Along with the compelling, welcome return to the top flight of Simon Hooper there are rests for Michael Oliver, Anthony Taylor, Martin Atkinson, Stuart Attwell, Paul Tierney and Roger East, although the latter will at least be on technical area duty twice as he takes on the M4 between appointments in south Wales and south west London.
Notwithstanding the varied elements of this challenging role, YATR’s Andy Hogg notes: “In terms of providing a referee who is perhaps not in the best form a vote of no-confidence, then this is not necessarily the best piece of man-management by the PGMO.”
The entire YATR team offers its best wishes to Hooper and hopes that, second time around, he will be able to cope with the physical demands of the Premier League.
Swansea City v Arsenal
Assistants: H Lennard & S Burt
Fourth official: Roger East
The very first of 24 previous encounters left Swansea Town as 2-1 winners in an FA Cup quarter-final in March, 1926. The last in Wales was in January, 2017, when Olivier Giroud, Jack Cork and Kyle Naughton own goals and Alexis Sanchez left the score at 4-0 to the visitors. Referee Mike Jones cautioned Ki Sung-yeung and Leroy Fer as goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski endured a nightmare afternoon against his former club.
All you need to know about Lee Mason:
Matches in 2017/18: 11 (1 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 15
Yellows: 23 Reds: 2
For one of his successors, it’s still 199 clean sheets for Petr Cech, yet another sub-plot sees Renato Sanches go up against Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin, if selected, in a preview of the group B clash between Portugal and Spain in Russia come June.
Sweden’s Martin Olsson, meanwhile, can rehearse against Arsenal’s Germans and group F rivals, as if it’s not an uphill enough task trying to beat relegation.
Lee Mason refereed Swansea’s 2-1 home defeat to Watford in September, as well as their defeat at Arsenal in the reverse fixture this season. He also took charge of the Gunners’ 1-0 win at Turf Moor in November. Way back in 2006, he presided over Swansea’s shoot-out win in the League One play-off final against Barnsley at Wembley.
West Ham United v Crystal Palace
Assistants: A Holmes & M Perry
Fourth official: Andre Marriner
Not only is it 11th versus 13th tonight, it’s a battle between two teams who changed manager well before the season’s midway point and lived, indeed thrived, to tell the tale. It’s not the first time David Moyes has stepped into Sam Allardyce’s shoes, even if Slaven Bilic got there first, but things are palpably going better this time around.
All you need to know about Neil Swarbrick: 16
Matches in 2017/18: 14 (7 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18:
Yellows: 34 Reds: 0
This is the 56th time the clubs have met, the first one at Upton Park having been a Southern League engagement ending 1-1 in March, 1907. The last East End affair came last January, 100 years on, and ended 3-0 thanks to goals from Sofiane Feghouli, Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini. Neil Swarbrick cautioned Sam Byram, Mark Noble, Lanzini, Carroll, Stephen Ward and Joe Ledley that day.
Neil Swarbrick has refereed Palace just the once this term, a forgettable visit to the Etihad in September which saw them ship five goals without reply, while he has taken a West Ham home defeat (against Liverpool) and an away one at Newcastle. Something might just have to give tonight, be that a draw or a first win for either team under his ‘eagle’ eye.
Huddersfield Town v Liverpool
Assistants: S Bennett & M Scholes
Fourth official: Jon Moss
BT Sport will broadcast this 8pm reunion between old friends Jurgen Klopp and David Wagner hosted by the club where Bill Shankly first showed his managerial chops. It’s also 14th versus 4th place following Liverpool’s shock defeat at Swansea which prevented them overtaking Chelsea in the Premier League.
All you need to know about Kevin Friend:
Matches in 2017/18: 13 (9 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 17
Yellows: 35 Reds: 0
Belgian centre-forward Laurent Depoitre will be hoping it won’t be long before he faces all or some of Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez as group G opponents, injury and club form permitting. Should Alberto Moreno keep his Spain place he will also be glad he paused to take notes on Huddersfield’s Moroccan midfielder, Abdelhamid Sabiri.
The first ever encounter between the Terriers and the Reds came in the FA Cup back in March, 1920 and ended 2-1, a scoreline reversed in the first league meeting at Leeds Road a year on, in March, 1921.
The last meeting in Yorkshire was in December, 1999, again in the FA Cup, when goals from Titi Camara and Dominic Matteo left the score at 2-0 and there was a solitary yellow card for Kevin Gray.
Kevin Friend has refereed three games at Anfield this season and two Terriers away games, including the reverse fixture between these two clubs, which ended 3-0 to the home side.
Chelsea v AFC Bournemouth
Assistants: A Garratt & M Wilkes
Fourth official: Roger East
The first of 10 previous encounters between the Pensioners and the Cherries came in March, 1989 and ended 2-0 in Division Two. Last time was as recently as December, when Chelsea advanced from the Carabao Cup quarter-finals thanks to Alvaro Morata’s injury-time winner at the Bridge.
All you need to know about Lee Probert:
Matches in 2017/18: 10 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 8
Yellows: 11 Reds: 2
Twelve months previously, it was 3-0, as goals from Pedro, an Eden Hazard penalty (his 50th Premier League goal) plus a Steve Cook own goal confirmed the home side’s superiority. Referee Mike Jones cautioned Pedro and Jack Wilshere, who was on loan from Arsenal at Bournemouth.
Ahead of this clash between 3rd and 12th, Lee Probert has refereed two home wins and an away win for Bournemouth so far this season. The last time he took a Chelsea fixture, however, was all the way back in April, 2015, when they beat Stoke 3-0 at home and he turned in a ‘clean sheet’.
Everton v Leicester City
Assistants: R West & S Massey-Ellis
Fourth official: Mike Jones
Here are two more clubs who ditched their manager early and have hardly regretted it, given that they occupy 9th and 7th positions respectively.
The last meeting on Merseyside ended 4-2 April 2017, with Tom Davies, Romelu Lukaku (two) and Phil Jagielka scoring for the Toffees and Islam Slimani and Marc Albrighton replying for the Foxes. Referee Bobby Madley cautioned Leighton Baines, Kevin Mirallas, Robert Huth and Andy King.
All you need to know about Chris Kavanagh:
Matches in 2017/18: 9 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 11
Yellows: 30 Reds: 0
Craig Shakespeare, who occupied the other dug-out that day and later described it as a basketball game, has since joined Everton’s staff, while today it’s Premier League game 1001 for his new old boss, Sam Allardyce. They teamed up for one England game, in Slovakia, as the start of season 2016/17 failed to go to plan.
The first game between these clubs, in April, 1909, coincidentally finished 4-2, too. It took place in Division One when City were still Leicester Fosse, and three players scored twice: Tim Coleman, Ben Freeman, and Everton’s James Donnelly.
Chris Kavanagh has refereed two other Leicester away fixtures so far this season, a win (at Southampton) and a defeat (at Watford), while his one Everton appointment resulted in a 2-0 home win over Huddersfield. His “quiet and efficient manner” has impressed Keith Hackett since his promotion to SG1.
Newcastle United v Burnley
Assistants: G Beswick & L Betts
Fourth official: Neil Swarbrick
Unless there’s an eve-of-game blockbuster of a bid for Newcastle from Ant and Dec, then the headline tonight really is the return of 35-year-old Simon Hooper, who has 19 Championship games under his belt this season to go with three stints in Premier League technical areas.
All you need to know about Simon Hooper:
Matches in 2017/18: 0 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 3
Yellows: 0 Reds: 0
It’s the 103rd meeting between the Magpies and the Clarets, and the first ever came in February, 1895: a 2-1 win in the FA Cup that saw Newcastle advance at Burnley’s expense.
The last at St James Park was on New Years Day, 2015, when there were six cautions courtesy of referee Mike Dean to go with the six goals in a 3-3 thriller.
Simon Hooper’s one and only previous Premier League game came at Selhurst Park on the opening day of 2015/16, when Norwich lost 3-1 to Palace. He last refereed Burnley in this season’s Carabao Cup victory at Ewood Park and last refereed Newcastle at St Andrews, when they drew 0-0 with Birmingham in the Championship last March.
Southampton v Brighton & Hove Albion
Assistants: S Long & I Hussin
Fourth official: John Brooks
It’s 11 games without a win for Saints as they try to dig their way out of 18th spot against a south coast rival currently lying 16th.
Chief among an array of World Cup possibilities on show at St Marys should be Jose Izquierdo up against Maya Yoshida, representing Colombia versus Japan respectively in group H. The two nations, at least, are due to meet again in Saransk come June.
All you need to know about Mike Dean:
Matches in 2017/18: 16 (9 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 14
Yellows: 61 Reds: 1
Again? They shared group C in the Brazil-hosted World Cup of 2014, and Colombia ran out 4-1 winners without the Brighton winger, who only took his international bow last season. Yoshida, however, played the whole game.
This will be the 68th encounter between Saints and Seagulls, the first having been a 5-1 Southampton win in the Southern League in November, 1903.
The last one in Hampshire came in November, 2011 when Saints won 3-0 in a Championship fixture that featured a Rickie Lambert hat-trick. Referee Peter Walton booked seven that day, including five of the visitors.
Mike Dean last refereed Brighton in their Boxing day defeat at Stamford Bridge, while his last appointment featuring Saints in their 0-0 draw at Old Trafford last May. This is John Brooks’s second appointment as fourth official in the Premier League this season.
Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion
Assistants: A Nunn & M McDonough
Fourth official: Kevin Friend
This 8pm kick-off for BT follows the clash of these clubs on City’s way to Wembley for the Carabao Cup Final in February. Leroy Sane scored a goal in each half back in September as City sneaked into the fourth round 2-1 at the Hawthorns to face West Brom’s neighbours, Wolves.
All you need to know about Bobby Madley:
Matches in 2017/18: 11 (7 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 13
Yellows: 38 Reds: 2
The first game between these two in Manchester ended 1-1 and went under the label of a test match; the second came in Division One and ended 0-0 in 1899.
The last one at the Etihad came in May, 2017, and ended 3-1 with the goals supplied by Gabriel Jesus, Kevin de Bruyne, Yaya Toure and Hal Robson-Kanu in what turned out to be the final curtain call for Willy Caballero (now at Chelsea), Pablo Zabaleta (West Ham) and Mr Kolarov of Roma. Referee Craig Pawson cautioned Sane, Craig Dawson and Nacer Chadli.
City’s Ukrainian left back, Oleksandr Zinchenko, aside from being Pep’s latest discovery, represents the latest variation of the name Alex at the club, following Williams, Alec Herd, Sandy Wann, Alexander Matthew Busby, Aleksandar Kolorov, Aleix Garcia, Albert Alexander Snr and current young Aussie scholar Alexander Robertson, among others.
Bobby Madley last refereed West Brom at the Emirates in September, when his refusal to award a penalty to Jay Rodriguez infuriated former manager Tony Pulis. The month before he was in charge when Everton grabbed a point at the Etihad, and he sent off Kyle Walker and Morgan Schneiderlin having shown second yellow cards to both.
Stoke City v Watford
Assistants: E Smart & A Halliday
Fourth official: Lee Mason
It’s 17th versus 10th as yet another two clubs boasting recent managerial scalpings take each other on.
They never even met before September, 1967, and a 2-0 League Cup victory for the Potters. The last encounter at Stoke’s place also ended 2-0, in January, 2017, when Ryan Shawcross and Peter Crouch scored and Neil Swarbrick cautioned Mame Biram Diouf, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Christian Kabasele.
All you need to know about Jon Moss:
Matches in 2017/18: 17 (12 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 10
Yellows: 62 Reds: 2
Xherdan Shaqiri will no doubt gird himself to face a couple of Brazilans tonight, yet Gomes and Richarlison are unlikely to feature when Switzerland take on the Selecao on June 17 in Russia. Watford have a Colombian, too, who may force his way into the side due to play Senegal, featuring Stoke’s Diouf, on June 28, aka Matchday 3, in group H. That said, young Camilo Hernandez remains on loan at Spanish second division side Huesca.
Jon Moss has refereed two Watford defeats to the tune of 4-2 this season, one at home (Manchester United) and one away (at Chelsea), while his last appointment featuring Stoke came at White Hart Lane last February, a 4-0 defeat in which Glenn Whelan, Marko Arnautovic and Charlie Adam were cautioned.
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United
Assistants: S Ledger & S Beck
Fourth official: Graham Scott
It’s game 188 between these clubs., scheduled for 8pm for the benefit of BT’s cameras. January, 1899 saw the first ever meeting, a 1-1 FA Cup first round stalemate settled when Spurs won the replay 5-3 at Newton Heath.
All you need to know about Andre Marriner:
Matches in 2017/18: 16 (13 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 13
Yellows: 41 Reds: 2
The last game at WHL ended 2-1 to the home side in May, 2017, with goals provided by Victor Wanyama, Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney. Referee Jon Moss cautioned Wanyama, Rooney and Eric Bailly.
Should the Swedes recall Zlatan Ibrahimovic or keep faith with Victor Lindelof, then South Korea’s Son Heung-min awaits in group F on June 18 at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.
Andre Marriner last refereed Spurs in October, when they beat Liverpool 4-1 at Wembley. His last appointment featuring Manchester United was their 2-0 win at Goodison Park on New Years Day.