Written by Sam Royden-Ryell
After a disappointing game at home to Watford, the team really needed to start firing on all cylinders with a lot of first team players coming back into the fold. The referee appointed for this difficult away game at West Brom is Mark Clattenburg. Last season, Clattenburg was my choice for referee of the season, as mentioned in The West Ham Way fanzine. Clattenburg has had a decent start to the new season, and officiated the Manchester derby well last weekend.
In a first half, where West Ham’s defence were in no mans land and West Brom took advantage of the horror show in front of them, Mark Clattenburg had a good half and got the big calls right. Arthur Masuaku had a shocking couple of minutes after handling the ball twice: conceding a free kick and a penalty. The first hand ball was just outside the area when Masuaku looked like he was pushed in the back by West Brom striker Rondon. The West Ham left back fell and the ball hit his hand; Clattenburg didn’t feel there was enough pressure on Masuaku to be a foul. The second hand ball was inside the area, which lead to West Brom’s first goal. From a fans prospective I cannot understand Masuaku’s decision making. However, Clattenburg was in a great position to see this and correctly awarded a penalty to West Brom.
The only caution of the first half went to West Brom defender Craig Dawson. Dawson was late with his challenge on Masuaku inside the West Ham half and left the West Ham man in a heap. West Ham were on the attack so Clattenburg played advantage for West Ham. In the next stoppage of play, Clattenburg issued Dawson a caution for his challenge, which is brilliant refereeing considering the time between the foul and the stoppage in play.
Mark Clattenburg was more involved in the second half awarding the second penalty of the game, but could there have been a third or forth? In my opinion, I feel that goalkeepers get special treatment and too much protection from referees, especially in a 50/50 scenario. This happened with Ben Foster in the second half when Jonathan Calleri challenged for a ball bouncing inside the penalty area. The assistant referee gave a foul, as Foster jumped and fell over Calleri, which was a strange one. Calleri, involved again in the penalty area, felt he was pushed by Claudio Yacob. Yacob’s starting position was on the wrong side of Calleri and both players challenged an in-swinging ball and both fell to the ground. Clattenburg wasn’t interested and waved away the appeals.
Clattenburg awarded a penalty to West Ham in the second half which in my opinion was correct. Dimitri Payet was clipped by Brendan Galloway 6 yards from goal and Clattenburg was in a good position to point to the spot. Clattenburg could have given another penalty after Payet’s cross hit a West Brom players arm but he again waved this away. From a first view, it was difficult to see but Clattenburg clearly felt this wasn’t a penalty.
With West Ham having a lot of the possession for majority of the game, Clattenburg allowed the game flow throughout and played advantage well. West Brom’s Allan Nyom unfairly challenged Sofiane Feghouli inside West Ham’s half and Clattenburg played the advantage well and in the next stop in the play cautioned Nyom. Sofiane Feghouli was also cautioned for dissent after Clattenburg correctly waved away Dimitri Payet’s numerous penalty appeals.
Overall, Clattenburg did have a good game and two of the penalties that he awarded were correct. Clattenburg showed why he is regarded as one of the best in the country. His awareness and anticipation was apparent as he played advantage very well. The first 60 minutes of the match were embarrassing by West Ham. We had 70% of the possession and yet every time West Brom attacked, they looked like they were going to score. Bilić and the team need to sit down and sort this mess out. Next week, we’re at home to Southampton.