Tensions should be high at Stamford Bridge when Manchester United make their return to face Chelsea, only 3 days after one of the most controversial matches in the last few years, with Mark Clattenburg in the eye of the storm.
And what seemed to be a smoking gun that might reveal a referee a lot of people were really anticipating to see get the hammer befall upon his head is looking a little less convincing at the moment.
Clattenburg himself is convinced that the assistant referees, who heard every word he said over their communication system, will approve his side of the story. He said nothing racist to either John Obi Mikel or Juan Mata.
What’s worse for Chelsea, is that they came out with accusations flying all too soon. Now, the momentum has stopped, and while the probe and digging haven’t gone to the full depths of what happened on Sunday evening, it’s becoming allegedly clear that the basis for accusations and conviction isn’t so solid.
Obi Mikel never heard Mark Clattenburg use the word ‘monkey’ or anything of such to him. David Luiz and Ramires came out with the information, but now it is said that Luiz wasn’t that close to the events and Ramires isn’t exactly a perfect English speaker. And as for Mata? No one was quite sure who was the Spanish T%^& Clattenburg was referring to, or who heard him say it.
All of a sudden, Chelsea are talking to lawyers to advise them if they should even proceed further with these allegations. It becomes clearer that this might have been done out of spite, and nothing would have come out if Chelsea would have won that match.
Clattenburg messed up on that night, like he has previously. He’s one of the more arrogant and unusual referees in his approach to players, and his behavior outside of the football world, which has led him to trouble more than once or twice. But he’s a highly regarded referee both in England and in FIFA, getting a chance to officiate in the Olympic finals between Mexico and Brazil.
If nothing comes out of this, and Clattenburg turns out to be innocent and clean of all charges, Chelsea have really dug themselves a new, deep and dangerous hole. Clattenburg was bad in his decision making, regardless of it being Manchester United or not. That’s a case for a different theory on conspiracies. But these kind of baseless allegations, if they turn out not be true, can end a man’s career just like that, in a second. But Chelsea began their road on this slippery slope, and will have to see it through, for good and for bad.