There’s been no Europa or Champions League engagement to tire out the top boys this week, and Mike Jones gets another seven days at least to recover from the hamstring injury sustained warming up at Wembley which led to his conducting fourth official duties from a chair between technical boxes.
Lee Probert’s penalty spot tribulations and Graham Scott’s trouble spotting a DOGSO at Anfield aside, congratulations are due, firstly to Chris Kavanagh for catching Ashley Williams red-handed at Turf Moor.
And lastly, on the subject of tributes, should you happen to be a historian, or even someone who collects compromising info on Neil Swarbrick, you might like to bookmark this page, as such kind words for referees from Jose Mourinho don’t come along very often: “This match needed two teams, maybe three teams, also: the ref maybe [made] one mistake here or there, but his intention was to let the game flow, don’t give too many fouls and keep the intensity of the game. So he was partly responsible for this match [being] possible, which was fantastic for the people in front of the screen and in the stadium.”
Manchester United v Liverpool
Assistants: G Beswick & P Kirkup
Fourth official: Martin Atkinson
While Mo Salah is looking for his 33rd goal of the season, Romelu Lukaku seeks his 100th Premier League goal overall. Both, of course, were deemed surplus to requirements during Jose Mourinho’s managerial tenure at Stamford Bridge.
This early Saturday kick-off is the 228th encounter, the first in Manchester having been won 5-2 by United in November, 1895 in Division Two at Bank Street, thanks to a James Peters hat-trick… half his total for the entire season, by the way.
All you need to know about Craig Pawson:
Matches in 2017/18: 18 (14 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 16
Yellows: 65 Reds: 4
The reverse fixture this season ended 0-0 and last season’s Old Trafford meeting proved an equally damp squib at 1-1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and James Milner, with a penalty, were the scorers and referee Michael Oliver cautioned Ander Herrera, Dejan Lovren, Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino in what turned out to be an overly-hyped 50th Premier League clash between bitter red Lancastrian adversaries.
Craig Pawson was in charge when Liverpool lost in the FA Cup at home to West Brom and refereed this season’s drawn Anfield derby against Everton; Liverpool’s 4-0 home win over Arsenal and their 1-1 draw at Newcastle, plus Manchester United’s home win and away defeat to the same opposition. He also took charge of United’s 1-0 away win and 0-0 home draw against Southampton, with Mourinho reported for encroachment and no further action taken following the clash at St Marys.
Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion
Assistants: S Long & S Massey-Ellis
Fourth official: Paul Tierney
Idrissa Gueye and Oumar Niasse are vying to face Brighton today and will likewise be in contention when Senegal face Colombia and Jose Izquierdo, Brighton’s record signing, at the Cosmos Arena in June by way of an appetiser for England versus Belgium later the same day.
It’s only game 13 between these sides who are contending with contrasting fan reactions to their respective league positions of 11th and 10th. The very first time they met on Merseyside was in February, 1913, when the Toffees recorded a 1-0 FA Cup win.
All you need to know about Roger East:
Matches in 2017/18: 13 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 18
Yellows: 44 Reds: 1
The reverse fixture at the Amex earlier this season ended 1-1, while the last game between the sides at Goodison Park, in October, 1982, ended 2-2 in Division One before a crowd of 17,539.
Everton’s Cenk Tosun is the 10th ever Turk to score in the Premier League, having got off the mark at Burnley, and the 15th Turk to play in it, while the closest to a Turk to have played for Brighton is Colin Kazim-Richards, born in Leytonstone, who qualified via his mum.
So far in this season’s Premier League, Roger East has overseen each club just the once: Everton’s draw at West Brom and Albion’s recent 3-1 win over West Ham.
Huddersfield Town v Swansea City
Assistants: S Bennett & S Burt
Fourth official: Jon Moss
In this 54th encounter between these clubs in all competitions David Wagner is seeking revenge for the 2-0 defeat earlier this season inflicted by two Tammy Abraham goals either side of the break under the watchful eye of Paul Tierney, who issued a total of five cautions for the visitors.
The first meeting in Yorkshire came at Christmas, 1952 and was won 3-0 by the home side just two days prior to the first meeting in Wales, which ended 3-3, in Division Two.
All you need to know about Michael Oliver:
Matches in 2017/18: 24 (15 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 5
Yellows: 85 Reds: 4
It’s the 11th anniversary, to the day, of Michael Oliver’s first appointment in the Football League, when Grimsby won 1-0 at Hereford in League Two. Funnily enough, it’s also the tenth anniversary of the last meeting between Huddersfield and Swansea in Yorkshire, and Oliver was in charge back in March, 2008, too. That League One encounter ended 1-0 to the visitors and leaders thanks to Jason Scotland’s winner. On the day Oliver showed Robert Page red at the Galpharm and Leon Britton, who’s still alive and kicking in all white, played the entire game.
Oliver also took Swansea’s home defeat by Leicester plus Huddersfield’s 4-1 win at Watford, as well as their home wins over Stoke and Bournemouth this season.
Newcastle United v Southampton
Assistants: S Ledger & R West
Fourth official: Kevin Friend
The first clash between master and apprentice, or former assistant in this case, ended 2-2 at St Marys on Matchday 8 this season, when Rafa Benitez and Mauricio Pellegrino shared the spoils.
The last encounter on Tyneside also ended 2-2, in August, 2015, when Craig Pawson cautioned four visitors as well as two of the home side. The goals were supplied by Papiss Cisse, Georgio Wijnaldum, Graziano Pelle and Shane Long.
All you need to know about Andre Marriner:
Matches in 2017/18: 20 (15 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 16
Yellows: 52 Reds: 2
This nerve-shredding showdown between 16th and 17th in the Premier League marks game number 96 between the clubs, the first one up north having been played in January, 1923. It ended 0-0 in the FA Cup and Saints progressed after winning the replay.
Andre Marriner refereed the Magpies’ 2-0 opening day defeat to Spurs and their 1-0 defeat at Brighton, cautioning three in both, plus their 1-0 defeat at Manchester City. He last refereed Southampton in their defeat at Spurs last season, cautioning six, having overseen their EFL Cup Final defeat to Manchester United four weeks earlier.
WBA v Leicester City
Assistants: M Perry & M McDonough
Fourth official: Neil Swarbrick
In this season’s reverse fixture, which ended 1-1, Riyad Mahrez equalised Nacer Chadli’s goal in much the same way as he capped his return to the Foxes fold with a stunning free kick against AFCB at the start of this month. Man of the match back in October, when Mike Dean was in charge, was Harry Maguire, who last week versus Stoke mustered seven attempts on goal, the most for a defender in a Premier League game this season.
All you need to know about Bobby Madley:
Matches in 2017/18: 14 (7 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 20
Yellows: 43 Reds: 2
Chadli, of course, could well go up against Maguire and Jamie Vardy again when Belgium meet England in Russia on June 28th.
This Saturday afternoon kick off is the 114th meeting between the clubs, the first at the Hawthorns having taken place in January, 1902. That Division Two encounter ended 1-0 to the Baggies, a result Alan Pardew would settle for today to settle this battle of the ex-Southampton bosses.
The last Hawthorns meeting was in April, 2017, and ended 1-0 to Leicester, when referee Mark Clattenburg booked Claudio Yakob, James Morrison, Danny Drinkwater and Yohan Benalouane, and Vardy scored the solitary goal.
Bobby Madley refereed the Baggies’ season opener, when they beat Bournemouth 1-0, and their 3-0 defeat at the Etihad in January. He also refereed the Foxes’ shoot-out defeat to City in the Carabao Cup, as well as their 2-2 draw at Stoke in November, when he kept a personal ‘clean sheet’.
West Ham United v Burnley
Assistants: H Lennard & M Wilkes
Fourth official: Graham Scott
A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since David Moyes described Lee Mason’s performance as “poor” in 2011, when he was in charge of Everton, and the time he found a novel way to protest after his team drew with Norwich two years later.
All you need to know about Lee Mason:
Matches in 2017/18: 13 (2 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 19
Yellows: 28 Reds: 2
This late Sunday kick-off is the 86th encounter between the clubs currently occupying 14th and 7th
place in the top flight, the first having taken place at Upton Park. That ended 0-0 in Division One, in November, 1923, while this season’s reverse fixture was a 1-1 draw.
The last clash of the clarets in London was last December, 2016, when Bobby Madley only cautioned Ben Mee and Jeff Hendrick, and a goal from Mark Noble kept his run going of scoring at least one in each of his ten Premier League seasons.
Mason oversaw West Ham’s 3-2 defeat at St Marys back in August (when he sent off Marko Arnautovic on 33 minutes) and Burnley’s 1-1 draw against Spurs a week later at Wembley, when he turned in a ‘clean sheet’. He has also refereed both sides at home in the Premier League this season: West Ham’s 3-2 defeat to Newcastle in December and Burnley’s defeat to Arsenal in November at Turf Moor.
Chelsea v Crystal Palace
Assistants: A Nunn & D Cook
Fourth official: Chris Kavanagh
No one expects a repeat of Sam Allardyce’s Stamford Bridge win last season nor October’s shock repeat now that Palace’s recovery under Roy Hodgson has been so dramatically choked off and Wilf Zaha is out injured.
All you need to know about Anthony Taylor:
Matches in 2017/18: 20 (10 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 6
Yellows: 73 Reds: 0
Predicting whether we see the Chelsea that earned their draw with Barcelona in the Champions League or the Chelsea that surrendered at home to Bournemouth, however, is a tricky proposition indeed.
So, fifth plays 18th, in the 52nd encounter in all competitions, the first at Stamford Bridge having ended 2-2 in Division Two back in September, 1924.
Chelsea failed to revenge last season’s 2-1 defeat and lost 2-1 at Selhurst Park on Matchday 8 with Andre Marriner in charge, producing three yellow cards.
Anthony Taylor refereed Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Spurs, their 2-2 draw at Arsenal and their 1-0 defeat at West Ham, plus their 1-0 home win over United, as well as Palace’s 2-2 home draw with Everton in November.
Arsenal v Watford
Assistants: L Betts & C Hatzidakis
Fourth official: Chris Kavanagh
The first encounter between these two clubs came in February, 1906 at Plumstead in the second round of the FA Cup, won 3-0 by Arsenal with goals from Coleman, Freeman and Fitchie.
The reverse fixture this season ended 2-1 to Watford, prior to which Watford won their last visit to the Emirates, too.
All you need to know about Martin Atkinson:
Matches in 2017/18: 21 (10 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 5
Yellows: 72 Reds: 4
They had lost all seven Premier League games to Arsenal prior to that January triumph, and Alexis Sanchez had scored every time he had faced them. On this occasion, however, he was booked by Andre Marriner, as goals from Younes Kaboul and Troy Deeney wrapped up three points despite an Alex Iwobi effort.
Martin Atkinson has refereed Watford twice in the Premier League so far this season: their draw at home to Spurs and their defeat at home to Swansea plus Arsenal’s semi stalemate at Stamford Bridge as well as their 3-3 draw with Liverpool in December, when he only cautioned Iwobi.
AFC Bournemouth v Tottenham
Assistants: I Hussin & S Bennett
Fourth official: Graham Scott
Spurs will be looking to improve as they visit the scene of their 0-0 draw last October, 2016, with points needed to secure a Champions League spot, hoping old favourite Jermain Defoe does not come off the bench to haunt them.
All you need to know about Mike Dean:
Matches in 2017/18: 19 (9 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 17
Yellows: 70 Reds: 2
Referee Craig Pawson cautioned Dan Gosling, Max Gradel, Erik Lamela, Jan Vertonghen, Dele Alli and Danny Rose that day.
This is only the seventh game between these sides ever, the first having ended 3-1 to AFCB in February, 1957… their only win in this fixture, while Spurs’ win in this season’s reverse fixture was their first in the Premier League at Wembley. It ended 1-0 thanks to Christian Eriksen’s winner, with Bobby Madley in the middle.
Fresh from Coventry versus Lincoln last week, Mike Dean was also appointed for Bournemouth’s late defeat to Manchester City at the Vitality Stadium and the 0-0 draw between Spurs and Swansea at Wembley in September.
He also took the Swans’ 1-0 loss to Brighton in November, plus their 2-0 defeat at Chelsea and the small matter of the north London derby which Spurs lost 2-0 to Arsenal in November. He happened to be in charge when West Ham knocked Spurs out of the Carabao Cup 3-2 in October, too.
Stoke City v Manchester City
Assistants: A Holmes & A Halliday
Fourth official: Andre Marriner
Should Stoke’s Jack Butland win the race for the England gloves, having joined up with Kyle Walker and John Stones he can look forward to coming up against any number of other Manchester City players in Russia come June, whether it’s KDB in the group stage or either of the Silvas, Sane, Gundogan, Aguero, Otamendi, Laporte or a bunch of Brazilians, including his opposite number Ederson, later on in the tournament.
All you need to know about Jonathan Moss:
Matches in 2017/18: 21 (13 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 14
Yellows: 77 Reds: 2
Last week versus Chelsea, the German, Ilkay Gundogan, set a record with his 181 touches and 167 successful passes out of City’s record total of 902.
Paul Lambert’s side lost this season’s reverse encounter 7-2, when it wasn’t his side, and the clubs have former manager Mark Hughes in common. He lost eight out of 13 games versus the Sky Blues after leaving them in 2009, then representing Fulham, QPR and Stoke, and he won two.
Both current managers are Champions League winners, something former City striker George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah did not accomplish.
Not many football clubs can boast a president among their old boys fraternity, however, and that’s the ‘big-league’ position George holds in Liberia. Only one ex-Stoke player ever took it upon himself to print the currency of the realm to the best of our knowledge, but Mickey Thomas has now paid his debt to society.
The last time Stoke hosted Pep they lost 4-1 in August, 2016, when referee Mike Dean cautioned four visitors and three from the home side. The goals came in doubles from Nolito and Sergio Aguero, plus Bojan’s reply for the Potters.
The first ever meeting was all the way back in December, 1899, when Stoke won 1-0 in Division One.
Teacher Jon Moss took City’s comfortable home Premier League win over Liverpool and took the uncomfortable decision to dismiss Sadio Mane, as well as Stoke’s 0-0 draw at home to Watford, when he cautioned Kabasele, Adam, Bauer, Holebas, Diouf, Pieters and Doucoure.