Chelsea 2-3 Man United: A Closer Look at the Contentious Second Half Calls

Hemant DuaCorrespondent IIOctober 29, 2012

Chelsea 2-3 Man United: A Closer Look at the Contentious Second Half Calls

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    More than 24 hours have passed since the final whistle was blown to signal the end of the big game on Sunday.

    Nine-man hosts Chelsea went down battling against Manchester United, as most of you would know. The final score of 3-2, in favor of the Red Devils, tells us a lot about the game, and yet so little.

    I'm hoping the dust has settled somewhat, and assuming too that most fans from both sets of sides have now regained their composure.

    Here's hoping you lot find yourselves in a more balanced position to discuss the happenings from a cool, dark evening at Stamford Bridge.

    After a highly controversial top-of-the-table clash in the Barclays Premier League, match referee Mark Clattenburg has come under the microscope, and with reason.

    He, along with his team of officials, made a number of contentious calls that shaped the game. Whether they got them right or wrong is up for debate. Here I deliver my verdict on the big decisions that could have gone either way.

The Red Card Brandished to Branislav Ivanovic

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    This one was an easy one to call, I thought.

    With a sharp turn and right footed pass, Robin Van Persie played Ashley Young in, who looked to be through on goal.

    To be honest here, Young was well clear of Ivanovic, and the Serb undoubtedly denied him a clear cut scoring opportunity.

    A yellow card had to be the minimum punishment meted out, while the red given was by no means out of line.

    Verdict: Mark Clattenburg makes the right call.

Fernando Torres' Second Yellow

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    I've got one word for this: Ludicrous.

    Torres had been cautioned just before the interval; a booking he certainly merited for a high boot on Tom Cleverley.

    In the second half, with the Blues already down to ten men, Torres went to ground under Johnny Evans' apparent challenge when just outside the box. Mark Clattenburg, it seems, was convinced Chelsea's No. 9 had dived, and with the blink of an eye, Torres too was given his marching orders.

    While the Spaniard went down a bit easily, replays confirmed there was contact from Evans. In retrospect, that was a very harsh second yellow. A game that was proving to be a neutral's delight had now been marred by the ref's double red in the space of five minutes.

    Verdict: The referee gets it all wrong, and with that, Chelsea's chances of winning evaporate.

Javier Hernandez' Goal

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    It was a blatant offside, let's be clear about that.

    Van Persie's initial shot saw the ball ricochet off the post, and at the time when Rafael was lining up a cross, Hernandez can clearly be seen making his way out of the Chelsea goal. He is not in line with even the keeper, let alone the last defender.
    Hey linesman, ya sleepin' there?

    Verdict: The linesman messes this one up. He has to do better. A real shocker. Perhaps the time to introduce a video referral system is here.

The Valencia Booking Late on

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    Valencia went down under Jon Obi Mikel's challenge, with the Nigerian on a yellow. I, for one, thought that was a foul at the edge of the box.

    Ball United, or so I thought.

    But no, Mr Clattenburg mysteriously puts Valencia in the book for diving. It was quite ironic, almost as if the referee was trying to give Chelsea a minuscule consolation prize.

    Verdict: Another poor decision. Mikel certainly didn't deserve a second yellow there, but you can't say that was a dive from the Ecuador international Valencia either.

Final Words

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    I hardly stand alone when I say that the performance of the officials tarnished what had all the ingredients of a great game of football.

    Clattenburg, in particular, had a horror of a game.

    Gary Neville echoed my sentiments on the decision to send off Torres, arguably the one that changed the complexion of the match.

    Other than the heavy criticism that has followed, the referee has another potential problem coming his way.

    You've got a lot to clear at the moment, Mr Clattenburg.