The Curse of Clattenburg strikes again

So, the world and his wife are pretty much in agreement about THAT penalty! It never was and should never have been…unless your name’s Mark Clattenburg.

Curse of Clattenburg - Twattenburg was at it again at the Etihad.

Curse of Clattenburg – Twattenburg was at it again at the Etihad.

Even by Twattenburg’s appalling standards when officiating City games, penalising Raheem Sterling was breathtakingly bad.

It begs a question or two of this most arrogant of referees…is he inept or a cheat? Is he hopeless or corrupt or, as some would have us believe, is he one of the most gifted officials of his generation, bursting with integrity?

Never a penalty - Sterling protests his innocence to no avail. Courtesy@MCFC

Never a penalty – Sterling protests his innocence to no avail. Courtesy@MCFC

FIFA certainly seem to think the latter – so that’s a glowing endorsement isn’t it?

The cross from Tottenham’s Danny Rose struck Sterling’s back – it’s debatable if it even deflected onto his arm – but if it did, it clearly was NOT deliberate.

Handball – even under the rules amended by the International Football Association Board in 2013 – has to be a deliberate act.

Former referees Graham Poll and Dermot Gallagher have both had their say in the media, deploring the awarding of the penalty.

Gobsmacked - City's players cannot believe Clattenburg's penalty decision.

Gobsmacked – City’s players cannot believe Clattenburg’s penalty decision.

Even the usual posse of poisonous pundits e.g. Stan Collymore, Robbie Savage and the especially noxious, Niall Quinn, had to concede City had been wronged.

If Twattenburg interprets Sterling’s act as deliberate then he is two of the aforementioned options – a cheat or a complete chump who is not fit to referee.

Manuel Pellegrini – never one to court controversy – highlighted the fact that Twattenburg and his sidekick assistants had managed to engineer three goals for Spurs against City this season.

Kane conversion - Spurs go one up with the penalty that should never have been awarded.

Kane conversion – Spurs go one up with the penalty that should never have been awarded.

Two blatant offsides at White Hart Lane in September, and the farcical penalty at the Etihad, which Harry Kane duly converted.

Clearly Twattenburg’s linesman didn’t know the difference between offside and his own backside, as Sergio Aguero was incorrectly flagged on several occasions.

But – and it’s a big but – notwithstanding Twattenburg’s antics, City were once again found wanting against another of their top four rivals.

Flagging - Sergio was wrongly ruled offside on numerous occasions. Courtesy@MCFC

Flagging – Sergio was wrongly ruled offside on numerous occasions. Courtesy@MCFC

Deservedly beaten 3-1 by Leicester just nine days beforehand, City came up short against a hardworking, energetic and direct Spurs, perfectly marshalled by a superb manager in Mauricio Pochettino.

Ironically it was the blatant injustice of Kane’s 53rd minute penalty that roused Pellegrini’s side from comparative lethargy.

It’s a question asked by City supporters time and time and time again – why does their team have to be ‘provoked’ before attempting to make a match of it?

Happy Clapper - Pochettino shows his delight at the Etihad victory.

Happy Clapper – Pochettino shows his delight at the Etihad victory.

Infuriating and frustrating, City either cannot, or will not, put in a decent shift to win games against opponents who adopt a high tempo.

Are they are simply not up to it? Does their physical conditioning let them down? Are they mentally incapable of fulfilling the terrace battle cry of ‘fighting ‘till the end’?

Far too often City have failed to fight from the start, leaving themselves chasing lost causes as the clock ticks down to the final whistle.

Hart beaten - Joe stood no chance with either of the Spurs goals. Courtesy@MCFC

Hart beaten – Joe stood no chance with either of the Spurs goals. Courtesy@MCFC

It’s all well and good getting pumped up in the face of adversity, but where’s the desire, the hunger and the work ethic when the kick-off comes around?

Yes, the injury list is extensive and well chronicled, but that cannot be an excuse week in and week out.

Pellegrini speaks of only having 14 senior players available for weeks on end. In which case why did City start the season with a ‘senior’ squad of just 21 (including 3rd string goalkeeper Richard Wright) instead of the 25 players allowed?

Head-scratching - Kelechi and Sergio are deflated after Spurs' winner. Courtesy@MCFC

Head-scratching – Kelechi and Sergio are deflated after Spurs’ winner. Courtesy@MCFC

Sterling and Iheanacho weren’t included as they were under the 21-year old threshold at the start of the season, so is it a case of ‘fail to plan’ ‘plan to fail’?

A lamentable record of taking just 1 point from 15 against the top three of Leicester, Spurs and Arsenal is pathetic for a team of City’s stature and ambition.

Nacho man - Kelechi smashes home City's equaliser. Courtesy@MCFC

Nacho man – Kelechi smashes home City’s equaliser. Courtesy@MCFC

Thankfully, rumours of Pep Guardiola having an escape clause in his contract if City fail to finish in the top four of the Premier League, are ill-founded and mischievous – but it’s just as well.

The gut churning Valentine’s Day loss was another collective failure. It might be heresy to mumble it, but even the untouchables of Aguero and Silva chronically underperformed, along with the usual suspects.

Pointing the way - Can Captain Kompany get City on track for the title?Courtesy@MCFC

Pointing the way – Can Captain Kompany get City on track for the title?Courtesy@MCFC

On a day of few positives, Captain Vincent Kompany came through the full 90 minutes intact and Kelechi Iheanacho smashed home his ninth goal in his debut season.

It’s now 16 days before the next league fixture at Anfield, 36 points remain up for grabs and, according to Kompany, a third Premier League title is still far from lost.

The return of the charismatic and commanding skipper could yet be the catalyst to finally get City’s campaign going. He said City would be ‘stupid to forget their history’ adding ‘…there is not a chance we will give up on the title’.

Valentine's Day Disaster - Eriksen hits the winning goal for Spurs on his birthday!

Valentine’s Day Disaster – Eriksen hits the winning goal for Spurs on his birthday!

One can only hope Kompany’s words have more substance than the lame mutterings of other players in recent times.

It will require a seismic shift in mental and physical application, from a forlorn squad and a departing manager, but it can be done.

The worrying difference between 2016 and the successful title run ins of 2012 and 2014, is that City have never hit a consistent ‘purple patch’ of form, apart from the opening few games in August and September.

Kelechi celebration - Iheanacho's ninth goal of the season was a highlight of a disappointing Valentine's Day. Courtesy@MCFC

Kelechi celebration – Iheanacho’s ninth goal of the season was a highlight of a disappointing Valentine’s Day. Courtesy@MCFC

City’s odds to win the title have drifted out to as high as 7/1, so if Mission Improbable becomes Mission Accomplished by May 15th any fan who takes a punt can dine out in style, while ramming humble pie down the throats of the legion of City haters.

By contrast, the odds on a second half Spurs penalty at the Etihad have yet to be revealed by any betting syndicates in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta or Singapore!

Next up is a triple header of tough cup ties against a resurgent Chelsea, a difficult Dinamo Kiev and a Wembley date with Liverpool.

Priorities - Pellegrini has to get the best out of City as they battle of four fronts. Courtesy@MCFC

Priorities – Pellegrini has to get the best out of City as they battle on four fronts. Courtesy@MCFC

As the fixtures come thick and fast, Pellegrini needs to prioritise his competitions and take a roll call on the fit and walking wounded in his squad.

If you rewind just a few short years ago to a ‘norm’ of League Cup 2nd Round exits, FA Cup 3rd Round debacles, non-existent European games and a mantra of ‘let’s concentrate on the league/try and avoid relegation’, it’s surely a welcome dilemma.

Silva salvage - Merlin came agonisingly close to grabbing an equaliser in the dying moments. Courtesy@MCFC

Silva salvage – Merlin came agonisingly close to grabbing an equaliser in the dying moments. Courtesy@MCFC

The best form of revenge is success and despite the disappointments, success is still well within City’s grasp.

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

Dedicated to the memory of true blue Craig Tarry and the members of Viola Beach after their tragic accident in Sweden at the weekend.

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

10 Comments

  1. February 15, 2016  6:01 pm by seablue Reply

    Let's not forget Clottedberk sent off Craig Bellamy for diving, when he was clearly fouled, and made inappropriate remarks about him to city staff. Obviously a maverick with a personal agenda!

    • February 15, 2016  6:33 pm by David Walker Reply

      It's not as if he has previous with MCFC over many years is it? People always point to the 6-1 at Old Trafford but we were THAT good that no referee could deny us our victory.

  2. February 15, 2016  6:20 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    Think we have all had our say on the abysmal Clattenberk, but he wasn't alone in our demise.
    Sergio 'messed up' a couple of decent chances and Ya Ya who I thought had a decent game gave the ball away for Spurs second goal.
    Accepting all the injuries to key players, the available set-up seems a bit one paced in build up and there is a lack of decent balls in the box and when one does come there are not the players there to 'put it away'
    We have not if I am correct beaten any of the top 6 teams and unless we put more sustained pressure on teams especially at home we are going to struggle
    Kompany and Zab were probably the pick of the players and young Iheanacho constantly improves. Sterling can be a bit enigmatic and hopefully his undoubted talent will shine for 90+ minutes in upcoming games
    Am with you, David, on both Bon Jovi and Keeping the Faith but it will need that extra 25-30% in all games to get the rewards that the early season deserved.
    Please get better Navas,KdB,Nasri etc - your club needs you

    • February 15, 2016  6:31 pm by David Walker Reply

      Troubling news, which I have still to confirm but incredible if true...Clattenburg scheduled to ref Chelsea v City on Sunday. Surely the FA aren't that stupid or provocative? Sorry, of course they are!
      It'll be a big ask to win this third title, but you never know...

  3. February 15, 2016  7:01 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    The world & his wife know Clattenburg was wrong he knows by now he was wrong, but what gets me is nothing will happen never does. Someone at FA will say Mark you got that wrong to which he will of replied looks like it & that's it forgotten that's what annoys me. He is such an arrogant man he probably doesn't believe he's wrong. Once again we were slow out of the blocks injury's beginning to bite don't know but I fear the season is imploding on us. Just hope Vinny being back can turn things around for us. Next up Chelsea is it going to be a weakened side if so that's another trophy we can kiss goodbye. Be glad when this season ends worst than last season. MP should of gone in the summer along with some of the players.

    • February 15, 2016  7:17 pm by David Walker Reply

      A lot of truth and commonsense in your comments Doug. The thing is City were holding out for Pep and retaining MP was logical - who knows it still might if we can somehow wake up and grab a couple of trophies. Happily settle for a 3rd Premier League title - that's big of me isn't it? ;-)

      • February 16, 2016  12:06 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

        Agree Dave after the season we have had 3rd will do.

        • February 16, 2016  12:30 pm by David Walker Reply

          Not ready to surrender the title with 36 points up for grabs - we can all too easily be sucked into the media hype. That said we know what we see on the pitch week in and week out, and it's been patchy at best this season. You never know, the boys in blue could yet surprise us ;-)

  4. February 15, 2016  7:46 pm by jon cantrill Reply

    28th December 2006 - ball cleared off the line by a sheff utd player from a Micah Richards header (Clattenburke the ref) no penalty, and after half time he told the offending utd player that he'd been lucky not to be sent off.

    Ten years of incompetence or ten years of corrupt officiating, I know which one I think is the truth

    • February 15, 2016  9:59 pm by David Walker Reply

      I presume with his hand(s) ;-) This referee has a long list of previous 'offences' - sorry innocent errors - that he's perpetrated against City. Strange that, isn't it? Must be pure coincidence.

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