The Premier League has announced the officials for the Leeds United clash with Brighton at Elland Road on Saturday – and some fans aren’t happy.
Kevin Friend is the man in the middle, while Craig Pawson will be on VAR duties at Stockley Park.
Friend was the referee for the 3-1 defeat against Chelsea earlier in the season and some fans haven’t forgiven him for not blowing for a foul in the build-up to the Kurt Zouma goal that gave the home side the lead in the 61st minute.
That was the view of MOT Leeds News columnist Paul Robinson, too, who said to us: “Cooper’s a big strong centre-half and he’s marking his man in the six-yard box. He’s not going to go down unless he’s got a reason to. He’s been fouled and that shouldn’t have been a goal.”
BBC journalist Adam Pope relayed the news on his personal Twitter account ahead of the 3pm kick-off on Saturday.
— Adam Pope (@apopey) January 12, 2021
Reaction from the Leeds fans to Friend is largely negative but one was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt with a balanced verdict: “Friend tries to impose himself too much on matches and I don’t think he allows games to flow as much as he could. But I’ve never really found him to be biased.”
However, others weren’t so kind.
One said, “That’s no points on Saturday then, we never get anything when Kevin Friend is officiating.”
He’s obviously got a good memory. Before the Chelsea clash, Friend’s last game in charge of a Leeds game was against Preston in the Championship in October 2019. That ended in a 1-1 draw.
The game before that saw Friend send Liam Cooper off and, for those of a superstitious bent, Leeds haven’t won in the last six games Friend has been the ref.
Hopefully, that will change on Saturday, with Leeds looking to bounce back from a frankly shocking defeat to Crawley last weekend.
Here are the best reactions to the Premier League update…
Flooded with amazing referees 😐
— James (@JamesWood501) January 12, 2021
— Armo☀️🌙 🏆 (@Jordan_Armo) January 12, 2021
— Felix #CasillaOut (@FelixLUFC) January 12, 2021
Friend tries to impose himself too much on matches and I don’t think he allows games to flow as much as he could. But I’ve never really found him to be biased.
— Adam Driver (@AJDriver) January 13, 2021
We'll get nothing from him, calling it now 🙄
— OnOnOn in the EPL 🏆 💙💛🤍 (@WhinmoorWhite) January 12, 2021
Where he and VAR decided to miss Liam Cooper being taken out at the knees for the Zouma goal which gave them the lead?
— Joe Biden: Good, Donald Tr*mp: Bad (@RK972153017) January 12, 2021
Missed pen on poveda opfully get it back this wk!!!
— steve bello (@stev66) January 12, 2021
That's no points on Saturday then we never get anything when Kevin friend is officiating
— Anthony Swain (@awswain) January 12, 2021
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