Kevin Friend takes charge of Arsenal’s game against Swansea on Monday night, so what can the Gunners expect?
Well, Friend last refereed an Arsenal game at the start of March when he refereed our game against QPR. The introduction to my review of him after that performance started “At halftime I tweeted that I would be complaining about the referee no matter what the result.”
In that game he refused to give a penalty for a blatant pull-back on Mesut Ozil, a foul that would also have seen Karl Henry red carded for a second yellow. He’s also one of those refs who let the opposition kick and shove with impunity but, should they find themselves with no option but to book one of them will immediately produce a yellow for the next Arsenal player to commit a foul, regardless of whether it warrants it or not.
Giving a foul against Olivier Giroud when two QPR players clashed heads in an incident that had nothing to do with the Frenchman, Friend endeared himself to no-one and I expect a similarly inept performance at the Emirates on Monday evening.
In the two other matches Friend has refereed involving Arsenal he somehow managed to card Arsenal players at a ratio of 7:4 despite the opposition being the rather kicky Everton and Sunderland. In the QPR game he somehow found a way to book only two QPR players and one Arsenal (Bellerin).
Monday night will be his fourth Arsenal game of the season and also his fourth in charge of the Swans. For them, he’s issued nine yellows and a red and somehow managed to book not one single Chelsea player when they met in September. Any match that sees Chelsea leave the pitch without a card immediately arouses my suspicion.
Not the worst referee in the division, that’s hardly a mega-compliment when you consider the state of some of the others.
Still, expect a frustrating evening.