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Arsenal v West Ham United Tuesday 15 April – The Match Officials

Arsenal v West Ham United Tuesday 15 April – The Match Officials

By Andrew Crawshaw

  • Referee – Kevin Friend
  • Assistants – H Lennard and M Wilkes
  • Fourth Official – C Foy

Here’s a change a first timer for us this year and with only five games to go in the season.

Mr Friend was born in 1971, is Leicester based and has been a member of the select group since 2009/10.  He is not FIFA accredited, but as we have seen this year that distinction means little when it comes to the ability to referee a game in a balanced manner.  He has been a referee since he was 14 working his way up from local football and Midlands leagues before rising through the Football League Pyramid.

He has been somewhat underused in the Premier League this year, this will be his 17th game, only Robert Madley and Roger East (both on 5) and Craig Pawson on 9 games have done fewer and none of them have been allocated (allowed?) an Arsenal Game this year either.

So how did he do last year?

Walter’s Summary of his season concluded – “as far as we can see Friend is a referee who can do all teams in the PL.  But as he is relatively new to the PL we have a lot of low data numbers on him, so we have to take some results with a pinch of salt.”

And when we look back through the records Kevin Friend was the least biased referee of all for Arsenal.  Is that why we have to wait until there are only five games left in the season before we have him this year?  We have certainly had multiple visits from most of the referees with far higher bias numbers.

Last year we had him for two games:-

Match Review: Kevin Friend – Arsenal Vs Southampton (6 – 1) [15/09/2012] His overall score was 89% and his bias was 50/50 and he made no wrong Important Decisions (second yellow, red cards, penalties or goals).  The key moments were:-

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  • Min 0 – First foul by Arteta called
  • Min 10 – First foul by Southampton, seen by the ref who allows a genuine advantage leading to own goal by Hooiveld (1-0)
  • Min 24 – first wrong decision, not given free kick with Southampton player backing into Arsenal defender when he wanted to head ball away
  • Min 30 – Podolski scores (2-0)
  • Min 34 – Gervinho scores (3-0)
  • Min 36 – Clyne scores an own goal (4-0)
  • Min 45+1 – Fox scores for Southampton (4-1)
  • Min 45 – Arsenal foul (push in the back ) not given
  • Min 70 – Gervinho scores (5-1)
  • Min 87 – Theo scores (6-1)

A great game of football from the Arsenal perspective, two not given fouls with corresponding free kicks the only errors by the referee one in benefit of each team.  As balanced a refereeing performance as it is possible to get.

Match Review: Kevin Friend – Arsenal Vs Liverpool (2 – 2) [30/01/2013] Overall 94%, bias against 100/0 (but with very few wrong calls) and again no wrong Important Decisions.  the key moments were:-

  • Min 0 – First foul by Gerrard correctly called by the referee
  • Min 4 – Suárez scores (0-1)
  • Min 25 – Cazorla rightly gets a yellow card for a foul his second in quick succession
  • Min 48 – Sturridge claims handball against Vermaelen, the ball was hanging between both players first touched Sturridge on the arm and then fell against the arm of Vermaelen, neither looked intentional referee quite right to award no foul or card against either player.  As this was in the Arsenal penalty area a non penalty decision was also correct.
  • Min 51 – Foul and penalty shout for Arsenal rightly not given, Podolski bumped into Wisdom who had judged the path of the ball well and stepped in to control it.
  • Min 57 – Carragher should be booked for timewasting – the ref reviewer called it a masterclass
  • Min 59  – Henderson scores (0-2)
  • Min 63 – Giroud scores (1-2)
  • Min 66 – Theo scores (2-2)
  • Min 71 – Lucas Levia commits third foul in the half should have been booked this would have been in line with the Cazorla booking in minute 25
  • Min 72 – Gerrard rightly booked for foul, it was a late challenge on Mert, caught him not with his outstretched leg but the other one, could have been regarded as a red card but reviewer considered that yellow was appropriate.  This was the worst challenge of the match.
  • Min 84 – Giroud rightly gets yellow card for dive
  • Min 90 – Mert rightly gets yellow card for foul

Two missed bookings and a wrongly given corner to Liverpool the only wrong decisions in this game.  Another high class piece of refereeing between two very committed teams.

These two refereeing performances were two of the best we saw all season at the Emirates.  In both the standard for fouls being penalised was set in the opening minute and was upheld throughout the game.  Major decisions were correct in both.  The Everton game was the highest score by a referee in any Arsenal Game so it is something of a shame he hasn’t been allowed to come to us this year until now.

To date this table gives the overall statistics of both teams when Mr Friend is around so broadly speaking both teams perform in line with normal expectations

All Games




Arsenal all games


445 (53.6%)

219 (26.4%)

166 (20.0%)

Arsenal with Friend


3 (60%)

2 (40%)


West Ham all games


220 (32.6%)


283 (42.0%)

West Ham with Friend


4 (30.8%)

4 (30.8%)

5 (38.4%)

I’m afraid that none of the reviewed games last year featured West Ham, which is a pity from the analysis point of view.  This year he has been in charge of one West Ham Game.

Hull v West Ham 28 September 2013 (1-0)  Key incidents (from Yahoo sports text commentary):-

  • Min 3 – First foul correctly spotted
  • Min 8 – Nolan studs up challenge on Rosenior – yellow card given, could possibly have been red
  • Min 11 – O’Brien pushes Brady in the back penalty given replays confirmed contact.  Brady scores from the spot kick
  • Min 29 – Big miss from W Ham as Diame misses his kick following a cross from Jarvis
  • Min 36 & 37 – big chances for Hull who hit the woodwork
  • Min 44 – Graham pushed in the back by Rat, reacts angrily when we doesn’t get the decision and is booked for dissent.  Initial not-given foul decision wrong
  • Min 52 – Penalty shout for West Ham (push on Reid) not given
  • Min 67 – Another shot from Hull comes back off the woodwork
  • Min 74 – Livermore booked for late challenge on Morrison
  • Min 75 – West Ham denied penalty, cross intended for Nolan hits Livermore on the elbow. NB  the Telegraph report also said it should have been a penalty. Nothing given by Referee – Wrong Important Decision
  • Min 90+2 – Accidental clash between Vaz Te and Meyler leaving both injured

In conclusion

Mr Friend was the best referee Arsenal had last year – two games with excellent decisions in both and no significant bias in either match.

West Ham may well be less pleased with his appointment based on their game at Hull this year where, by all accounts, he was more in favour of Hull with the two penalty decisions, the one he gave Hull was soft but correct, the one he didn’t give West Ham was more contentious with many observers saying it was a wrong decision.

In all games I have reviewed for this report, Mr Friend acts on the first foul of the game letting players know that he has standards which he generally sticks to through the game.  He also steers towards the lenient side in awarding yellow cards where some other refs would be tempted into reds, or giving the foul and not issuing a card.  These are both fine providing he is consistent for both teams.

If he hasn’t been ‘nobbled’ by his employers this is an appointment that should present no particular fears for either team

My only question remains why haven’t we had him before this year?  I do suspect the answer is rather obvious.


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