Mark Clattenburg says Michael Oliver is lucky Arsenal beat Man City

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg is of the opinion that Michael Oliver should have shown a red card to Matteo Kovacic during the first half of Arsenal’s 1-0 victory against Manchester City.

Kovacic was involved in at least two reckless challenges, both of which, in Clattenburg’s view, warranted straight red cards. However, he received a yellow card for one of them and escaped without a booking for the other.

Fortunately for Oliver, Arsenal emerged as the winner of the game, and Clattenburg believes that this outcome spared him from becoming the centre of attention during the international break.

The performance of Premier League referees and the use of VAR have faced increased scrutiny in recent weeks due to a series of high-profile mistakes, which has raised concerns and sparked discussions about officiating standards in the league.

Oliver has escaped being the latest ref to make controversial decisions and Clattenburg writes in the Daily Mail:

“Mateo Kovacic is a very lucky boy and so is referee Michael Oliver, given Arsenal went on to win regardless of Manchester City keeping all 11 men on the pitch.

“Kovacic could have been dismissed not once, but twice. His first yellow could have been upgraded to red if VAR John Brooks had told Oliver to take a second look at his nasty tackle from behind on Martin Odegaard. 

“But when Kovacic then caught Declan Rice late on the ankle, the City midfielder could easily have been shown a second yellow.”

Adding: “But Oliver would have been getting some grief over this international break if it hadn’t been for Gabriel Martinelli’s late goal.”

Just Arsenal Opinion

We have to learn to win games despite mistakes from referees because they have shown that they are prone to these mistakes in recent matches.

The win against City will hand us a significant mental boost ahead of the remaining games of the term and we expect an excellent end to the campaign. 


CALLING ALL ARSENAL FANS! Anyone who would like to contribute an Article or Video opinion piece on JustArsenal, please contact us through this link

Tags Mark Clattenburg michael oliver


  1. I don’t believe two mistimed tackles should show a red, that means you have no room for error. The first one deserved a yellow, the second one deserved a caution. If it was one of ours who did that I would appreciate the ref trying to keep it 11 v 11

    1. Couldn’t disagree more. That first tackle, studs up on Ödegaards Achilles’ heel was extremely dangerous as Ödegaards foot is planted on ground so he could’ve broken his ankle.

      Should’ve been red, wasn’t, so fine. Then just minutes later Kovasic hits, again studs up, Rice’s foot. This time it isn’t as dangerous challenge but still caughts him late so definitely another yellow.

      Ref bottled big time. And by the reaction of most pundits, ex-refs and rival fans, Kovasic should’ve been sent off for either of challenges.

    2. I think if one of our players did that and got sent off, most would be blaming the player, not the ref. I think the benefit of the doubt on the first (yellow not red) is correct, but the second was clearly another yellow imo. Kovacic should have gone.

      1. Yeah I think most fans would be disappointed at the player. Off the top my head,I can think of red cards against Xhaka,and Gabriel Magalhaes where most of our fans blamed the player for being reckless. On the other hand,there have been soft ones where fans thought the ref was too harsh such as the one Tomiyasu received earlier in the season and the one Martinelli received just after coming on a while ago.The Kovacic one definitely belongs in the first category and I doubt any sensible fans would blame the ref if our player was sent off for similar tackles. This is something even a number of City fans agree he was lucky to stay on the pitch.

    3. I disagree.
      The first foul was dangerous but the subjectivity of assessments means these types of challenges are sometimes given as a yellow. The second foul would usually be considered “careless” and “reckless” and would normally result in a yellow card.
      Consider the circumstances in which Oliver was happy to send off Martinelli last season and what happened with Kovacic here.

    4. It’s really about consistency. We’ve seen players sent off for less , even our own players. Any day or most days in the premier league, a player gets a yellow card for Kovacic’s tackle on Rice. Some days,a player gets sent off (red card) for Kovacic’s challenge on Odegaard. I think most fans are just calling for consistency in the application of the rules ; although understandably it is a difficult task given different referees will process events differently.

    5. “mistimed tackle” is not one category because that would also include accidental leg breakers. Or perhaps car-related manslaughterers simply mistimed their turns.

  2. In any reasonable assessment Kovavic deserved at least 2 yellow cards and thus a red for 2 reckless and dangerous studs up challenges. People soon forget that Arsenal rising star midfielder Aaron Ramsey suffered a horrible injury, which almost ended his career by such a tackle. ESPN commentators on Kovacic’ tackle seem to think that a broken leg is needed to get action.
    Once again the lack of consistency and general lack of competency has been demonstrated by referees officiating in the EPL. These are indicative of why these referees are ignored when it comes to appointments to officiate major football tournaments.
    Similarly why does the FA and the referees association refuse to implement VAR in the same manner as Europe and the rest of the world?

  3. If that xhaka he’s getting sent off! We’ve seen it before from Oliver! Questionable reds for arsenal player. I wonder if there a compilation of Oliver’s red cards?

  4. This is the same referee, who’s considered our best, and just a couple of seasons ago gave Martinelli two yellows in less than a minute for almost nothing.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors