Clarke Rages Against Penalty Problems
Steve Clarke has insisted that the soft penalty given in the first half completely changed the complexion of the game.
Speaking to wba.co.uk following the 2-0 defeat, Clarke spoke his mind on Mike Jone's performance in the game.
'There was zero contact on the first penalty decision, I'm not sure what the ref saw. I think there is a culture in the game now that if there is contact players will go down easier than they did a number of years ago, and they go down to draw the referee's attention to the fact that there was a slight contact. In that one there was no contact. Cazorla might have felt there was contact coming but Steven pulled out and from where the referee was he should be able to see.'
As for how it changed the game and our performance up to that point, he adds.
'It changed the shape of the afternoon, it could have been a nervous afternoon for Arsenal, at 0-0 they hadn't created too much. I was comfortable with the way the team was defending and playing at the time. We knew the longer the game went, the more pressure would come on Arsenal and then we would have a chance to play, I think that decision changed it.'
Clarke has no real objections to the second penalty of the evening, but still has an issue with Jone's handling of the lead up to it.
'The second penalty was a clear penalty that I have no complaints about because Brunt fouled Oxlade-Chamberlain the box. But before that Popov was fouled in the lead up to it and for some reason the referee, who had given soft free kicks all afternoon, decided not to give that one. It was another poor decision for us.'
Clarke wasn't finished there though, so I assume he'll have a fine on the way whilst Wenger smiles having missed everything.
'You can add the Mertesacker handball to the poor decisions in the first half. It was a ball from deep, a normal free kick into the box, and for some reason the officials decided it was a free kick. They gave it for a foul on somebody, and, having watching it back, for the life of me I can't see a foul on anyone.'
Bit of a bad run for us at the moment, but we all knew we'd have one given how we started. Just got to suck it up, official incompetence and all, and redouble efforts to get ourselves back onto a winning run.
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