Two seasons ago, the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal were nowhere near the title as the season run out in May 2016. It was an unlikely battle in English football between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City that eventually saw the Foxes win their first title in history.
But the tensions in the build up to their crowning as champions of England was epitomized in Chelsea’s home game against Spurs. The game later famously dubbed the “battle of the Bridge” ended in a draw that saw Spurs crash out of the title race in a nervous 90 minutes of action.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side took a two goal lead but were pegged back by a late Eden Hazard beauty to sum up a game that had been played with high adrenaline.
The man in the middle of everything that night, Mark Clattenburg has spoke for the first time of the match and how his decisions helped save the face of the game. He insists he could have sent off three Spurs players but rather decided to let the game flow so he won’t be slated for helping Leicester’s course.
“It was theatre. I went in with a game-plan: that I didn’t want Tottenham Hotspur blaming Mark Clattenburg that they were losing the title. There should have been three red cards to Tottenham. I allowed them to self-destruct so all the media, all the people in the world went: ‘Tottenham lost the title’.
If I sent three players off from Tottenham, what are the headlines? ‘Clattenburg cost Tottenham the title. It was pure theatre that Tottenham self-destructed against Chelsea and Leicester won the title.”
Mark Clattenburg, One Football