Premier League defending champions Manchester City came from a goal down to beat Arsenal 2-1 in a very intense encounter at the Emirates
The Cityzens were outplayed by the Gunners and it was Bukayo Saka who scored a well deserved opening goal in the first half which made the Emirates stadium erupt but a second half Riyad Mahrez penalty and a stoppage time winner from Rodri made sure Arsenal had nothing to show for their hard work.
The game was marred by controversies as Arsenal felt hard done by three major decisions which didn’t go their way. Firstly, in the early stages of the first half, Man City goalkeeper Ederson looked to have fouled Martin Odegaard in the box but the VAR stood with on field referee Stuart Attwell’s decision of not awarding a penalty.
The second major incident resulted in Attwell awarding Man City a penalty for Granit Xhaka’s foul on Bernardo Silva after a pitch side monitor review and Riyad Mahrez dispatched the resulting penalty to restore parity for Man City before Arsenal defender Gabriel was shown a second yellow card (red) for a foul on Gabriel Jesus.
Former premier league referee Mark Clattenburg has had his say on those key decisions in the match. While Clattenburg agreed with Attwell on the Odegaard penalty shout, he disagreed with the decisions to award City a penalty and to send Gabriel off minutes later.
Speaking in his column for Mail Sport which was obtained via Football.London, the 46 year old said Man City shouldn’t have gotten a penalty and the second yellow card on Gabriel was too soft.
“He (Attwell) was right not to award a penalty. Martin Odegaard saw Ederson rushing out towards the ball.
“Odegaard went flying and instead of using his arms to break his fall, he threw them in the air.
“That’s a tell-tale sign of a footballer looking for a spot-kick. It didn’t fool Attwell or VAR Jarred Gillett, who saw the ball change direction because of Ederson’s intervention.”
On City’s penalty he argued: “The referee didn’t award a penalty in real time but VAR told him he had made a clear and obvious error and everyone in the Emirates Stadium knew what was going to happen the moment Attwell started to make his way to his pitch-side monitor.
Attwell should have stuck with his initial instincts. Bernardo Silva pushed the ball past Granit Xhaka, whose leg was out, granted.
“But Xhaka withdrew his leg and Silva still dropped down in a bid to buy a penalty. It was a cheap spot-kick and it’s no wonder Arsenal’s supporters and players were furious when shown the clip on the big screen.”
“I have no issue with the first yellow card,” he explained. “But I don’t think Gabriel’s collision with Gabriel Jesus on the halfway line was worthy of a second yellow. This is a normal foul, nothing more and nothing less.”