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Referee Kevin Friend did Aston Villa wrong against Chelsea

Aug 22, 2013, 9:43 AM EDT


If I were a Villa supporter I’d be standing at the office water cooler right now and telling all the interns about how referee Kevin Friend screwed us last night.

There’s simply no other way to look at it.

Branislav Ivanovic‘s 71st minute elbow swipe on Christian Benteke should have been a straight red card. The intent was disgusting and the blow was significant.

If Ivanovic had connected with Benteke’s face like he meant, they’d be chopping down trees for journos to write about the broken bones in ‘Tekers’ face.

The failure to issue Ivanovic his marching orders changed the game and denied Villa a share of the points.

Two minutes after the elbow incident Ivanovic went on to smash a sensational header that, as my astute colleague Adrienne was quick to point out, was quite similar to his goal in the Europa League final.

Of course it would never have happened had Friend simply sent Ivanovic for an early bath.

The irony of the Ivanovic situation is mind-blowing.

Last April, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez infamously bit Ivanovic’s arm during the Reds match at Stamford Bridge. Suarez was spared being sent off because the ref failed to see the incident. The Uruguayan then went on to score in the seventh minute of injury time to secure his side a 2-2 draw.

The referee that day?

None other than our good buddy, Mr. Friend. You can’t make this stuff up.

Back to yesterday’s match.  It wasn’t just that Friend allowed Ivanovic to stay on and claim the winner – it’s that the man in black also failed to whistle the Chelsea defender for being offsides on the goal.

It should never have counted.

Finally, there was the handball by Big Country John Terry. As Robbie Mustoe noted in NBCSN’s post-match analysis, it was “an unnatural position” for the arm to be in and should’ve been a penalty.

A dissenter could argue that the incident was less likely to be called because it was late in the match, but that logic still admits the fact that it was a penalty. A dissenter could also argue that Terry’s arm was only in the high-five position because he was fouled. If that was the case, then Friend should’ve called the foul.

The most troubling thing about the missed hand-ball call is that Friend was literally 10 feet away and looking directly at the play when it happened. That’s a penalty every day of the week and twice on Tuesday.

Kevin Friend screwed Villa. And they deserved better.

  1. geminitactic - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Sorry, Villians. Anthony Taylor cannot be the ref for every match, you know. Move on.

    • mmarshel - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      Villa created the best chances and executed a great game plan — the ref screwed them twice… but it looks like jose/friend duo will make a good team this year.. I guess someone had to take the SAF mantle — It didn’t matter in the Arsenal game 11 man would not have made any difference =Villa bossed that game and Arsenal were weak..

      • geminitactic - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        Villa are so great, they concede early each time in their first two matches. They are a one-man team. Chelsea are not weak in the back like Arsenal are. The ref had little to do with Chelsea getting three points. But the ref in the Arsenal match gave Villa a gift. A 2nd penalty when it wasn’t one. Chelsea and Mourinho are winning and the peanut gallery can’t stand it.

    • mmarshel - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      Arsenal were weak against Villa bad call didn’t matter 3-1 victory minus 1 still Villa wins that game. mids were weak — no strikers, weak defense — good luck – Arsenal will have 5 -6 losses before December — which effectively ends in hope of title – like they ever had any hope in the first place

      • narfmoo12 - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        I can’t believe I’m responding to someone this clueless, but here goes… Yes, 3 minus 1 is 2, and 2 is more than 1. Congrats little buddy! Good job! However, in what should have been a 1-1 game with Arsenal having 11 players on the field instead of 10, do you think Arsenal would have had everyone forward with 5 minutes left, leaving a Villa with an easy goal on the counter attack? I’ll answer it because you have shown an inability when it comes to critical thinking. The answer is no. At best it should have been a 1-1 tie, but with 11 men, Arsenal probably takes it.

      • aboutamoo - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:15 PM

        I can’t believe I’m responding to someone this willfully blind, but here goes… Koscielny fouled Agbonlahor. Plain as day. He tackled him from behind, and replays clearly show he took out Agbonlahor’s ankle before he got to the ball. That’s a penalty every day of the week, whether you choose to admit it or not.

  2. kirielson - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    And people thought MLS reffing was bad (it still is but still).

  3. NtrlDipMOtl - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Friend is undoubtedly a tosser….newsworthy? I’ll guess it’s either a slow day at the office or a wager was blown

  4. olddirtygamer - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Chelsea was always going to get the home cooking while Mourinho is running things at “da Bridge”. Friend was horrible and after the first weekend of many. many very light yellow cards, I believe the mandate came down to “let them play” and that worked to Villa’s disadvantage a lot of the time. It will be interesting to see how the Blues handle their visit to OT on Monday and who winds up being appointed the referee… Also, I sense Friend will be overseeing a Championship-side contest this weekend…

  5. wvaman86jc - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    It’s called karma….

  6. konmtu - Aug 22, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Maybe Suarez’s bite infected Ivanovic with his “cooties.” Made old Branislav do something horrible, get away with it, and impact the game for his team in a positive way.

    @geminitactic Villa that day was a three man team. Benteke scored the goals, but Agbonlahor drew the penalties, and Guzan was his usual self on the other end of the pitch.

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