Mark Clattenburg has said there was enough contact on Richarlison to warrant a penalty.
Arsenal’s match against Watford swung on a controversial moment in the second half when Hector Bellerin was adjudged to have brought down Brazilian forward Richarlison.
Bellerin’s reaction was that the forward had dived, and replays suggest that, at the very least, it was a very soft penalty.
Mark Clattenburg, though, feels otherwise.
“It was the correct decision to award the penalty as there was contact between him and Hector Bellerin, that wasn’t initiated by the forward,” he said, reports the Daily Star.
“It is interesting because I’ve looked at three angles of the incident; the first one looks like nothing, there appears to be no contact. The second also looks like no contact, but a third angle that I’ve studied shows Bellerin’s left leg hit the right leg of Richarlison.
“There is contact. We as referees cannot work out if that’s sufficient contact to award a penalty. But what we try to understand is that if a player is at full pace and there is contact, then experience tells us that it will knock the attacker over.
“It’s like when a 110m hurdler slightly glances a hurdle at full pace: it knocks them down. It is very similar with football.
“If Bellerin touches the ball first then it’s play on, but because Richarlison touches the ball first and there is contact from the Arsenal full back that is consistent with the striker going to ground, then the referee Neil Swarbrick is right to give the penalty.”
Clattenburg currently works as the Head of Refereeing in Saudi Arabia. His view differs from that of Graham Poll’s who, while working for BT Sport, claimed that Richarlison had dived.
That Clattenburg had to look at three different angles to determine there was any contact at all suggests it was far from a straightforward decision.
If Neil Swarbrick saw enough to award that penalty, one wonders why he didn’t give Arsenal a penalty as for a near identical challenge on Danny Welbeck.
Same type of foul that the ref denied Welbeck, he now gave against Arsenal, in similar circumstances… sigh…
— The Godfather (@Ayourb) October 14, 2017
In the end, Watford got the penalty and Troy Deeney got Watford back into the game. While Arsenal weren’t happy with the decision, they had time remaining in the game to improve and get another goal.
In my opinion, the penalty is simply a distraction from the sharp decline in Arsenal’s second-half performance.