Let’s face it, the referee did Arsenal a massive favour against Palace on Saturday.
I spend a lot of time on here moaning about how we get screwed over by the officials on a regular basis so it’s only fair to hold my hands up when Arsenal actually get the benefit of what was, for the most part, woeful officiating once again.
The penalty wasn’t in the box, Mesut Ozil wasn’t offside when he scored, Danny Welbeck was offside when he shot in the lead up to Olivier Giroud’s 50th goal for the club, Francis Coquelin should have been sent off, Nacho Monreal got away with quite a bit and generally, when you tally up the major decisions Mark Clattenburg and his assistants got wrong, Arsenal come out on top.
As I said in my preview, Clattenburg is a referee who likes to let the game flow and, because of that, is a lenient referee.
If you’d asked me before the game, I would have been certain that Palace would have looked to exploit that fact to kick Arsenal back into their shell but they refused the opportunity and Arsenal benefited.
It wasn’t that Arsenal were kicking Palace as a strategy, more, they were getting caught out by the slick and quick interchange between the Eagles, often mistiming tackles rather than being malicious.
The worst of all was, of course, Francis Coquelin’s ‘challenge’ in the fourth minute when his studs met Frazer Campbell’s chest and while no-one will argue that it should have been a yellow at the very least, a case could certainly be made for it being a straight red.
It will come as no comfort to Palace that Arsenal are rarely treated to a woeful refereeing display that actually helps them.
Then again, I don’t overly care what Palace fans think and would take that sort of display every week from the officials as a welcome change.
Alternatively, a display that is not rubbish, regardless of who it benefits, would probably be even better.