It was a bumper week of Premier League action and expect that to be a running theme over the festive period as the fixtures, like snow in Scotland, come thick and fast. That meant twice the amount of controversy and mistakes from the nation’s top footballers, teams and referees. Speaking of referees, one former official couldn’t keep his mouth shut and he’s included in the Wally of the Week shortlist.
3. Shkodran Mustafi
Due to his promising start to the season, he was being dubbed the new Franz Beckenbauer by some Arsenal fans. However, it all unravelled for the poor German when Manchester United came to town. His side hadn’t started the game well and were behind within the first five minutes after Antonio Valencia had the freedom of the Emirates to score past Petr Cech. Minutes later Mustafi was caught in possession by Jesse Lingard after dallying on the ball for far too long in his own half. Lingard combined with Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial to double United’s lead and compound the misery on Mustafi and Arsene Wenger. To make things worse, Mustafi picked up an injury after making the mistake and was escorted off the pitch, probably to their relief, by the Arsenal medical team.
2. Davinson Sanchez
Here we have another centre-back who’d made an impressive start to the season. The Colombian arrived from Ajax with a hefty price tag but has adapted to life in the Premier League with surprising ease but seems to be a little unsure without Toby Alderweireld to guide him. Tottenham are not on the best run of form at the moment and Sanchez didn’t help matters when he was sent off in the second half of their game with Watford at the weekend. Richarlison had pushed the ball past the defender on the halfway line and was running into enemy territory. That is until Sanchez launched his arm across the Brazilian and smashed him in the face with his elbow. Martin Atkinson correctly sent Sanchez off and he will face further disciplinary sanctions because of the manner of the sending off. Not the wisest thing to be doing when you’re short on confidence, low in form and right in front of the fourth official.
1. Mark Clattenburg
Just when we thought we’d heard the end of him. Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg decided he’d been out of the limelight for too long as he returned to the football world with sensational comments about a game he had refereed last year. On a podcast in the United States, ‘Clatts’ claimed that he’d let Spurs ‘self-destruct’ in their match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge which saw them squander a two-goal lead and surrender the league title to Leicester. Nine Tottenham players were booked in the feisty game which has been dubbed the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ because of the bad temper of the game.
Clattenburg also said three of those Tottenham players should’ve been sent off but he kept them on the pitch to keep him out of the headlines. If he’d sent them off, the headlines would’ve said ‘Clattenburg loses Spurs the title’ but instead he allowed Spurs to take the blame for coming up short. At the time, Clattenburg, the man with tattoos commemorating the Champions League and Euro 2016 finals he’s taken charge of, was praised for how he’d handled the game and it was celebrated as one of the best of the Premier League era. But since these comments, he’s not done himself or any of the other referees any favours. Well, what can you expect from someone who likes attention just a little bit more than the average person?