As transfers hog the biggest headlines, it’s not just Derek Eaton missing from the Matchday 24 list, although Roger East’s assistant, who had what Mark Halsey described as the best view in the house at Vicarage Road and failed to flag the Olivier Doucoure handball which made it Watford 2 Southampton 2, may be among the least surprised.

This weekend there’s no East, Anthony Taylor, Andre Marriner, Craig Pawson nor even Graham Scott, who had strung something of a run of matches together. At least the Oxfordshire official will occupy two technical areas, at the King Power and St Marys respectively, as he ponders the date of his next return to favour.

Mike Jones sits this one out, too, having decisively intervened as the VAR in Tuesday’s FA Cup replay at Leicester from Stockley Park, while Paul Tierney’s first live Premier League TV appearance of the season comes at the Etihad on Saturday evening, so break a leg, Paul!

Jonathan MossBrighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea

Assistants: E Smart
& A Halliday
Fourth official: Kevin Friend

Chelsea’s last seven Premier League goals have came from seven different players, which might explain the odds on who might score in this afternoon’s early kick-off for the cameras.

All you need to know about Jon Moss:

Matches in 2017/18: 16 (11 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 10

Yellows: 59 Reds: 2

The home side’s Shane Duffy is way out in front for headed clearances (142) and lies fifth for aerial battles won (111) compared to his Premier League peers. But he’s not going to the World Cup. Brighton keeper Mathew Ryan, on the other hand, will potentially face Chelsea’s French contingent, Tiemoue Bakayoko and N’golo Kante out there in Russia, as well as Danish centre-half Andreas Christensen in consecutive group C fixtures within five days in June.

The first four of the encounters between these two clubs came in the FA Cup, and the last four came in Division Two. The first ever was in January, 1933, when Albion won 2-1 on their way to the next round, while the last was in March, 1989, when visitors Chelsea won 1-0 in the league.

Jon Moss took Chelsea’s August win over Everton and their October win over Watford, as well as their win at West Brom. The last time he took charge of Brighton, however, was in November 2013, when they drew 1-1 at AFCB and he cautioned Matthew Upson. He also referred Tuesday’s ground-breaking offside decision to VAR Mike Jones, thus arriving at the correct decision in awarding a goal to Leicester.

Arsenal v Crystal Palace

Assistants: P Kirkup
& A Nunn
Fourth official: Andre Marriner

Alexis Sanchez might well miss this clash of sixth and 12th, too, but his country, Chile, alongside Italy and the Netherlands, will certainly be missing come June in Russia. Palace’s own player/spectators, besides their Dutchmen, will be Luka Milivojevic (Serbia), Wayne Hennessey (Wales), Damien Delaney (Republic of Ireland), Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast), James McArthur (Scotland), Bakary Sako (Mali) and Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana).

All you need to know about Chris Kavanagh:

Matches in 2017/18: 8 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 11

Yellows: 30 Reds: 0

Roy Hodgson’s predecessor as England manager took Martin Kelly to the 2010 World Cup and Hodgson himself placed a good deal of faith in Andros Townsend before the they were reunited at club level, but let’s not turn this into a pity party.

Palace’s Lee Chung-Yong, however, could well be in the frame to face Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi when South Korea play Germany in Kazan on June 27.

The first meeting between these two clubs with south London roots ended 7-0 in an FA Cup 4th round tie at Highbury, with goals from Ralf Biretta and two each from Pat Beardsley, Jimmy Dunne and Cliff Bastin.

On New Years Day 2017, an Olivier Giroud overhead kick embroidered an Alex Iwobi effort for a 2-0 home win, and Andre Marriner booked Nacho Monreal and James Tomkins.

Chris Kavanagh has yet to officiate in a game featuring either side so far this season, or, in fact, ever at senior level… even in the cups, so congratulations are due for this appointment, given such an impressive start to his SG1 career. Assistant Peter Kirkup, was involved as AVAR in Tuesday’s historic award of a Leicester goal despite a flag from Lee Betts and Jon Moss’s original offside decision.

Mike DeanBurnley v Manchester United

S Long & I Hussin
Fourth official: Mike Jones

United have won only once when conceding first this season, and they conceded first and second at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture, which ended 2-2. Things went far smoother for the visitors last April, 2017 when they won 2-0 with goals from Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney.

All you need to know about Mike Dean:

Matches in 2017/18: 15 (9 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 13

Yellows: 55 Reds: 1

Referee Anthony Taylor showed yellow cards to Matt Lowton, Jeff Hendrick and Rooney that day.

The second of 124 meetings in all competitions saw visitors Newton Heath thrashed 4-1 in Division One, and Burnley will today expect a gate of considerably more than the 7,000 who witnessed that one.

Mike Dean refereed Burnley’s home win over Newcastle and Manchester United’s home win over Palace, as well as their memorable visit to Ashton Gate in the Carabao Cup.

Stuart AttwellEverton v West Bromwich Albion

Assistants: G Beswick
& R West
Fourth official: Anthony Taylor

This is the 166th time these clubs have met, the first ever coming in December, 1888, when West Brom won 4-1 away in Division One. Last March, 2017, it was 3-0 to the home side, the goals supplied by Kevin Mirallas, Morgan Schneiderlin and Romelu Lukaku against his old club.

Graham Scott cautioned Gareth Barry, Claudio Yacob and Craig Dawson that day.

All you need to know about Stuart Attwell:

Matches in 2017/18: 9 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 12

Yellows: 32 Reds: 1

As two former Palace, West Ham and Newcastle managers clash, it’s also ninth versus 19th in the Premier League. Everton boss Sam Allardyce, seen by many, including some previous employers, as a textbook Northerner, actually hails from Dudley and played for the Baggies between 1989 and 1991, when he was also offered and accepted the role of assistant manager.

Stuart Attwell has yet to referee either side this season. Last season, however, the Warwickshire-based official refereed both twice: two away draws for the Baggies and wins at home and away for the Toffees.

Leicester City v Watford

S Beck & A Garratt
Fourth official: Graham Scott

It’s eight versus tenth and, apparently, Andre Gray only scores away, except when he’s playing Southampton. Yes, none of Gray’s first seven Watford goals came at Vicarage Road, but his legal header preceded Doucoure’s illegal equaliser on Matchday 23 to gain a vital point… yet it’s still ten games with no clean sheet.

The first of the 63 games between these clubs in all competitions to take place in the Midlands ended 3-1 in an FA Cup replay back in January, 1909.

All you need to know about Lee Probert:

Matches in 2017/18: 9 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 8

Yellows: 11 Reds: 2

Last May, 2017, it ended 3-0 thanks to Wilfred Ndidi, Marc Albrighton and Riyad Mahrez, with his third in three versus Watford, a tally he increased by one in December’s 2-1 defeat in the reverse fixture. The only clean sheet on that occasion belonged to Roger East, of all people, with zero cautions.

For Leicester it’s now 13 set-piece goals conceded, and for Watford it’s 12; Brighton are the division’s worst. with 16.

Ndidi, at just 21 years old, is way out in front in boasting the most Premier League tackles with 95, 19 more than his closest challenger, and that despite his recent suspension following a red card against Palace.

Shinji Okazaki holds 111 caps for Japan (50 goals) but he won’t be getting a preview of his country’s World Cup opposition this afternoon. Remarkably, of the 18 nations represented in Watford’s dressing room (and 11 qualifiers), no players figure from Japan’s group H rivals, Senegal, Poland or Colombia.

Tunisia’s Riyad Mahrez, Yohan Benalouane and Islam Slimani might have faced England’s Nathaniel Chalobah, were he not still recovering from knee surgery.

Lee Probert has refereed both a Watford win and defeat this season, sending off Marvin Zeegelaar at Turf Moor, as well as Leicester’s FA Cup win over Leeds and their August win over Brighton in the Premier League.

Michael OliverStoke City v Huddersfield Town

S Ledger & M McDonough
Fourth official: Neil Swarbrick

Stoke have conceded the third most goals after 23 games in Premier League history, and, following the top flight’s 7th managerial departure of the season, the search was on to find the man to reverse that trend.

No Gary Rowett; no Quique Sanchez Flores; no Martin O’Neill and no Roy Keane. Instead it’s the Paul Lambert era that’s under way at the Britannia Stadium, as game 72 of all time against the Terriers beckons.

All you need to know about Michael Oliver:

Matches in 2017/18: 19 (13 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 4

Yellows: 70 Reds: 4

The first ever was won 1-0 by Huddersfield in Division Two back in April, 1920, and the last came in the same division, ending in a 1-1 draw in September, 2001.

Michael Oliver refereed Stoke’s 1-0 win at Watford in October and, coincidentally, Huddersfield’s 4-1 win at the same place in December. Keith Hackett gave us these observations on his progress: “He is certainly a top class referee, however, with more pro-active management and an implementation of a stepped process he might just reduce his having to pull the red out of his pocket so often.

“At times I also believe that his first caution might be avoided if he adopted the same process:

  1. Quiet word on the run
  2. The ‘come and join me’ action of taking the player to one side and issuing a public warning, ie inform the player you want to see an improvement in their behaviour
  3. Caution
  4. Send off

“Then he needs to manage himself by at times putting his foot on the ball and taking more control of the proceedings.”

Martin Atkinson

West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth

Assistants: L Betts
& S Childs
Fourth official: Lee Mason

The sense of relief for both clubs at reaching mid-table might well be tempered by a glance at the small margin in points between 11th and the relegation places.

This is only the 13th time the sides have met, the first having come in February, 1929 as West Ham ran out 3-1 winners in the FA Cup.

All you need to know about Martin Atkinson:

Matches in 2017/18: 16 (7 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 3

Yellows: 53 Reds: 4

Last August, 2016 it was a red card for subsequent Hammers target Harry Arter after 77 minutes and a late headed winner from Michail Antonio as the depleted visitors strove to hang on for a point. Cautions for Sam Byram, Winston Reid, Pedro Obiang and Steve Cook from referee Craig Pawson to go with Arter’s second yellow. At Christmas 2017 the reverse fixture provided us with a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Vitality Stadium.

Martin Atkinson refereed AFCB’s defeat at Goodison in September and West Ham’s November draw with Leicester, when he cautioned Andre Ayew. Assistant Lee Betts saw his flag overruled on Tuesday night when the VAR team of Jones and Kirkup awarded Leicester’s second goal.

Paul Tierney

Manchester City v Newcastle United

S Bennett & M Perry
Fourth official: Craig Pawson

This is game 176 between the sides, but around 50 games or so ago they met in the unsponsored League Cup Final in February, 1976. Clive Thomas was on standby for Jack Taylor in a role he later described as the first fourth official, but the game itself was won by a dramatic Dennis Tueart overhead kick after Alan Gowling had cancelled out Peter Barnes’s opening goal.

All you need to know about Paul Tierney:

Matches in 2017/18: 8 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 9

Yellows: 23 Reds: 0

The very first encounter saw Ardwick lose a Division Two fixture 3-2 to Newcastle in October, 1893, while the last one at the Etihad, which means United in Arabic, was in October, 2015. That day referee Kevin Friend cautioned Fernandinho, Zabaleta, Mangala and Vurnon Anita as Sergio Aguero helped himself to five in a 6-1 home win.

Paul Tierney has refereed both sides this season: City when Southampton came calling and Newcastle when they lost at home to Bournemouth. Last season he took Newcastle’s win at Barnsley and their defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday, but was only in charge of City in the FA Cup, when they dispatched Huddersfield in a fifth round replay.

Kevin Friend

Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur

Assistants: H Lennard
& M Wilkes
Fourth official: Graham Scott

Two Argentinian coaches meet for this late Sunday kick-off, moved for the benefit of Sky’s cameras and pitching 17th against fifth place in the Premier League.

With Harry Kane having overtaken Teddy Sheringham’s Premier League goal tally for Spurs on Matchday 23, the records keep coming as these sides meet for the 180th time.

All you need to know about Kevin Friend:

Matches in 2017/18: 12 (8 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 15

Yellows: 30 Reds: 0

The first of those occasions came in the Southern League and ended 1-1 in March, 1897, while December 2016 saw Spurs win 4-1 with goals supplied by Virgil van Dyke, Dele Alli (two), Kane and Son Heung-Min at St Marys.

Nathan Redmond saw red and conceded a penalty as referee Mike Dean showed yellow to Shane Long, Kyle Walker, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele.

Kevin Friend has refereed Saints twice already this season, a home win (Everton) and a home draw (Newcastle), as well as Tottenham’s November win at home to Palace.

Neil SwarbrickSwansea City v Liverpool

Assistants: C Hatzidakis
& D Cook
Fourth official: Mike Jones

Both sides have more traditional derby duties to contend with, but for now we could call this the ‘El Toshico’… John Toshack having played such a part in the respective success as a Liverpool player and Swansea manager.

All you need to know about Neil Swarbrick:

Matches in 2017/18: 13 (6 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 15

Yellows: 32 Reds: 0

Brendan Rodgers represents a considerably more recent connection, and was not even born when the clubs first met in Wales in September, 1954 in a Division Two fixture that ended 3-2 to Swansea.

Last season, at the Liberty, Liverpool claimed three points while Michael Oliver cautioned Leon Britton, Jack Cork, Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson.

LFC have scored the third most goals by a top flight European club on 54, bettered only by PSG on 59 and City on 67, so watching those totals increase might provide more interest than any sense that the team at the bottom of the Premier League might catch the team in 16th, never mind third. But you never know…

Neil Swarbrick refereed Swansea’s defeat at Stamford Bridge in November as well as Liverpool wins over Leicester (home) and West Ham (away) this season. As well as taking the VAR slot for the first two occasions on which it was used in this country, he was fourth official at the King Power for Leicester’s FA Cup third round replay win over Fleetwood during the week.

His input was not required when it came to the historic second Kelechi Iheanacho goal and the incorrect offside call which was overruled on 77 minutes in the 2-0 home win. That came courtesy of today’s fourth official, Mike Jones.


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