Date: 2nd November 2010 at 2:05pm
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As Arsene Wenger partook in his usual pre-match press conference ahead of our CL clash in the Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk, he was asked his opinion on Mark Clattenbrug’s controversial decision to allow Manchester United’s Nani to stroke home the second goal of the game against Tottenham at the weekend, despite a blatant infringement from the Portuguese player.

Every man and his dog has been having their say on one of the more bizarre goals you’re ever likely to see, so before our resident Spurs fans pipe up and tell Wenger to mind his own business, remember he was answering a direct question.

Wenger believes the incident was solely down to misunderstanding between goal keeper and referee.

“I think it was a misunderstanding between the referee and Gomes,”

“I can understand the referee because one way to give the advantage Tottenham deserved is to let the game flow because there is five minutes to go.

“If he stops the game with a free kick it slows the game down and allows Man United to come back. So he let the play go on and they had the ball. Gomes didn`t play quickly enough to take advantage of it and he tried to gain a few yards to kick the ball longer and got caught on it.

“Basically there is no big error from any camp, it`s just a misunderstanding between Clattenburg and Gomes.”

Initially my first impressions where that the decision was completely correct, the whistle hadn’t been blown, and whether or not Gomes thought there had been a handball was by the by, if there is no whistle you have to play on, I thought maybe the ref’s view was obscured and couldn’t see the handball, so even though there should have been a free kick, he can’t blow for something he didn’t see, meaning the goal was a good one.

Then after the game Clattenburg said that he had seen the offence but decided to play the advantage, again if this is the case the goal should have stood, though the camera angle from behind play shows that Clattenburg did not clearly wave play on as almost all referees do, helping to validate Wenger’s ‘misunderstanding’ theory.

Yet it wasn’t until listening to Wenger’s comments today (in which I was agreement with at the time) that I realised one glaring flaw in Mark Clattenburg’s theory that he’d seen the offence and waved play on (rather than just admitting that he’d effed it up as he so clearly did), and that was that even though he claimed he’d seen it, he failed to go back an show Nani the yellow card at the next opportunity.

Even if the official simply forgot to book Nani it’s still a pretty hefty mistake to make. Not booking a player for such an infringement whilst not bothering to wave the advantage is pretty poor even by the EPL low standards, I can see why the Spurs fans are so annoyed (Though the claims that Clattenburg has something against them after the Mendes incident when that was clearly a linesman’s mistake are a bit far fetched).

So for what’s it’s worth, there’s the somewhat belated opinion of the Arsenal manager and an Arsenal fan.