Premier League Matchday 31 (or 31.5) has been spirited half away by the magic of the cup this weekend, in which this season’s quarter-finalists can claim 28 trophy wins between them.

Memories of August’s sun-kissed pitches and sky-high prospects, before reality and market forces combined to bite hard, accompany this partial re-run of Matchday 1, as well as stark reminders of the close to 50% turnover in managers.

In midweek messrs Oliver, Burt, Bennett, Atkinson, Marriner and fourth official Betts were sent in yellow to Istanbul for the smooth passage of Bayern to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, so congratulations are due to Michael on his first knock-out appointment at this level.

And by the way, as if the corner flag does not take enough punishment from the less imaginitive scorers of the day in this country already, must it always be the assistant’s job to put it back, even if that means moving one from the centre spot?

Swansea City v Tottenham Hotspur

Assistants: H Lennard
& A Holmes
Fourth official: Lee Mason

VAR & AVAR: Stuart Attwell & D Eaton


Tottenham’s FA Cup wins (8): 1901, 1921, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1981, 1982, 1991
  Runners-up: 1987
Swansea’s FA Cup wins: 0

This early kick-off may well hold some appeal for a Spurs side no longer in Europe and keen to make amends in a sudden-death format.

Of the current players to have represented either side, Fernando Llorente and Wayne Routledge were six and Michel Vorm was seven the last time Spurs lifted the FA Cup, while Ben Davies and Tom Carroll were yet to be born.

All you need to know about Kevin Friend:
Premier League matches in 2017/18: 16
Premier League Yellows: 38  Reds: 0
FA Cup appointments in 2018: 3

The first ever encounter between the clubs came in November, 1928 and ended 4-0 to the Swans in Division Two, yet this is their first ever FA Cup meeting.

The last time they met in Wales was in January, 2018, and this one ended 2-0 to the visitors, thanks to Llorente and Dele Alli goals. Bobby Madley cautioned Martin Olsson, Mike van der Hoorn, Davinson Sanchez and Erik Lamela on the day.

Kevin Friend has refereed Spurs twice in the past month and four times this season in all, of which they have won three and drawn one. He has only taken charge of one Swansea fixture so far, when they lost 5-0 at Anfield on Boxing Day. Assistant Harry Lennard reprises his UEFA under-23 role for Barca versus Atletico from Wednesday, having travelled with Madley and Ian Hussin for the appetiser prior to Chelsea’s defeat at the hands of Barcelona’s seniors.

Graham ScottAFC Bournemouth v West Bromwich Albion 

Assistants: P Kirkup
& C Hatzidakis
Fourth official: Tim Robinson

As English coach faces English coach, a rarity at this level, it’s 12th versus bottom of the league, yet the Baggies will cling to their 1-0 win thanks to Ahmed Hegazy’s goal in the reverse fixture in order to generate whatever hope they can muster.

All you need to know about Graham Scott:
Matches in 2017/18: 15 (4 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 12
Yellows: 28 Reds: 1

Callum Wilson scored the winner in last season’s corresponding fixture, which fell in September, 2016, when Kevin Friend cautioned Adam Smith, Jonny Evans, Claudio Yacob and Sam Field.

Today’s is the 21st meeting between the clubs, the first having been in January, 1955, ending 1-0 to West Brom in the FA Cup third round.

This season Graham Scott has previously refereed Bournemouth at home (to Leicester, 0-0, when Marc Pugh was his solitary caution) and away (1-0 to Manchester United, issuing yellows to Arter, Lukaku and Gosling), as well as the Baggies’ 1-0 October defeat at Southampton, when he only opted to book Nacer Chadli.

Fourth official Tim Robinson awarded four penalties at Hull City’s KC Stadium in their 4-3 Championship victory over Norwich a week ago.

Mike Dean

Huddersfield Town v Crystal Palace

Assistants: E Smart
& M Scholes
Fourth official: Lee Probert

Not so much looking for a goal as a start against his old team-mates, Tom Ince may well end up on the bench next to the scorer of two goals in Huddersfield’s memorable Premier League debut 3-0 win at Selhurst Park, Steve Mounie.

All you need to know about Mike Dean:
Matches in 2017/18: 20 (9 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 17
Yellows: 70 Reds: 2

As 15th face 18th, this is the 43rd encounter in all competitions, with the first ever having been in February, 1929 as the Terriers advanced into the FA Cup quarter-finals after recording a 5-2 victory at Leeds Road.

The last time they met in Yorkshire it ended 1-0, in January, 2013, thanks to James Vaughan, and referee Carl Boyeson cautioned Oli Norwood, Vaughan and Damien Delaney.

Besides meeting on the opening day of this season they also met in the Carabao Cup in September, when Palace won 1-0 thanks to Bakary Sako’s goal.

Mike Dean has refereed one Palace home game this season, their November win over Stoke, plus their September defeat at Old Trafford, but has not refereed the Terriers since they lost 4-2 at home to Leeds in the Championship in December, 2012 and Luciano Becchio and Danny Ward found themselves yellow-carded.

Martin AtkinsonStoke City v Everton

Assistants: L Betts
& S Child
Fourth official: Jon Moss

It’s 19th versus 9th and former Blackburn Rovers bosses Lambert and Allardyce seek to forge memories of their own for supporters who, if they are lucky, might recall appearances for both clubs by Adrian Heath, last seen in the MLS, and Paul Bracewell, last seen as Sunderland’s third to last assistant manager.

All you need to know about Martin Atkinson:
Matches in 2017/18: 22 (10 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 5
Yellows: 75 Reds: 4

It’s game 134 overall, of which the first came in December, 1888 and ended 0-0 in Division One. This season’s reverse fixture ended 1-0 to the Toffees, while the last encounter in the midlands was in February, 2017. It ended 1-1 thanks to Peter Crouch and a Ryan Shawcross own goal, as referee Craig Pawson only booked Phil Bardsley, now at Burnley.

Martin Atkinson refereed Stoke’s shock FA Cup exit at Coventry, and their home Premier League defeat to Liverpool, as well as Everton’s 2-1 home win over Bournemouth back in September.

Anthony TaylorLiverpool v Watford

Assistants: A Nunn
& D Cook
Fourth official: Roger East

It’s a late kick-off but not the latest, as BT hope for a repeat of the fare served up on the opening weekend, resulting in a thrilling 3-3 draw.

While John Barnes, David James, Jerome Sinclair and Bill Findlay may have pulled on the shirt of both clubs, Brendan Rodgers stepped up from an intermediate coaching role at CFC to take on the mantle of manager from 2008 to 2009 at Watford and steered Liverpool from 2012 to 2015 having done less well at Reading, only to gain promotion with Swansea.

All you need to know about Anthony Taylor:
Matches in 2017/18: 21 (11 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 6
Yellows: 76 Reds: 0

The first time these clubs met on Merseyside it ended 3-1 in the FA Cup back in February, 1967, while the last encounter at Anfield was in November, 2016. The score? Six-one, with goals supplied by Sadio Mane (two), Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum while Daryl Janmaat came up with the Hornets’ consolation. Referee Michael Oliver cautioned Wijnaldum, Leo Britos and Jose Holebas.

Anthony Taylor refereed Watford’s February win against Everton as well as their September tonking at the hands of Manchester City, both at Vicarage Road plus that reverse fixture when Jurgen Klopp’s side left with a point in August. He also refereed Liverpool’s 3-2 win at Leicester in September.

Andre Marriner

Manchester United v Brighton

Assistants: R West
& S Ledger
Fourth official: Bobby Madley

VAR & AVAR: Michael Jones & A Halliday

Manchester United’s FA Cup wins (12): 1909, 1948, 1963, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004, 2016;
Runners-up: 1957, 1958, 1976, 1979, 1995, 2005, 2007
Brighton’s FA Cup wins: 0; Runners-up: 1983

Anthony Knockaert’s challenge on Leighton Baines in Brighton’s defeat at Everton called for a suspension of longer than three games according to YATR’s Mark Halsey on the Ref Show, while many felt Marcus Rashford fortunate to stay on the field having combined a full-on goal celebration with a full-on tackle on Liverpool’s James Milner earlier in the day.

All you need to know about Andre Marriner:
Premier League matches in 2017/18: 21
Premier League Yellows: 54 Reds: 2
FA Cup appointments in 2018: 2

United lag behind holders Arsenal’s record tally of 13 trophy wins overall and this is far from the first FA Cup rodeo involving Red Devils and Seagulls… besides the 1983 Final and its replay there have been four other encounters, the first of which marked the first meeting in any competition. That took place in the first round, January, 1909 and ended 1-0 to the hosts at Bank Street, Clayton, in Manchester, thanks to Harold Halse’s winner.

The last was 1-0 in the Premier League in November 2017, refereed by Neil Swarbrick and won by a Lewis Dunk own goal some three months after having scored one for Manchester City, too. Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy were cautioned as United extended their home unbeaten run to 23.

Andre Marriner last refereed United at Wembley, in their January defeat to Spurs, plus their win at Arsenal and wins over Everton at home and away. He also refereed Brighton’s third round win over Crystal Palace, the first English match subject to VAR, and their November draw against the same opponents, as well as their September home win over Newcastle.

It was Barca for fourth official Madley on Wednesday, as he took a UEFA Under-23 fixture in the same week that the two English teams coincidentally also remaining in the FA Cup crashed out of the Champions League.

Wigan Atletic v Southampton

S Bennett & S Burt
Fourth official: Jon Moss


Wigan’s FA Cup wins (1): 2013
Southampton’s FA Cup wins (1): 1976;
Runners up: 1900, 1902, 2003

It’s Pellegrino out and Hughes in, with the visitors having changed their leader on the eve of this quarter-final with an eye on Premier League survival. How ironic if the Saints should be led back to Wembley by the man who owed his availability to a third round exit in Coventry. Ahead of this 1330 kick-off, Wigan stood at second in League One compared to their opponents’ 17th place in the top flight, with Stoke, who lost that tie under Hughes, and Palace breathing down their necks.

All you need to know about Michael Oliver:
Premier League matches in 2017/18: 25
Premier League Yellows: 90 Reds: 5
FA Cup appointments in 2017/18: 2

Something certainly has to give today, as these sides have won one, drawn one and lost one as they approach only their fourth-ever encounter. The only one of those in Lancashire was the latest, ending 2-2 in the Premier League in February, 2013. The first was an FA Cup fourth round tie at the Dell, won 3-0 by Saints thanks to Glenn Cockerill and David Armstrong goals (the latter notched two, including a penalty).

The match in between was a 2-0 Wigan victory at St Marys refereed by Anthony Taylor, who kept a clean sheet in August, 2012. The goals, both of which were scored in the second half, came from Franco di Santo and Arouna Kone.

Current Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler spent 18 months as a Southampton player from 2000, then was manager of the Latics for 11 months between 2013 and 2014. Current Wigan boss Paul Cook faced Southampton as a Coventry midfielder in the mid-nineties without success and spent 107 games in charge of bitter rivals Portsmouth without even facing them.

FIFA’s Michael Oliver refereed Southampton’s 3-2 win at West Brom in February but has not officiated in a Wigan fixture since their 2014 semi-final defeat at the hands of Arsenal on penalties in the same competition. That day he cautioned four Latics players and no Gunners.

craig-pawsonLeicester City v Chelsea

Assistants: G Beswick
& S Long
Fourth official: Paul Tierney

VAR & AVAR: Neil Swarbrick & A Garratt

Chelsea’s FA Cup wins (6): 1970, 1997, 2000, 2007, 2010, 2012;
Runners up: 2002, 1994, 1967, 1915
Leicester City’s FA Cup wins: 0; Runners up: 1949, 1961, 1963, 1969

At 1630 the last of the weekend’s kick-offs, this is game 112 between the sides. The first in the FA Cup was a third round tie in February, 1920, won 3-0 by the Pensioners with goals provided by John Browning, on his farewell appearance, John Cock and Henry Ford.

While the last of seven FA Cup encounters was in March 2012, a 5-2 Chelsea win, the last meeting in any competition in the midlands was a 2-1 Premier League win to the visitors with Lee Mason in charge. That was in September, 2017, and only Wilfred Ndidi was cautioned.

All you need to know about Craig Pawson:
Premier League matches in 2017/18: 19
Premier League Yellows: 68 Reds: 4
FA Cup appointments in 2017/18: 3

It may be 8th versus 5th, but does league form go out of the window any more for a cup tie than it already does for Chelsea week to week? Leicester will be hoping for a repeat of Chelsea’s league form of December, 2015… the last time they were victorious, as Vardy and Mahrez trumped a Loic Remy reply on the Foxes’ merry way to the Premier League title.

Fourth official Paul Tierney is second only to Stuart Attwell in FA Cup appointments this season, yet he finds himself patrolling the technical areas this afternoon.

Craig Pawson has refereed Chelsea three times this season: their win at Bournemouth (1-0) plus defeats to Watford away 1-4 and Burnley home 2-3. He has not refereed a game featuring Leicester, however, since last season’s fifth round defeat at Millwall, when he dismissed the Lions’ defender Jake Cooper and cautioned the Foxes’ German keeper Ron-Robert Zieler.


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