When I think of Mark Clattenburg, which I try not to do often, one thing immediately springs to mind.

It was 2009 and Arsenal were playing at Manchester City.

Emmanuel Adebayor, facing the side who thrust him into the limelight, was determined to kill as many of his ex-teammates as possible and, in the worst of all his infractions, raked his studs down Robin van Persie’s face.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Time, of course, changes how we feel about these things but as the referee of the day, Mark Clattenburg, missed it, the Togolese striker was hit with two misconduct charges after the game.

Since that game Clattenburg has taken charge of 19* Arsenal games (including four games against Tottenham) issuing a total of 62 yellows and three reds. Of those cards issued, 22 yellows went to Arsenal players and one red (Sebastian Squaillcai v Huddersfield in 10/11).

After the 2-2 against City earlier in the season, Manuel Pellegrini was critical of the man from Durham, claiming that he got three decisions wrong (including allowing both Arsenal’s goals) and that they should have had a penalty for a Jack Wilshere handball.

He mentioned nothing about the second yellow that Fernandinho should have received for kicking the ball away (Clattenburg had already booked Alexis for his goal celebration so was clearly not above following some ridiculous laws).

Clattenburg, in the scope of other referees who are around these days, is not that bad.

He has a tendency to be too lenient in a bid to let the game flow and has an ego that likes to be on TV and thinks he’s best mates with the players, an attitude that has saw him reported on more than one occasion for his choice of language when conversing with them.

He misses decisions and gets things wrong, like we all would with just a split second to make a call that often takes us many replays from multiple angles to be sure about, but he’s one of the better ones out there.

Against Crystal Palace I don’t anticipate Clattenburg causing too many problems, but, of course, much of this depends on how Alan Pardew sends his Eagles out to face Arsenal.

*14/15 2-2 v City, 13/14 Swansea 1 Arsenal 2, Arsenal 2 Saints 0, Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0, Arsenal 0 Man United 0, Arsenal 4 Everton 1, 12/13 Arsenal 0 Swansea 2, Arsenal 1 Swansea 0, Tottenham 2 Arsenal 1, 11/12 Arsenal 3 Bolton 0, Wigan 0 Arsenal 4, Arsenal 1 Leeds 0, 10/11 Man City 0 Arsenal 3, Aston Villa 2, Arsenal 4, Arsenal 3 Chelsea 1, Arsenal 2 Huddersfield 1, 09/10 Arsenal 3 Tottenham 0, Arsenal 2 Stoke 0^, West Ham 1 Arsenal 2, Tottenham 2 Arsenal 1.

^Managed to referee Arsenal v Stoke and not book any players.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.