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RefWatch – Arsenal v Wigan Athletic (22/01/2011 15:00)

RefWatch – Arsenal v Wigan Athletic (22/01/2011 15:00)

By DogFace


Today’s RefWatch is dedicated to Phil Gregory (although Dogface hasn’t approved this because we didn’t have time to tell him).   Phil writes on economics and does our match previews, and today joins the refereeing clan by taking his first match.  Everyone at Untold and in the wider multiverse wishes you all the best Phil


  • Referee:              Kevin Friend
  • Assistant 1:         2nd Official
  • Assistant 2:         3rd Official
  • 4th Official:        Lee Probert

Good morning stat-fans and welcome to an unusually piss poor Refwatch.

‘But why?’

I hear you ask [yes I hear you]; well – it breaks down like this – today we have the pleasure of Kevin Friend and this is his first time ever at the whistle for Arsenal in the EPL.

‘But what about Wigan’

I hear you interject… well – our Kev has only had one match for Wigan and they lost that finishing at -1.00 against the handicap – so I suppose that’s something.

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I hear you yell… ok – it’s the same 4th official we had in the last EPL (West Ham United) game and not much has changed then – we have Lee Probert involved in an EPL Arsenal match yet again – what are the odds of that then?

A recap: 1 win, 2 draws and 0 losses; 1.67 PPG, +0.33 AHS, 1.00 BPM and 11.33 FPB – more info can be found here:

‘Right, then make up a nice pretty graph about Lee Probert and Wigan then and let’s look at that’

I hear you feign interest… ok – I’ll do that but, if you recall, we did have Lee Probert as the referee in the previous EPL match against Wigan [away] in which we were mugged 2-2, but we’ll have another glance right after we have a quick look at Kevin Friend:

  • Full name:                          Kevin Friend
  • Date of birth:                     8 July 1971 (1971-07-08) (age 39)
  • Home town:                       Leicestershire, England
  • EPL Referee Since:          2009/2010
  • EPL Games to date:         21

<Kevin Friend.gif>

Suits you sir!

What’s encouraging here is that Kevin is a sprightly 39 and should be able to keep up with the run of play, but as a relative new boy, and will probably be relying on the more ‘experienced’ Lee Probert for guidance.  Lee has been a referee since he was 13 as he was crap at football – well this may or may not be the case but the real reason is that his father [Doug Friend] was also a referee.  There seems to be a lot this sort of thing going on at the ‘highest’ levels of refereeing in the UK [following in the father’s footsteps] which just goes to show, it’s not what you know it’s who you know… and also what you know… y’know?

Our Kev has had his share of the usual controversies, selective myopia and erratic calls [as you would expect from a Select Group referee] but most of those were just him proving his mugging mettle in the Championship so we should be fair to him here as an EPL official, just keep an eye on him and document it.

So without further ado – let’s check out how Wigan do under the auspices [or not] of Lee Probert:

Lee Probert has had 10 games for Wigan Athletic consisting of 0 wins, 3 draws and 7 losses… and we thought we had it bad – that is woeful form in anyone’s book.

Wigan Athletic are currently in 25th in Lee Probert’s personal Points Per Game, for matches in the EPL, with an average of 0.30 PPG – yes that’s right – less that a 3rd of a point per game – a whole season of that kind of form and you would finish with 11 points!

In Lee Probert’s personal Handicap Swing League, for matches in the EPL, Wigan Athletic come 22nd with an average negative swing of -0.68… hmm, not as bad – so it looks like Wigan have had a lot of games under Lee that they were never expected to win anyway – but still pretty poor… which is amazing really when you consider how much of a positive swing he gave them this season in the 2-2 draw!

In other news – Wigan Athletic are currently in 19th in Lee Probert’s personal Booking’s Per Match League, for matches in the EPL, with an overall average of 1.60 BPM and in Lee Probert’s personal Fouls Per Booking League, for matches in the EPL, Wigan Athletic come 14th with an overall average of 8.56 FPB.

Let’s have a look now at what little data exists regarding Kevin Friend vs the EPL for the swing agains the handicap (selected teams only):

Teams on the down-swing are Blackburn, Bolton, Stoke and Tottenham [I approve] and teams on the up-swing are Birmingham, Fulham and Sunderland.  As I said – very little data – but if you can find some kind of pattern there worthy of note then please leave a comment.

So what can we expect?!  I dunno… I mean – I reckon we’ll win or we should do – even if we have the pitch of the pitch titled against us we’ll still have ‘the pitch’ in that it’s not a cabbage patch [like Wigan’s] so it’ll be all passes, moves and avoid the hooves!

But before I go I did notice a couple of games that caught mine eye – I wouldn’t normally say anything but it’s such a minimalist Refwatch that I may as well give you something.

Consider these Manchester matches:

Match 1 – the Murks v the Burks

  • Manchester United v Birmingham City (15:00)
  • Referee:      Mike Jones
  • Assistant 1:                 John Flynn
  • Assistant 2: Andy Madley
  • 4th Official:                Phil Dowd

Just like the Tottenham game – this is a bad choice of officials for the Red Devils… so maybe we are witnessing a little ‘reigning in’ here to plump the brand.  Everyone bangs on about how the EPL is biased in favour of the Murky Mancs… and it is in a way – but there are conflicts of bias that you must understand.  These things are not black and white and despite SAF’s influence, he’ll never get it all his own way – after all, it’s in nobody’s economic interest for Manchester United to win the EPL before the ides of May.

Let’s look to the other side of Manchester

  • Aston Villa v Manchester City (17:30)
  • Referee               :               Howard Webb
  • Assistant 1:         Dave Bryan
  • Assistant 2:         Darren Cann
  • 4th Official:        Mike Dean

Ho, ho, ho – if Mancini is ‘clued up’ here he’ll be parking that gold plated bus again – almost a ‘perfect storm’ methinks!  Waddayareckon – Darren Bent to score on his debut?  I can almost hear the orgasmic excitement of the Sky commentators already.


But don’t get your hopes up, it’s a funny old game and we’ll wait and see what the weekend brings.

The Complete Wigan Extravaganza

Step aside Ms Cheese – Phil’s got his computer going

Bogus Cheese runs her fingers over the pundits

Snooping around Wigan.   (This might be a health hazard)

And Elsewhere

The Untold Untolds (plus some Untold Tolds)

The History of Arsenal in 3 trillion words

Making the Arsenal, shorter, funnier, less accurate

24 comments to RefWatch – Arsenal v Wigan Athletic (22/01/2011 15:00)

  • Nabil Danial

    Another excellent post! Keep it up! GO GUNNERS!!

  • DogFace

    This one’s for you Phil!

  • Red Jessie

    My heart has just dropped. This guy is seriously weak. He is not premier league status. He has been pushed through becuase of the poor quality of officials around him. He is in a group with people like Mason, Jones and Probert who are also seriously weak. Tip of the day – watch out for a flurry of cards, many puzzling decisions, a few chants of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ and a good chance of a red card.

  • Armin

    Hey everyone has to start somewhere so our friend, has to. Lets not dismiss him even before we see what he is capable of. I don’t ask Friend to be friendly, just objective and I ll be fine with it.

  • Gf60

    Well, young Oliver was unknown to us when he had us last year. Seem to remember him getting one of the highest scores Walter has given. ?Walter?

    Hell of a pity it was against WBA and we lost. Hope this is not an ongoing trend!

  • rusty

    In hindsight, it seemed to me like the linesman had a lot of the bad decisions (aside from the Fabregas / Caldwell battle, and he got his in the end). Will await Walter’s review for a professional assessment.

  • Mahesh

    Wow! What a horrible ref today! I wonder who taught him? 😉

  • DogFace

    lol – well the Mancs murked their way to 5-0… I’ve only seen the half time highlights and Birmingham looked like they were just laying down and taking it – shame on them!

    Our game was a stroll in the park to say the least.

  • Sammy The Snake

    You should have seen B’ham managers delight at losing to ManU at the end of the game. His face was a big smile when he shook SAF’s hand. I think he almost bent to kiss it, then he noticed the cameras…

  • Wrenny

    McLeish must have got some pointers on playing Utd from Fat Sam. And they worked a treat.

  • RedGooner

    The ref was pure crap to be honest no protection for fabregas not surprised at all that he eventualy lashed out on caldwell.

    Cards needed to be handed out much earlier as fabregas was targeted by the wigan team in general we dont need injuries due to poor referees.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Does anyone around here remember me sayin 3-0 to Arsenal? Yeahhhhh!

  • DogFace

    LOL – Bent just scored… whadda the odds eh?!


  • DogFace

    Well – that’s next years season ticket paid for, cheers Webby and thankyou Dazza!

  • Sammy The Snake

    Dogface – your prediction was with a question mark. Mine had an exclamation mark!
    I win.

    The real winner today was AAA, they were all right all along. Wenger must go. He can’t even teach our players to take penalties. We beat Wigan with just 3 goals. We should be more like Liverpool, winning by 3 goals. Even better, we should spend like manC and then lose to Villa!

  • DogFace

    Mine had very good odds in my favour – so I win: Villa (win), Sell ManC and Bent to score – therefore I win – lost a bit on selling ManU but the City game came in like a tsunami of cash.

    3-0 was a good call though – fair play… exact scores can be tricky – but you would have doubled through I reckon buying Arsenal on the handicap. I thought we’d win but I had no idea as to the margin.

    Also, as a fan, it’s never a good idea to back your team, the money will weigh heavy on their backs – real fans should always stick money the other way to take the pressure off!


  • walter

    For the impatient ones: I will only have the time from sunday afternoon.
    But must say that I had to mention the ref too much to my liking in my live match report. But we will see what it makes at the end of the day, which will be tomorrow in this case

  • Sammy The Snake

    Have never put money on sports, probably never will.

  • DogFace

    It never held any appeal to me Sammy until I realised that gambling is THE corrupting influence in football – it’s something I had to understand as part of my research, the easiest way to do that, for me, was to get involved in it to some extent.

    I now use it as a marker to give substance to my theories…

    …after all – money talks.

  • FinnGooner

    Sammy I was thinking how AAA had won too. Mainly after the match when Cesc tweeted that he was disappointed not to score and RvP saying he is sorry for missing penalty (he got hattrick).
    Wigans goalkeeper had great day yesterday and I’m happy with 3-0 victory.

  • steven

    I for one think Spurs are putting together one hell of a squad, they may or maynot challenge for the title this season, but they will have one hell of a team by next season if they can keep the team together, which there is no reason to believe they can’t. VDV for me is the signing of the season so far, Modric is on fire and Bale is the most improved player in the league this season. They have added quality to the ranks like Pienaar for very little money and are being linked with the likes of Diarra and others. There is still a long way to go this season, but next season I think will see a huge difference in the league, with United, Chelsea and Arsenal having to make way for the likes of City and Spurs. As a United fan it’s hard to say, but unless we invest in the team we will be under severe pressure to compete with Spurs and City and I think exactly the same of Chelsea and Arsenal. Chelsea have lost some of their strength in depth and the team is showing signs of age and injuries, Arsenal are young and growing, but still lack steal and seem to have a policy of moving players on and bringing through youth all the time, which means they remain in “transition” – interesting times ahead ! Cheers

  • A Casual Observer


  • gandiv

    Just reflecting on the Wigan game on Saturday and I am starting to get slightly worried about what’s going on at the Arsenal.

    The atmosphere on Saturday was a complete joke. The worst I have even seen at the Grove. This was alarming as we won the game 3.0.

    My season ticket is situated is the so called red section where blocks 5 and 6 generally generate most of the noise that comes from the stadium. Though it has his critics I do feel that normally it’s a great atmosphere in these blocks and it has his regulars that are of older age (not teenagers or jcl’s) that really help generate noise. These fans make a massive difference and when not there you can really hear the difference in the stadium.

    I speak to many of these guys on a regular basis and they have had there season tickets at Arsenal from Highbury days and have not moved from there seat at block 6 since the Grove opened its doors.

    Though we are in all 4 competitions at the moment many of these fans are simply not happy with Wenger and the lack of ambition from the board. The year by year habit of us under achieving in the transfer market and the constant mistakes in the past has taken its toll on said fans, and they no longer trust Wenger or the club anymore.

    The fact that we are fighting for 1st ,the Wigan game was massive for us and the lack of old school genuine fans at the grove does speak in volumes. Also the fact that considering our place in the league many of our games are going to general sale.

    Go back 2-3 seasons there would be no way a game would go to general sale especially if we were still in the title race. As a lonely red member I could just about get tickets on first morning of sale and that was for every game.
    I think many fans have started to get sick and tired of the lies at the club, and the business side of Arsenal is pushing out many of us.

    Some will say its about vat and finance reasons but I do not agree with this at all.

    Many said fans are also getting increasingly annoyed with the new wave of younger jcl fans who love to sing things “wenger give us a wave” or “1 Arsene”
    I understand fans still like Wenger but to have so many in volume sing his name blindly just because we score a goal against a shit weak team is a joke. It was only 2 weeks before we lost to Ipswich and drew to Leeds! Many people sing these chants at really inappropriate times and this just adds to the frustration of everything. I am not saying your wrong for singing said chants but use your brain when singing chants like that.

    The same kind of fans then go silent of we go a goal under and don’t join in again until we score or win and then its “wengers give us a wave”

    I have witnessed many signs of unrest at the grove and seen gooners turning on each other regarding the whole Wenger issue and at times reached boiling point when fights actually break out.

    In all my years of football I have never really seen such a divide. Even back in George days post glory, I never saw such tension in the crowds.

    If the lack of transfer activity costs us the title again it will make a huge difference with regards to some fans simply not wanting to continue with there hard effort and support any longer.

    Many of you will say if a fan decides not to go anymore means they are not a real fan in the first place. This is simply not the case. It must be hard for someone who has been a hardcore fan for years to decide he has had enough with what’s going on.

    Like I said this season has been successful so far though I still don’t think its paints a fair picture, and only time will tell if I am wrong or not.

    Regardless of said success this season the vacant seats at the grove is a massive concern. What’s worse is the kind of fan that is making the seat vacant.

  • A Casual Observer

    gandiv – I have seen this post multiple times on multiple forums from multiple posters.

    Conclusion – this is a co-ordinated political attack from the self harmers.