Controversy surrounds Alexis Sanchez’s two goals for Arsenal in their 2-0 win against Hull City at the Emirates earlier today. Firstly contributing to a goal with his own hand and then dispatching a penalty given for a shot cleared off the line by the arm of Hull man, Sam Clucas.
In the first incident, replays show that the ball was obviously turned into the Hull net via the hand of the Arsenal number 7. The contact was almost definitely unintentional, but understandably Mark Clattenburg’s decision to award the goal has been questioned.
The goal came amidst a massive goal-mouth scramble. After the ball is blocked on the line by Andrew Robertson from Kieran Gibbs’ shot, Sanchez strikes the ball, not deliberately, at Hull City goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic, which then rebounds, straight into the hand of the Arsenal number 7, into the empty net. The goal was immediately given by Clattenburg, however he did confer with the assistant referee after but stuck with his decision and gave the goal.
It would have been nearly impossible for the referee to have seen the incident, however it is not certain whether the linesman witnessed it or not, as he was in a good position. This is because the Laws of the Game states that, a free kick should be awarded if the player ‘handles the ball deliberately’. Because of the speed of the ball and the short distance between the Sanchez’s arm and the goalkeeper, it would have been, therefore, impossible for him to have moved his arm out of the way, so as the contact between the arm and the ball wasn’t deliberate, the goal should stand. Another reason, the goal may not have been given is that it is arguable that the Arsenal centre forward’s arm was not in a natural position. However, as the player was stretching for the ball, I believe this was a natural position, as he is stretching with his left leg and his right arm is out for balance.Therefore contact was completely accidental, so the goal rightly stood.
Arsenal and Sanchez’s second goal came from a penalty in added time at the end of the second half. The decision that led to this goal was slightly more straight forward but still a talking point.
Another handball, however this time to stop the ball from entering the Hull goal, not to convert the ball into the Hull goal. A ball into the box towards Lucas Perez and the Hull goalkeeper, Jakupovic is in no mans land. Perez, who signed from Deportivo in the summer, rises and heads the ball back across goal. Hull’s Sam Clucas scrambles across the box to block the shot and as the ball goes past him he desperately sticks his right arm out and the ball strikes him on the upper arm denying the goal. Mark Clattenburg rightly points straight to the spot and issues a straight red card to Clucas for deliberate handball.
The movement from Clucas’ arm to the ball was deliberate to deny the goal, therefore, there is no doubt that it was a penalty. Also the handball denied a clear goal scoring opportunity therefore the red card was also justified.