Manchester United v Arsenal Sunday 29 April – The Match Officials

by Andrew Crawshaw

A big PL welcome to David Coote who becomes the 22nd referee to be entrusted with a top flight match this season when he takes charge of Newcastle v West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.  Along with Andy Madley and Simon Hooper he will do just the one match so it will be a little presumptious for the PGMO to say they have 22 referees, 19 is a more realistic number.

On to Sunday and our officials are:-

  • Referee – Kevin Friend – Age 46 from Lancashire
  • Assistant Referee 1 – Simon Bennett  from Staffordshire and FIFA accredited
  • Assistant Referee 2 – Eddie Smart  from the West Midlands
  • Fourth Official – Michael Oliver – Age 32 from Northumberland and FIFA accredited

This is going to be a very brief review as I am doing it before packing to go on holiday so there probably won’t be a preview for next week (although I expect to be at the game)

Surprisingly this will be the first Manchester United game that Mr Friend has been entrusted with this year, it will be our third.

  1. Arsenal v Brighton (2 – 0) 1 October – No wrong major decisions and competent refereeing.
  2. Bournemouth v Arsenal (2 – 1) 14 January – no post match reviews by Walter but a host of comments on the pre-match piece mostly saying that both Bournemouth goals were offside and that two Bournemouth players should have been dismissed.  Lee Probert was the fourth official that day and maybe he was ‘whispering in the ear’.


  1. I normally regard Kevin friend as about the most benign of the referees that we are likely to get and don’t have any particular concerns when I see him on the list.
  2. His performance in the last match against Bournemouth was concerning as it is out of character for him to make four wrong Important Decisions in a game.  Hopefully that was an aberation and he will regain his usual equilibrium for this match.
  3. The fact that this will be his first United game this season is also concerning leading me to wonder what specific instructions he will have been given by his masters.  Hopefully there will be none with the title decided, United secure in the CL places and Arsene known to be going at the end of the season.  There really shouldn’t need to be any special instructions.
  4. The usual PGMO caveats have to be given.
    1. United will be allowed more leeway in challenges etc. and will escape cards that are bound to be given to Arsenal players for similar offences.
    2. Arsene will have to watch his behaviour and not kick any water bottles.  I’m sure that the PGMO would just love an excuse to send him off.
    3. Look out for the old ‘phantom foul’ routine, inappropriate advantages etc.

COYG – lets finish with a flourish

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One Reply to “Manchester United v Arsenal Sunday 29 April – The Match Officials”

  1. I think the PGMO’s referee, Kevin Friend has tried as much as possible to be friendly to Arsenal in all the Premier League games he has referred that have involved Arsenal. This is against the hostile match referring posture which referee Michael Oliver has been exhibiting against Arsenal when he referred in all their games in the PL.

    Of all the four match officials in charge of the Man Utd vs Arsenal big game on Sunday at Old Trafford. For his anti-Arsenal match referring, referee Michael Oliver who is the fourth official for this match could be a concern to Arsenal in the match as he could be intimidating referee Kevin Friend by informing him through the connected communication piece between the 2 them to take anti-Arsenal action such as sending Le Boss to the stands on the slightest of excuse if Le Boss makes a protest to him over what he is against in the match as the game pans on. Therefore, my advice to Le Boss is, he should desist from lodging any complain to referee Michael Oliver during the match.

    With the Arsenal ELC return leg match away to Atletico Madrid around the corner in 4 days time after the Man U game is played, can the expected Le Boss’ rotation Gunners team for this Man U match beat the Red Devils of Man Utd at Old Trafford in the PL after several attempts to do that has not come of in recent past seasons?

    Well! I think a rotation Arsenal team who Le Boss is likely to field against the full Man Utd team can do job of beating Man U at home in the PL if the rotation Gunners team who will play in the match are not afraid of taking on the Red Devils in their dungeons. But be confident, courageous and be bold to bind them and then exorcise them into the bottomless dept of the river Tame that flows through the great Manchester during the playing of the match and make history for themselves and Arsenal.

    My Arsenal unlikely heard of: 3-2-3-2 playing formation style starts. And the 7 Gunners on the bench for the match are listed below.


    Macey Mustafi Monreal Wilshere Ramsey Lacazette Nketiah.

    How has Le Boos see these my starts and bench for this our away PL match to Man Utd? Approved them? I think he should try to approve them. Because if he does, he’ll be surprised to see how my starts and bench will raise their game above the unexpected level and rise to the big occasion above all expectations in the game. And beat Manchester United at home in the PL tomorrow.

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