Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Monday October 25 2010
I am sure that as we sombrely saluted the passing of Malcolm Allison in City Square on Sunday afternoon, we did not expect to witness the remainder of the afternoon being destroyed not by Arsenal but by Mark Clattenburg.
Not a stranger to controversy on or off the field, Clattenburg set about destroying the not only the viewing nation's afternoon but in particular the near record crowd at Eastlands.
Followers of the Ped Report are aware that the column usually offers some sort of balanced approach to reporting on City's matches but frankly yesterday Clattenburg's performance told me 'Look lads, I missed a bit last season but I'll make up for it today'. And so he did.
Right from the start he took on the air of a croupier as he produced cards faster than Paul Daniels with a seemingly unfair distribution.
Yes Dedryck Boyata did catch the rolling Chamakh, who has certainly joined in the spirit of Arsenal's divers - but he did get something on the ball.
Wenger's darling Fabregas goes over to the referee simulating him waving a card about and the usual delegation was there demanding blood. So Clattenburg obliges, sends off Boyata and sentences the nation to an afternoon of one-sided football, where City's new team fought gallantly and short-handedly against a very clever footballing side.
But make no mistake about it, this Arsenal side knows how to look after itself and set about doing so. The only unceetainty from City's point of view was what colour the cards would be (if any) for them. We later found them to be the colour of Clattenburg's belly.
So when Fabregas chops someone down - no card, for a while at least. Same with Denilson, same with Song, again for a while. Then once he had collected a few over the first 20 minutes, Clattenburg must have though ' Lots of D1s to write out tonight, better close the book now'. So as the Assassins from Ashburton continued their vigil, Song, who should have been marched long before he scored his goal was able to continue and Fabregas was able to flourish and the criminal that is Denilson was too.
When the first goal came you couldn't really argue with it. Nasri and Arshavin played a neat one-two around the statuesque Barry and Nasri buried it into Joe Hart's net giving him no real chance.
Not happy that he had allowed Denilson and Song the opportunity of cutting Silva in two, Clattenburg then conjures up a penalty for the Gooners. Replays once again suggest that Kompany got something on the ball and as the trees felled themselves in the Box
Hart made an excellent save from Fabregas penalty kick. Is that the third out of four pens that Arsenal have now missed? I was standing with a female steward at the time and I told her- left of the goalie as we look, top half of the goal. I had more idea than Tevez who was directing Joe to the other side!!
The half time substitution which saw the introduction of Bridge was somewhat perplexing, especially as the defence had hung in well for 40 minutes, with first Toure Yaya putting in a shift at centre back and then Boateng switching over and Barry filling in at left back.
Mancini now senteced us to 45 minutes with two poor full backs neither of which will really survive what is going on at Eastlands forthwith.
A neat looking move looked to have petered out before Bridge set up Song with the opportunity to extend Arsenal's lead with a firm shot from inside the box.
And then finally as Arsenal attacked down the left Richards was caught too slow waving his arms for a throw in ahead of Bendtner polishing off the afternoon's scoring.
The scoreline proably flattered Arsenal and I suspect we would not have seen that if City had remained intact with 11 on the field but such is football.
What if Song would have been (rightly) cautioned before the one Clattenburg caught him for? What if Fabregas (rightly) had collected a yellow for waving an imaginary card in front of the referee, Wenger would have been going nuts.
Instead, Clattenburg effectively applied his interpretation of the laws to one team only and Wenger's wordplay where you would think that only his team gets knocked about seemed to win the day.
City have now taken over the mantle from United in being Arsenal's anti-christ and this will now continue to simmer. Same old Arsenal - always cheating. None more so than Fabregas.
City will have to endure more of this as the season progresses, especially if we continue in the current general form. I've told you - watch out for Howard Webb settling an old score with de Jong in the Derby, especially when Rooney's ankle goes again and the Glazers have to pay him for another six weeks in sick bay.
Also who can answer this? How come more or less every Premier League match at Eastlands this season has featured Clattenburg either as referee or fourth official? Has the appointments secretary slipped up here or is Clattenburg our resident referee?
Date:Monday October 25 2010
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