Arsenal - Wenger Says Nani Goal Was A 'Misunderstanding'
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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.

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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday November 2 2010

Time: 2:04PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
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.
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02/11/2010 14:16:00

Yeah, Clattenburg misunderstood the laws of the game that say handball = free kick. He deserves the sack.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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02/11/2010 14:28:00

*Yellow card
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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.
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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.
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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.
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02/11/2010 14:49:00

If the game hasn't been stopped there should be no need to restart it. Similarly if Clattenburgs convo with the linesman didn't reveal anything he didn't already know why should he disallow a goal that was properly scored? If Gomes doesn't want to give a goal away he holds onto the ball or lumps it down the field. The only reason Spurs conceded a goal was due to Gomes stupidity - blaming anyone else for it is all good football banter but ultimately diverting the responsibility from where it should really lie.
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02/11/2010 14:49:00

HYiddo, from what I saw of Rio harassing/confronting the ref and your players not, it looked like Ben Assou-Ekotto spoke to Clattenburg saying 'handball' who said 'I know' or similar BAA then told all the on rushing Spurs players 'it's alright, he knows' (or similar) and assumed that meant the decision would go their way. It was fantastic to see a team leave the refs to their jobs and completely unsurprising to see a Man U player shouting and therefore spitting (in that special Rio way) at them. I didn't see Clattenburg wave play on therefore I don't really see how he could say he was letting you play advantage.
No 10
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02/11/2010 15:09:00

Clattenberg plays advantage to spurs to allow a quick break, once there is no advantage and in fact a disadvantage he is allowed in law to bring the game back. It was up to his discretion and he chose not to make the call.
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02/11/2010 15:11:00

Normal camera angles didn't show it but there's been some review of the incident which suggest that the ref gestured to Gomez to get on with the game; on cue, Nani ran unto the ball, enquired of the ref and received his nod to continue play. Gomez apparently, saw this and tried to prevent the goal (why did he need to dive to stop the shot if he was certain a free kick was given?), only too late. It was a good goal, albeit, (there was) a clear misunderstanding of the ref's intention by the keeper, whereas, Nani was still alive to the possibilities.
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02/11/2010 15:13:00

Haha iceman10! Yeah i agree No 10, didnt you know England captains get special permission to intervene? lol
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02/11/2010 15:13:00

Agreed Ice! I would love to say it was Gomes fault, or even better Harrys, but really Clattenburg should take the blame....maybe 80% of it anyway.
No 10
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02/11/2010 15:17:00

One sour point though, was allowing Rio to hang around to listen to the discussion while the Spurs players were pulled back. Very disgraceful, that one. Iceman, if the ref gave an advantage, then the moment there was none, he should have brought the game back. The problem is could this situation be likened to one where an advantage was played or merely the ref's choice to ignore the handball so game could continue?
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02/11/2010 15:20:00

But there is an advantage to Spurs. Gomes has the ball. The fact that he chooses not to exercise that advantage isn't the ref's fault. Gomes had the advantage and conceded it. Silly Gomes. Berating refs when they get it wrong is fair enough but expecting professional players to know their profession isn't something they should be taken to task for.
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02/11/2010 15:23:00

Didn't see that NGunner. If that's true then Gomes should be shot! I know there aren’t many smart footballers but he must be the slowest most stupid ever!! If he knew why didn't he do anything when Nani was hovering, then asking permission....then getting permission to shoot?? Bloody hell! Maybe Gomes has Nani in his fantasy football team??
No 10
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02/11/2010 15:25:00

For me Clattenberg had 3 options. (1) He didnt see the handball so after consulting the linesman he awards a free kick to the spuds (2) He tried to play an advantage there was none so he awards a free kick to the spuds (3) He awards a goal, turns away after gesturing at Gomes as if to say you f*@king D I C K i never blew for a free kick. He chose number 3 :)
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02/11/2010 15:27:00

Gomes might have a little bit more of a case had he put the ball down anywhere near the point where the 'offence' was committed. That he did so some 15 yards away doesn't help his case at all.
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02/11/2010 15:28:00

I don't think anyone is claimingGomes didn't arse it up a bit, but Clattenburg is clearly at fault. His actions were so blaise it was quite surreal. I think Iceman's number 3 option sounds about right .... he did look as though he wanted to catch him out a bit. Maybe Gomes knocked his pint over one time ... or did the nasty dance with his Mrs or something.
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02/11/2010 15:33:00

I thought defending free kicks could be taken from anywhere inside the 18 yard box? could be wrong.
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02/11/2010 15:38:00

gomes should have checked his area
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02/11/2010 16:19:00

I think you're right iceman - a defending team can take free kicks from anywhere in the area so I'll have to let Gomes off on that one. Curously there is no law requiring the ref to signal to play on though there seems to be a convention. There is a requirement for the ref to indicate a direct or indirect free kick though. Maybe the laws need to be clarified if players are unable to decide for themselves whether play has stopped or not.
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02/11/2010 16:34:00

All i know is i'd be pretty p*ssed off if we were on the receiving end. So that must mean a ref c*ck-up. It might have been legit but it was grossly unfair Forget what the laws say or don't say, i believe that all sports must be fair, otherwise there is no point playing. After this incident, MU must have given Spurs a free run on goal; unfortunately they are not decent enough to do that.
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02/11/2010 16:50:00

As is usually the case when Wenger speaks about something he's not personally connected to he's right on the money. It's easy to lay all the blame on the keeper or the officials depending on personal experience but things are never that simple. Gomes (who with his expiereince should know better) was incredibly careless and naive but the referes's management of the situation (although innocent at first) was so vaugue and ambiguous I'm still not exactly sure what happened several days later. It's an unfortunate accident but for all those ex-refs who have come out in the press and said Clattenberg handled the situation "well" or "maybe he didn't see Rio", do me a favour
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02/11/2010 17:00:00

Iceman does have a point for the interpretation of the Ref's options. It did look like he wanted to "teach him". The law allows a ref to change a decision, after consultation with the linos, providing he has not restarted play. Clattenburg chose not to.
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02/11/2010 17:24:00

I can't see this being anyone but Clattenburg's fault. It's a blatant handball and yellow card, and he should have made more of an indication that he was waving play on. I must admit it's incredibly harsh on Spurs and I would certainly feel outraged if the decision went against us. Or maybe it really is true that you just cannot get any decisions at Old certainly seems that way
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02/11/2010 19:11:00

We shouldn't be seeing ridiculous goals like that in the Prem. It's absurd.
Tony Rocky Horror
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02/11/2010 20:56:00

Ref's fault completely imo, no bones avbout it. There's no way he should have allowed that goal to stand even if he did play advantage.
Arsenales F.C
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03/11/2010 13:24:00

I don't think Clattenburg saw the handball. If he had he would have awarded the free kick and booked Nani. His actions look to suggest he is unsure of what Gomes is doing by way of placing the ball down for a free kick. This is why he allows Nani to score. But to then be told by the linesman what happened and still allow the goal is criminal. The whole "I was playing advantage" is an effort to cover his blatant error. If he was playing advantage he would have done so in a clear manner. Clattenburg is a liar !!!
Jimmy the Saint
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03/11/2010 16:25:00

Call me sentimental or old-fashioned, but I'm a big believer in "the spirit of the game". Call things by the rules, sure, but when Clattenburg was given a chance to consult with the linesman, he had a chance to think about whether it was really the right thing to allow a completely un-earned goal which was created in large part by the officiators' unclear communication. The fact that he decided to allow it anyway, after his assistant gave him an "out", reveals Clattenburg to be a bit of a tw*t.
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04/11/2010 06:14:00

He obviously values the view of Rio Ferdinand more that that of his assistant.
Jimmy the Saint
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04/11/2010 10:15:00

I don't buy any part of that Clattenburgs fault argument. Whatever happened before or afterwards Gomes had clean, unchallenged and firm possession of the ball. He was free to do with it what he wished. Hold onto it, hoof it down field, kick it into touch anything he wanted to do within the laws of the game. He made the call and got it wrong, it's his fault. This wet nursing of players for their own stupid decisions doesn't help the game when looking to get referees to take responsibility for getting wrong the things that do matter.
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04/11/2010 10:27:00

The Tott’s were too deep in their own half for this to be a credible advantage to them and Clattenburg should have taken the opportunity to book Nani (as is the convention for deliberate handball) by stopping play. As it was he took the decision to allow play to continue but didn’t convey that message clearly enough. When Gomes was looking enquiringly at him wanting confirmation of what was happening, why didn’t Clattenburg show a “play on” signal instead of just shrugging his shoulders? And why allow Ferdinand to sipit his bile the way he did? Poor officiating again from Clattenburg. He is no stranger to contentious decisions here and abroad. Having said that, Gomes had bit of a brain-fart, just like Clichy did against Shaktar.
Sir Henry
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05/11/2010 14:12:00

Amos, no-one is saying that Gomes wasn't at fault he clearly was. But to say that Clattenburg wasn't at fault is blinkered and just plain wrong
Jimmy the Saint
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05/11/2010 15:22:00

Whether Clattenburg could have handle certain aspects better or not doesn't make him at fault for the goal. You can question his decisions but essentially he did absolutely nothing wrong even if he could have done it better. It was Gomes's fault - no-one elses. It's a nonsense argument to pillory Clattenburg for Gomes's cock-up.
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05/11/2010 18:12:00


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