At halftime I tweeted that I would be complaining about the referee no matter what the result.
So, it’s nice that we won because that makes this all seem a lot less like sour grapes.
Kevin Friend was not the worst referee we’ve seen all season, for sure. But that, in itself, is backhanded compliment.
When I’d made my declaration that I would be slating him he hadn’t yet waved away the blatant pull-back on Mesut Ozil inside the box that was not only a penalty but a clear red card for the already booked Karl Henry as Ozil was just about to slot the ball home for Arsenal’s first.
In what was a quite tedious first half the ref made a number of dubious decisions, nearly all of which went against Arsenal.
He allowed Bobby Zamora to get away with constant shoves when players were airborne as well as other general pulling and pushing with impunity, and allowed Sandro to do what he does best – catch players late – without awarding freekicks.
Friend also invoked the law that states you must immediately book an Arsenal player when they commit their next foul if you have just booked an opposition player. This time it was Hector Bellerin who was carded while Junior Holiett was allowed to get away with much worse in the second half.
I particularly liked the freekick he gave against Olivier Giroud when two QPR players clashed heads without involving him.
That was fun.
In the end, Friend’s performance didn’t cost Arsenal and it is a poor reflection of the state of referring in this division that I don’t even think he was that bad.
Compared to the likes of Anthony Taylor et al, who is?