenal defense-line to concede 4 goals to Liverpool at the Ems last Sunday. And the starting of Sanchez to lead the line for Arsenal in that game was uncustomary as Sanchez is more effective as mid left wing than to lead the line for Arsenal.

    I believe the Boss must have taken note of these two lapses and will take the necessary measures and correct them in the Leicester game.

    My starts backing Cech from left to right on the field:

    Sanchez Cazorla Walcott
    Xhaka Coquelin
    Monreal Chambers Holding Bellerin

    My bench: OspinaKoscielnyGibbsElneny OxchamboOzilGiroud.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Less I forget, I think the Man Utd over herald big signings this summer will be held at their Old Trafford home by the Saints this evening.

  • Usama Zaka


    Andre Marriner was the main ref for Bournemouth vs Man U. Today he is the 4th official for Man U vs Southampton. And tomorrow he is 4th official for our game. Strange…

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Thanks, I hadn’t spotted that. He was one of the two referees not to make any wrong Important Decisions last weekend.

  • Pat

    I can’t help remembering that Clattenburg once was a good and fair ref. So I am desperately hoping that the performance of Michael Oliver is a sign that something has changed. Well, we will soon know.