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Wenger Says Nani Goal Was A 'Misunderstanding'

Wenger Says Nani Goal Was A 'Misunderstanding'

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.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Tuesday November 2 2010
Time: 2:04PM


There's no mandatory yellow card for a handball offence. Especially in the case where there is no advantage gained as Gomes simply stepped forward and picked the ball up. Clattenburg was right to play on. He hadn't stopped the game so didn't need to wave play on. Gomes tried to steal an extra 10 yards and got punished for his stupidity. We had similar nonsense at Liverpool when Attwell allowed Kuyt to score from a stupid backpass from a Sunderland player. I'm all for going for the refs when they get it wrong but it doesn't help at all when we find such flimsy excuses for letting stupid players off the hook at the expense of the referees.
02/11/2010 14:16:00
Yeah, Clattenburg misunderstood the laws of the game that say handball = free kick. He deserves the sack.
02/11/2010 14:20:00
A referee never waves play on after stopping the game .... because he's stopped it, there would be no reason to play on. Refs always wave play on, they even over-use it so they don't have to make controversial decisions. Nani's handball was about a blatant a yellow cards as you could ask for, even if handballs don't automatically warrent a yellow. Gomes went to pick the ball out and Nani tried to stop him by moving the ball with his arm. Yellow card offence every day of the week.
02/11/2010 14:20:00
We'd of probably lost anyway, but there's no denying that was a scandlous decision. Top that with the fact Rio was allowed to get involved with the decision making process when 10 Spurs players werent and you have yourselves a farce. When you consider the Pedro Mendes incident 2005 (points that cost us UEFA cup football that year), Ronaldo dive at White Hart Lane 2007, The Gomes/Carrick penalty in 2008 (Which pretty much handed Utd the title) and that on Saturday then you have a scandal. I appreicate Wenger was being honest and by all accounts Gomes should have played to the whistle. But here on Vital Arsenal where theres been plenty of Ref damning articles over the years (I remember one titled Coward Webb) for decisons nowhere near as ridiculous as the ones we get almost every season against Man Utd then i'd thought we'd get a little more symapthy. I guess not.
02/11/2010 14:24:00
You're inventing your own laws. There is no 'waving play on' law or every infringement is free kick law. Bottom line is that Nani didn't stop Gomes taking the ball and once Gomes is in possession everything that happens afterwards is down to him unless there is a law that says players are allowed to award their own free kicks.
02/11/2010 14:25:00
The Coward Webb saw him sending off the wrong player for an incident that didn't warrant a red card anyway .... it was pretty scandalous. But yeah, whilst Gomes was clearly at fault also, this was some pretty bad refereeing ..... it's either some completely incometant officiating overall at worst, or two pieces of very amatuerish reffing that culminated in a pretty disasterous result for Spurs ... at best.
02/11/2010 14:28:00
*Yellow card
02/11/2010 14:38:00
I never said it was a law ... just a common courtesy. If there is an offence the referee needs to signal that he's seen the offence but sees fit to keep the game flowing, that stops people from believing the ref hasn't seen anything. It happens the world over. And no, every infringment isn't a freekick, but blatent and intentional handball is. Nani might not have gotten the advantage but he clearly tried, warranting a yellow card for unsporting conduct.
02/11/2010 14:38:00
Nani provided a big lump of polyfilla for gonad features to cover up the cracks in his poor selection and tactical approach. After Clattenberg goes and has a word with the lino he has to reverse his decision, he has come across as pretty arrogant in the whole saga, that said he deserves an MBE if the sir arry of poundland gives us a media blackout.
02/11/2010 14:39:00
Quite simply, the referee is there to ensure there is NO misunderstandings. By saying Gomes was at fault he is massively contradicting himself......again.
02/11/2010 14:49:00
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