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.
- Arsenal v Brighton (2 – 0) 1 October – No wrong major decisions and competent refereeing.
- 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’.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The usual PGMO caveats have to be given.
- 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.
- 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.
- Look out for the old ‘phantom foul’ routine, inappropriate advantages etc.
COYG – lets finish with a flourish
- Fifa crisis, Trump gets involved and making up stories to try and keep the interest. The PL from here on.
- It’s tough to take a blocked M1 when we don’t win 6-0
- EL Arsenal – Atletico Madrid : 1-1
From the Arsenal History Society
- How a 14th monk described Arsenal’s failure to buy Moisés Caicedo and Mykhailo Mudryk
- The January transfer window moved few players around: but did any club benefit?
- Are Newcastle United really in financial difficulty? And what about Arsenal?
- Did Arsenal want Mudryk and Caicedo, and was it just luck that they didn’t sign them?
- Is the Premier League getting more exciting or simply ever more predictable?