Ref Preview: Arsenal – Swansea, Friend or enemy?

By Walter Broeckx

For once your reviewer becomes previewer. As our regular previewer Andrew is waltzing his way over the Danube I take over for this occasion. And as because of personal circumstances I didn’t have any time the last weeks to do reviews the table of shame is unchanged. The reviews will be done and I hope I can get back to business as usual in the next weeks.

Wrong Important Decisions Favouring Arsenal Favouring Opponents
2nd Yellow Cards 0 19
Red Cards 4 16
Penalties 4 18
Goals 1 7
Total 9 60
Possible Cost in Points 7 23

But let us focus on the match officials for the match against Swansea.

  • Referee : Kevin Friend
  • Assistants: M. Scholes and R. West
  • 4th official: R. Madley

Kevin Friend is from the Leicester area and has been a PL referee since 2009. He is around 44 years old.

In our reviews of the season 2012/2013 we had an article covering his games with the title: “Over 90% right, but a red card disaster.” In that season we reviewed 50% of his matches in the PL and he had a good score of 90% correct on all his decisions. Which included every throw in and goal kick.

If we only looked at the important decisions he got a score of 79% and that was well above the average of that season. He only allowed one incorrect goal in those matches so that is rather good. But his red cards were terrible as he managed to get them all wrong.

In the season before we had him also covered in our reviews.  Interesting in that season was that he once again was rather good in his decisions but the yellow and red cards were his weak point. We also measured the home/away bias and he was a strong home referee. So nothing to worry about? In that season he did not one Arsenal match so we couldn’t measure his Arsenal bias.

This season we had ref Friend in the following matches

Everton – Arsenal 2-2 on 23/08/2014. In that match he allowed an offfside goal (mistake by the assistant of course). Luckily we don’t have assistant Garrath this time around.  Big favour for the home team as we predicted he would have. A low score of only 60% and a bias against Arsenal of 89/11. So not really a good performance this time and favouring the home team as he usually does.

Sunderland – Arsenal 0-2 on 25/10/2014. A better score this time with 68% overall but the bias was still 75/25 against Arsenal. But better than the match at Everton. Main talking points: A not given red card for a two footed tackle on Chambers, and some missed yellow cards. And he allowed Arteta to being kicked off the field without calling a foul.

QPR – Arsenal 1-2 on 04/03/2015 Arsenal playing away from home so we predicted we had to be careful. And Friend gave us every reason to be concerned away from home. The most blatant miss was when at the start of the second half Henry pulled Özil who was going to score from 3 meters out. A blatant foul, a penalty and a red card. Friend missed it all. He missed a few things an mostly against Arsenal but overall a better performance compared to the earlier matches this season. A total score of 74% and a bias of 80/20 against Arsenal.

Before his last match Andrew wrote in his preview:

“In summary

  1. I used to look forward to Mr Friend being in charge because he gave decent honest refereeing.
  2. Not now, he is currently piss poor, biased in his handling of the game, allowing our opponents to get away with challenges for which he books our players and regularly shows little appreciation of the laws of the game.
  3. On his recent form, we will have our players booked for first innocuous fouls, whilst having lumps kicked out of them by QPR.
  4. Come on Mr Friend, watch a video of how you refereed our Liverpool game in 2013/4 and follow that example, you know that’s how to do it.”

So now we will be able to see how Mr. Friend is doing. Is he just a home biased referee or really an anti-Arsenal referee?

If he is a real home biased referee and we had him 3 times away this season (that itself is unacceptable in fact! – Mr. Riley?) and 3 times he was biased against Arsenal. So now we play at home and we should get all the decisions in our favour.

If he really does have an anti-Arsenal bias, now is the time to see it. If again he gives all the important decisions in favour of Swansea this time we can put him in the anti-Arsenal camp.

So it will be an interesting match to keep an eye on the ref. If he gives it our way, he is a home referee and we can live with that if Mr. Riley would only give him an equal share of home and away matches each season.

My hope is that he will do his job in a good way. Swansea is usually a team that doesn’t use the kick tactics as far as I can remember so lets hope they keep it that way. And if we can play football and the referee does his job in a fair way we should be able to get the 3 points.

So do your job Mr. Friend and be a friend of the laws of the game.

From the anniversary files, some nice scores…

11 May 2003: Sunderland 0 Arsenal 4.  The second match in the unbeaten 49 and the 564th and last league game for David Seaman – by far the longest serving keeper in Arsenal’s history.

11 May 2005: Arsenal 7 Everton 0.  The last Highbury game in red and white, the conclusion of a 12 match unbeaten run in the league, and the largest Premier League win, equalled on 14 January 2006.



11 Replies to “Ref Preview: Arsenal – Swansea, Friend or enemy?”

  1. Lets hope that a Friend in need is a Friend in deed. Swansea are a good footballing team & it should be a good match. I just hope our boys are awake from the first whistle. Hoping for an Alexis hat trick & Giroud brace.

    Shelvey is the key player – he makes them tick. Sigurdsen is the quality & Gomis the finisher. So OOooooooospina keep your concentration.


  2. @Rantetta
    In fairness Olly broke his own leg. Certainly no intent or foul by Distin.

  3. No Gf60

    Giroud did not break his own leg, in fairness or not.

    Distin broke Giroud’s leg.

  4. Gf60 & Rantetta – The break was due to accidental glancing contact by Distin who was kicking the ball away.

  5. The U21 game starts very soon.

    Under-21s v Bolton: Iliev, Smith, O’Connor, Pleguezuelo, Ormonde-Ottewill, Bielik, Maitland-Niles, Gnabry, Crowley, Zelalem, Iwobi

    Arsenal Under-21s subs: Macey, Robinson, Eyoma, Kamara, Lipman.


  6. The only coverage I know of, is the twitter thing. It should be half time now.

    Arsenal scored at 10 minutes, and Bolton equalised at 12 minutes. And since then, no news.


  7. Revisiting the twit feed, first item I seen, is that Arsenal has 5 ladies named to the Women’s team for England. Congratualations. At 73 minutes, Arsenal scored (Iwobi). At 77 minutes, Arsenal scored again (Gnabry, nice to see him in the goals again).

    And that is how the game ended, Arsenal winning (away) to Bolton.


  8. More news related to the youth and ladies programs. Arsenal ladies are sending 2 players to Spain for their World Cup adventure in Canada. Are there more internationals to be named yet?

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