Mark Clattenburg and the Chelsea v. Manchester United Match

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Yesterday’s match at Stamford Bridge was a mess…a complete debacle.

When two titans like Chelsea FC and Manchester United come together, the press is sure to buzzing around any half-story that they can get their hands on.

The much-anticipated handshake before the match came and went with no controversy as Ashley Young and Anton Ferdinand coolly shook hands, seemingly ending the score, at least to the public eye, of the Terry-Ferdinand racial abuse trial. John Terry’s absence on the pitch was obvious at first, but that was an after-thought as the top two clubs in the English Premier League were about to square off.

Just as quickly as the controversy had subsided, it seems even more has arisen out of this match. We would only assume the clash to be quite physical, so the Michael Carrick tackle on Ramires was not much of an issue for me, even if it should or could have been a booking.

The more controversial issue to this point surrounded the red card given to Fernando Torres, after Branislav Ivanovic was sent off for good reason with a tackle on a free Ashley Young, leaving the Blues with nine men to finish the match. Torres was given a second yellow and sent off for diving (excuse me, “simulation”), something that the EPL has been trying to combat this year more resiliently than previously. Replays showed that Torres was indeed caught by Jonny Evans, even ever so slightly, but enough to make the second yellow questionable.

Jonny Evans seems to make contact with Fernando Torres. //GIF provided by

To decide the match, Javier Hernandez scored the game-winning goal in the 75th minute. But, similarly to the Luis Suarez non-goal of the earlier Everton – Liverpool match, a controversial off-side, on-side issue potentially ended the match with an ill feeling. In the goal, Hernandez rushes to get back on-side, but it’s hard to say definitively that the United forward made it back before the shot was taken. In fact, on replay, we see he was late in making it back. He was off-side.

Javier Hernandez’s Off-side goal. //GIF provided by

To make matters even worse, news of a formal complaint made by Chelsea made the headlines late last night. The complaint accuses referee Mark Clattenburg of using inappropriate language towards two Chelsea players. It is unknown at the time which two players he allegedly used foul language on, but one is rumored to be Mikel John Obi, the young Nigerian midfielder.

It seems the football world has exchanged one controversy for another after this match. But what else could we expect? When two of the most wealthy, powerful and talented clubs in the world come up against each other at least twice a year, the vested interests are sure to make a stir. If these allegations are truthful, Clattenburg could be in a wealth of trouble. At this point, Prospect, the referee’s union, has pledged full support to the referee following the formal complaint.

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