If anyone could do with spiriting 20,000 – and double their home average – into an away ground, or any ground for that matter, it’s Swansea City, at Vicarage Road, today, just like Cologne did at the Emirates back in September. Maybe they could find room for Tony Woodcock in the next Swans regime, as we strongly suspect he was secretly behind the whole operation!
Confidence is running low in SG1, according to YATR’s Mark Halsey, a factor in the following list from Matchdays 19 & 20: Charlie Austin’s errant kick against Huddersfield for which he was charged (missed by Probert); Alli and Kane against City (missed by Pawson); Everton’s pen that should have been a free kick against Swansea (Moss) and Anthony Taylor missing the award of straightforward pens for both Huddersfield and Stoke.
Oh, and the switch of the latest chapter in the Spurs versus West Ham saga to January 4 is the only thing preventing this round of games mirroring the schedule of Matchday 6 exactly, in case you were wondering.
AFC Bournemouth v Everton
Assistants: S Beck & C Hatzidakis
Fourth official: Andre Marriner
While Everton have zoomed up to ninth under Sam Allardyce, the Cherries continue to languish in the bottom three, despite scraping a last-gasp point from the visit of West Ham during the week.
This 10th meeting between the clubs comes 32 years after the first one in Dorset, a League Cup 2nd round, 2nd leg 2-0 victory for the visitors in 1985, when Gary Lineker and Kevin Richardson goals clinched a 5-2 aggregate win.
All you need to know about Lee Probert:
Matches in 2017/18: 8 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 6
Yellows: 11 Reds: 2
The last meeting in Dorset came in September, 2016, when Junior Stanislas hit the winner. Also on that day Charlie Daniels, Drew Surman, Bryan Oviedo and Idrissa Gueye found themselves cautioned by the very same Bobby Madley whose decision to allow Bournemouth’s third goal on Boxing Day so incensed David Moyes.
At Goodison Park in September, 2017, Simon Francis elbowed Wayne Rooney and it was judged accidental by Martin Atkinson. Madley let the same player off with a yellow for a boot to Cheikhou Kouyate’s face on Boxing Day, once again saving the club captain from a ban.
Lee Probert last refereed the Cherries in their 4-0 home win over Huddersfield, when Francis was coincidentally red-carded, as well as their win at Stoke in October. Probert was last appointed for an Everton fixture in May, 2015, when the Toffees lost at home to Dick Advocaat’s Sunderland.
Chelsea v Stoke City
Assistants: S Burt & D Eaton
Fourth official: Jon Moss
In one of numerous World Cup group match-ups today, Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri could face David Luiz and/or Willian of group opponents Brazil. Even so, another international match-up from the past, with a lower profile, perhaps offers more intrigue…
Mark Hughes and Antonio Conte never met as coaches of Wales and Italy respectively and, even though their playing careers were contemporaneous and Hughes played for three teams in consecutive years in the UEFA Cup, Conte had yet to join Juventus from Lecce by then anyway, and their paths only crossed once… in a January, 1996 friendly held in Terni, central Italy.
All you need to know about Kevin Friend:
Matches in 2017/18: 10 (7 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 14
Yellows: 24 Reds: 0
Hughes played the full 90 for Wales while Conte came on for Roberto di Matteo, who was to join Hughes as a player at Chelsea the following July, after only 23 minutes. Arrigo Sacchi’s Italy ran out easy winners in this Euro 96 warm-up attended by just under 17,000, thanks to goals from Del Pierro, Ravanelli and Casiraghi.
The first time these clubs met in London, Chelsea won 3-2 in Division One in September, 1922. The last was in December, 2016, when Chelsea won 4-2 thanks to Willian (two), Gary Cahill and Diego Costa, with Bruno Martins Indi and Peter Crouch replying. Referee Bobby Madley cautioned Charlie Adam, Mame Biram Diouf, Victor Moses, Cesc Fabregas and Marcos Alonso.
When Chelsea won at Stoke in March, 2017, Cahill became the first to score and concede a penalty for the Blues in the same game since Salomon Kalou in April, 2009, while Mike Dean dismissed Phil Bardsley, now of Burnley, for a second yellow card offence.
Kevin Friend refereed Chelsea’s recent win over Newcastle but has been awarded no Stoke fixture since their 1-0 Premier League defeat at Turf Moor in April. Stoke’s Adam and Martins Indi accounted for two of the five yellows that day.
Huddersfield Town v Burnley
Assistants: M Wilkes & S Massey-Ellis
Fourth official: Michael Oliver
This is game 73 in the annals of this fixture, the first one in Yorkshire having taken place in September, 1910: a 1-0 away win for the Clarets in Division Two.
Last time at the John Smiths was in March, 2016, resulting in another away win, with Stephen Ward, Sam Vokes, Ben Mee and Joe Lolley ensuring a 3-1 scoreline to accompany a ‘clean sheet’ for referee Scott Duncan.
All you need to know about Paul Tierney:
Matches in 2017/18: 7 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 8
Yellows: 20 Reds: 0
Paul Tierney’s SG1 colleague Chris Kavanagh identified simulation on the part of Rajiv La Parra the last time the sides met, when he crumbled under Matt Lowton’s challenge. These two players have experienced mixed fortunes since, with the Dutchman flourishing while the Lancastrian has lost his place to Wayne Rooney’s occasional sparring partner, Phil Bardsley.
Tierney refereed Burnley’s defeat at Leicester at the beginning of the month as well as Huddersfield’s defeat at Swansea in October.
Liverpool v Leicester City
Assistants: S Ledger & A Garratt
Fourth official: Lee Mason
Roberto Firmino has notched nine goals in his last eight starts for Liverpool but still can not be sure he will be named by Jurgen Klopp to face the Foxes in this clash of fourth versus eighth.
The first Merseyside meeting ended 3-1 in Division Two, November, 1895, and September, 2016 saw Leicester’s last visit, also won at a canter by Liverpool 4-1 with goals from Firmino (two), Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana, while Jamie Vardy contributed the visitors’ reply. Referee Craig Pawson booked Robert Huth, Daniel Amartey and Jordan Henderson.
All you need to know about Neil Swarbrick:
Matches in 2017/18: 12 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 12
Yellows: 27 Reds: 0
Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa will hope to line up against Dejan Lovren today just as they should for Nigeria against Croatia in group D come the summer, while the same goes for Japan’s Shinji Okazaki and Mane in group H.
Neil Swarbrick has taken a Leicester away game and a Liverpool away game in the Premier League so far this season. Both were victories, at West Ham and Newcastle respectively.
Newcastle United v Brighton & Hove Albion
Assistants: A Nunn & L Betts
Fourth official: Mike Jones
The first ever encounter between Newcastle and Brighton was in February, 1930, when their FA Cup fifth round tie was decided by a Hughie Gallacher hat-trick, leaving the score 3-0.
Last August, 2016, saw their last Championship encounter in the north, when Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey came up with the goals and Lascelles, Shelvey, Matt Ritchie, Ayoze Perez and Anthony Knockaert were cautioned and there were two more yellows for Sam Baldock.
All you need to know about Anthony Taylor:
Matches in 2017/18: 13 (6 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 3
Yellows: 52 Reds: 0
Earlier this season, Brighton’s Tomer Hemed and Bruno incurred the wrath of Rafa at the Amex. “Clear foul”, he said of the latter’s clash with Mbemba, yet Andre Marriner was not in agreement.
Anthony Taylor turned down a Diouf penalty appeal when Stoke faced Huddersfield on Boxing Day, while today is the first time Taylor has refereed either of these sides this season. He may have refereed Newcastle’s 5-1 win over Spurs in May, 2016, but you have to go back to March, 2014 for his last Albion appointment, when they lost at Hillsborough.
Watford v Swansea City
Assistants: S Child & H Lennard
Fourth official: Roger East
Watford boss Marco Silva will more than likely occupy the dug-out next door to serial sub Renato Sanches this afternoon, the young on-loan Munich midfielder who shares his country of birth.
The first time the clubs met in Hertfordshire was in September, 1920: a Division Three (south) fixture which Watford won 3-0.
All you need to know about Martin Atkinson:
Matches in 2017/18: 14 (7 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 2
Yellows: 47 Reds: 4
Last April, 2017, the Hornets’ Etienne Capoue came up with the winner by stealing the ball off England u-21 star Alfie Mawson at Vicarage Road as referee Lee Mason kept a ‘clean sheet’.
Not only was September’s 2-1 Watford win at the Liberty the first away win between these clubs in five clashes, they were the first goals from the away side, too. Marco Silva received a stage one warning from Mason at the Liberty that day, during the 47th meeting of these sides, and fortunately he managed to recover his composure and avoid being compelled to get a better view from the main stand.
Martin Atkinson last refereed Swansea in November at Turf Moor, and he took Watford’s home draw with Spurs two weeks later.
Manchester United v Southampton
Assistants: P Kirkup & R West
Fourth official: Bobby Madley
Second faces 14th in the Premier League for this 1730 kick-off televised by BT re-enacting last season’s EFL Cup Final as well as the 1976 FA Cup Final, two show-piece matches leaving the clubs with honours even, on one trophy each.
The Danish utility player Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg should come up against French opposition ahead of their summer clash in Russia in the shape of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, while Sofiane Boufal, despite also hailing from Paris, could face Spain’s De Gea, Mata and Herrera in a very English dress rehearsal of a group game that will surely extend his Morocco team.
All you need to know about Craig Pawson:
Matches in 2017/18: 15 (10 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 12
Yellows: 55 Reds: 4
The first visit of the Saints to play Newton Heath came in the FA Cup in February, 1897 and ended 3-1 to the home side, while last time they played at Old Trafford a Zlatan Ibrahimovic double in August, 2016 and a ‘clean sheet’ for Anthony Taylor contributed to a Friday night Sky Sports spectacular.
Craig Pawson refereed the corresponding fixture at St Mary’s in September, showing the visitors four yellow cards in their 1-0 win and reporting Jose Mourinho for stepping on to the pitch, having discussed the misdemeanour with his fourth official on the day, Mike Jones. Pawson also refereed United’s win over Newcastle at Old Trafford in November.
Crystal Palace v Manchester City
Assistants: E Smart & A Halliday
Fourth official: Stuart Attwell
This noon kick-off for BT pitting 16th in the Premier League against the leaders is the 59th time the clubs have met. The first time in south London was in January, 1921, when their FA Cup first round clash went the way of Palace.
All you need to know about Jonathan Moss:
Matches in 2017/18: 14 (10 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 9
Yellows: 48 Reds: 2
November, 2016 saw Yaya Toure return to Pep’s side and score twice, as substitute Conor Wickham scored his goal in between Yaya’s in City’s 2-1 away win. Nicolas Otamendi and Nolito joined Wickham in referee Bobby Madley’s notebook. City also won the FA Cup fourth round clash between these two thanks to goals from Sterling, Sane and Toure.
Jon Moss refereed City’s 5-0 September win over Liverpool, when he dismissed Sadio Mane for his high challenge on goalkeeper Edilson, as well as Palace’s home defeat to Huddersfield on Matchday One.
West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal
Assistants: S Long & I Hussin
Fourth official: Chris Kavanagh
Shortly before the departure of new Boro boss Tony Pulis from West Brom, he complained about the contrast in behaviour between his own player, Rodriguez, in getting back to his feet at the Emirates, and that of Sanchez, who won a free kick for Arsenal with Bobby Madley in charge.
Last season, however, Pulis pulled off a 3-1 home win thanks to two goals from Craig Dawson plus one from Hal Robson-Kanu. James McClean was Neil Swarbrick’s only caution.
Should you be unaware of adidas versus Puma and the story of the Dasslers, we’ll make this brief.
All you need to know about Mike Dean:
Matches in 2017/18: 13 (7 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 11
Yellows: 47 Reds: 1
Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, is home to both for a reason: the formation of the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory and the bitter 1949 split between its founders, Adolf and Rudolf.
While West Brom have been sporting Adolf’s three stripes since 2011, the first English team with an adidas-supplied kit was QPR, more or less from 1975 until 89, thanks to a mysterious false start. Its inaugural effort was replaced between team photo and first competitive fixture of the season by Umbro, meaning a 1976/77 debut instead.
The Rs’ radical choice was initially emulated by Forest, Notts County, Fulham and Birmingham. There are, however, only two other Premier League clubs signed with adidas: MUFC and Watford.
Having sued FIFA and settled over their controversial Cameroon kits from 2002, Rudolf’s Puma had their first World Cup winners on their hands at the very next finals, when Italy beat France on penalties in Berlin in 2006; the brand having long been associated as readily with athletics.
In 2011 Borussia Dortmund got on board, and in 2014 came Arsenal, who have since been joined by Newcastle, Leicester, Burnley and Huddersfield as well as clubs and countries around the globe.
Although both shoe manufacturers were to morph, to varying degrees, into fashion brands, the core business of both, especially since the 2013 appointment of a former footballer as Puma CEO, remains equipment for athletes, as well as officials.
Mike Dean takes this 1630 kick-off for Sky, pitting 19th in the Premier League against sixth in the 140th encounter between the clubs. Dean last took an Arsenal game in the north London derby in November. He also refereed West Brom’s defeat at Swansea earlier this month.