Penalty or Not: Mark Clattenburg and Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere Handball

There’s a lot of buzz about this supposed Jack Wilshere handball in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City  Saturday. Manuel Pellegrini thinks it should have been a penalty; referee Mark Clattenburg did not.

Let’s be clear:

This issue is not why Manchester City did not win this match, despite what Pellegrini wants you to believe. The two Arsenal goals happened before this, and both were clean goals that just made City’s defense and goalkeeper look like kids.

Let’s also be clear that I’m a Tottenham fan, so hardly a biased voice for Wilshere or Arsenal.

But I am a fan of Clattenburg, and I know how he manages games. He tries to let players play, and I think this would have been a harsh call. Wilshere never “handled” the ball; it hit him twice and he was clearly trying to keep his arms out of the way. The first time, as you can see below, you might be able to claim he moved it with his arm, but so did the Manchester City player it bounced off next.

Clattenburg would naturally be reluctant to penalize for Wilshere for deliberate handball.

And that’s the key. For a referee to call a penalty for a handball in the box, it has to be deemed deliberate. It’s hard to look at the video below and believe Wilshere was deliberately handling the ball, unless you’re very partisan or anti-Sweden.

Note: I’ve mentioned before how difficult video is becoming to obtain. Most media outlets are showing still photos of the incident, and claiming it as proving handball, which shows only a nanosecond in the play and is unfair to Wilshere. This is why it’s important for reporters and people like me to have access to video.

View the replay.

What do you think? Should City have had a penalty?


  • it was never a hand ball, it had bounced towards him from a man city player that was stood right next to him, his arm was tucked in and it looked as if he was turning away. even if he wanted to he could not of avoided it. from what i have seen neither hunky clatts or his assistant had there views blocked by players so even if it was a handball, which it wasn’t, i don’t think they would of seen it so wouldn’t of given it any way. pellegrini is a right winger, i don’t think sir Alex moaned that much about things when things went against man u, hell sir Alex even stood up for refs occasionally.


  • How is this not a penalty, they showed this replay in video on match of the day, the guys arm makes contact with the ball atleast twice possibly three times in the sequence. Steve Hanson (i think that is his name) said it was definately a handball. It looks terrible at live speed and atrocious in slow motion. This fella should rather give up officiating after the Man United v Leceister game. I should probably say I am a United fan, but i am sure that is clear from my other post on this weeks Clattenburg serious of clangers. Oh and I just discovered this blog


    • Remember, a penalty for a handball has to be seen as “deliberate”. Just because a ball bounces around and hits the player isn’t an automatic pen. (And btw, the second hit was off the Man City player’s arm.)

      Refs take speed of play, distance from the ball when hit and whether the player was trying to get out of the way into consideration. Clatts certainly COULD have given a penalty, but it would have been harsh.


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