Once again the axe falls and it’s an enforced break from the middle for Marriner, Madley, Tierney, Attwell (despite his accompanying Marriner and Friend to Russia on Europa duty), Mason, Taylor and Kavanagh.

The last two omissions might even be the bigger surprises, especially given Kavanagh’s expert work when faced with a flying Dutchman at Turf Moor on Matchday 6.

Let’s just hope they don’t all react by plunging into some kind of middle age crisis… and taking up boxing!

We await the outcome of conduct charges against West Ham and Spurs, while, at least until the FA made it go away, it certainly looked like his chickens were coming home to roost for Jose Mourinho, for the sake of a left shoe over the touchline at St Mary’s. One case of ‘intent’ duly resolved with common sense at last…

So, no UEFA Champions League appointments for our officials to recover from this week, but Thursday outings in St Petersburg and Tel Aviv to contend with instead.

Huddersfield Town v Tottenham Hotspur


Assistants: R West & A Holmes
Fourth official: Lee Mason

If you had to single out one game from the illustrious list of encounters between these two over the years, there was a 5-5 draw in September, 1925 at White Hart Lane during the early stages of a campaign that saw the Terriers finish champions for a third season in a row.

[quote_box_right]All you need to know about Neil Swarbrick:
Matches in 2017/18: 4 (1 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 4
Yellows: 10 Reds: 0[/quote_box_right]

This humdinger featured a hat-trick for Huddersfield’s Scottish winger and Wembley wizard Alex Skinner Jackson, who was soon to join Chelsea.

The last time these teams met, 45 long years ago, it ended 1-1 at Leeds Road, following which, sadly, the scorer of the Spurs goal, Jimmy Pierce, was forced to retire within a year, having contracted a rare bone disease.

This early kick-off represents Neil Swarbrick’s second live televised game of the season so far, and pits the Premier League’s 8th placed team against its 4th, who will be expected to have got their successful Tuesday Champions League visit to Nicosia out of their system by now.

Graham ScottBournemouth v Leicester City


Assistants: A Garrett & D Cook
Fourth official: Keith Stroud

This is only the 14th meeting between these two clubs ever, the first being a 2-0 away Leicester win in the League Cup, back in September, 1969, with Peter Shilton keeping a clean sheet long before he earned a crust on the south coast at Southampton and Plymouth.

[quote_box_right]All you need to know about Graham Scott:
Matches in 2017/18: 2 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 3
Yellows: 5 Reds: 1[/quote_box_right]

Marc Pugh scored the Cherries’ winner last time out, in December 2016, taking them up to 8th place, when Paul Tierney booked Luis Hernandez Rodriguez, Wes Morgan and Andy King, all for the visitors.

The Adrien Silva situation rumbles on, subject to Leicester’s attempt to replace Danny Drinkwater with the Portugese international at the last minute, while both clubs were rewarded with home ties against high-profile Championship opposition for dispatching Premier League rivals in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

Graham Scott’s only Premier League appearance so far came a month ago, in the shape of Watford versus Brighton, when he sent off Miguel Britos to unanimous approval.

Mike Dean

Manchester United v Crystal Palace


Assistants: S Long & M Wilkes
Fourth official: Stuart Attwell

In 2015, United faced CSKA at home immediately after a 0-0 draw at Palace, and this time they face Palace at home following the trip back from the Russian capital. Palace, not to be outdone, warmed up with a game this week versus Bromley in Beckenham.

[quote_box_right]All you need to know about Mike Dean:
Matches in 2017/18: 4 (3 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 3
Yellows: 18 Reds: 1[/quote_box_right]

The corresponding fixture last season was Sam Allardyce’s last game in charge of Palace, Josh Harrop scoring on his home debut before promptly moving to Preston. A goal from Paul Pogba helped United finish with more away points than home points, and they are still unbeaten against Palace in the Premier League, full stop.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah started in United’s defence that May day, and returns to face old friends alongside Wilfred Zaha, whose memories will be mixed.

The FA Cup Finals of 2016 and 1990 both featured nifty Alan Pardew footwork, but it was after a beating for United in December 1972 that Tommy Docherty, one of the more convenient spectators you will ever find in Selhurst Park’s Main Stand, was supposedly asked, in all spontaneity, if he felt like replacing his old Preston team-mate, Frank O’Farrell. Just as well he wasn’t in the Holmesdale, the Whitehorse Lane or the Arthur Wait Stand that night, then, wasn’t it…

Mike Dean earned praise for his handling of Marcos Alonso at the bet365 Stadium, as John Motson calls it, and has Stuart Attwell on duty should one manager encroach or the other decide he has a bone to pick with probable substitute Ashley Young.

Young it was whose missed penalty in a 2012 quarter-final shoot-out in Kiev against Italy helped eliminate Roy Hodgson’s England after the best tournament performance of his reign. Unless, of course, all is forgiven.

Mike JonesStoke City v Southampton


Assistants: S Beck & D Eaton
Fourth official: Bobby Madley

It’s 16th versus 11th, with Saints unable to wear their famous old kit due to its resemblance to that of the home side, even if that resemblance is less emphatic given their eighties retro switch this season.

[quote_box_right]All you need to know about Mike Jones:
Matches in 2017/18: 2 (1 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 4
Yellows: 8 Reds: 0[/quote_box_right]

Danny Higginbotham and Rory Delap; Peter Crouch and Peter Shilton have all graced both clubs’ famous colours and Alan Ball, having played in his dotage at the Dell, went on to manage the Potters for an unhappy period between 1989 and 1991. Likewise Mick Mills and the present incumbent, Mark Hughes, although some might say Stoke have never had it so good.

“The ref wasn’t great on the night,” Hughes said of Anthony Taylor after he had sent off Marko Arnautovic for a hack at Sofiane Boufal last December. Claude Puel’s take on the biggest talking point thrown up by this dour 0-0 was: “The foul was very dangerous, he does not play the ball…” Stoke won 1-0 the following May thanks to a Crouch goal which effectively sealed Puel’s fate and whether the Frenchman’s Spanish successor can match Southampton’s 8th place finish remains to be seen. The plot thickens, as Hughes has finished ninth in each of his three seasons at Stoke so far.

Mike Jones will be hoping his fourth official bounces back and does a better job than he himself managed in the role at St Mary’s last Saturday.

Michael OliverWest Bromwich Albion v Watford


Assistants: S Bennett & M McDonough
Fourth official: Geoff Eltringham

Watford have won one in their last nine trips to the Hawthorns, and last season saw the Baggies win 3-1 as Roberto Pereyra was shown the red card by Graham Scott after his clash with James McClean. Troy Deeney was also cautioned on his return to the Midlands.

[quote_box_right]All you need to know about Michael Oliver:
Matches in 2017/18: 5 (5 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 1
Yellows: 18 Reds: 2[/quote_box_right]

Bradfordian Aidy Boothroyd, the current England under-21 coach, connects these sides in as much as he was appointed in October 2003 as West Brom’s youth development officer and technical director. He left for Leeds the following July, only to arrive at Watford, in March, 2005, as manager at the tender age of 34. After taking Watford up to the Premier League and down again, he left Vicarage Road in November, 2008.

While Tony Pulis spent the aftermath of Matchday 6 trying to avoid a fine in discussing Jay Rodriguez and Shkodran Mustafi, his Watford counterpart Marco Da Silva was introduced to the concept of the Stage One Warning by Lee Mason at the Liberty Stadium.

Roger East

West Ham United v Swansea


Assistants: M Scholes & S Massey-Ellis
Fourth official: Kevin Friend

Again we have the spectacle of Andre Ayew versus Jordan Ayew, and their dad Abedi Pele, of Marseille and Ghana, certainly could play. Despite current grievances, both sons featured for Ghana in Brazil in 2014, their old man having missed out on an appearance on the biggest stage yet having been a vital part of the Bernard Tapie era, when Marseille won the 1993 (and first) Champions League.

[quote_box_right]All you need to know about Roger East:
Matches in 2017/18: 2 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 2
Yellows: 7 Reds: 0[/quote_box_right]

The late John Bond, the full-back who spent 16 years at West Ham, was Swansea manager for a year in the mid-eighties, while one-time Hammer Lee Chapman made seven appearances and scored four goals, missing by five months the end of the loan arrangement which installed a young Frank Lampard Jr at The Vetch.

Current Swans boss Paul Clement admitted an approach for Lampard, whose dad also played and coached at West Ham, in January this year before the winner of 106 England caps hung up his boots for good.

In his brief stint in Division Two, Lampard played nine times for the Swans during the turbulent season of 1995/6 and scored one goal, against Brighton.

Last April, Cheikhou Kouyate hit a goal from distance to win the corresponding game 1-0 for West Ham and help celebrate Mark Noble’s 400th Hammers appearance in style.

Six bookings were recorded by referee Kevin Friend, who takes his turn holding the board with East taking charge today, and five of those were for the home side.

Martin Atkinson

Chelsea v Manchester City


Assistants: L Betts & S Child
Fourth official: Andre Marriner

It’s another reunion for Pedro, Cesc and Pep, who as Barcelona manager gave the former his La Liga debut and bought the latter back from Arsenal in 2011. Willy Caballero, the latest back-up to Thiaboult Courtois, should also be on hand for this late kick-off to greet some friendly faces, with the same applying to Kevin de Bruyne in reverse. The Belgian was sold by Jose Mourinho in 2014 for £18m, which shot up to £55m by the time City brought him back from the Bundesliga.

[quote_box_right]All you need to know about Martin Atkinson:
Matches in 2017/18: 3 (1 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 0
Yellows: 9 Reds: 1[/quote_box_right]

His countrymen will be prominent on the day, whether or not Vincent Kompany is passed fit, given Chelsea’s reliance on Eden Hazard, Courtois, Michy Batshuayi and the latest starlet to break into the first team, Charly Musonda.

Before the recent visit of Arsenal, Chelsea’s previous home Premier League draw was against Leicester in May, 2016, Arsenal’s visit also marking the first time Antonio Conte’s Chelsea had failed to score at home. Meaning? Don’t bet the house on this one ending with no score.

Sergio Aguero is eagerly looking to move ahead of Craig Bellamy on five Premier League goals scored at Stamford Bridge and join Robin van Persie on six. One goal would also draw him level with thirties legend Eric Brook on 177 goals in total for City.

Here is one occasion when the only person not to have been involved in Europe in midweek is the man in the middle, with assistants Lee Betts and Stephen Child having assisted Craig Pawson and today’s fourth official, Marriner, respectively. Betts can probably count himself fortunate that he was not handed the same treatment as referee Madley after their performances at the Emirates on Monday.

City hosted FC Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday evening while Chelsea played at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, 24 hours later.

Kevin Friend

Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion


Assistants: S Burt & I Hussin
Fourth official: Roger East

There have only been 15 meetings in total between these two, and that includes three consecutive away wins for Arsenal in the FA Cup during their relative domination of that competition.
The last league encounter, however, was way back in February, 1983, ending 3-1 to Arsenal at Highbury, and attracting a frankly disappointing turn-out of under 18,000.

[quote_box_right]All you need to know about Kevin Friend:
Matches in 2017/18: 2 (1 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 5
Yellows: 7 Reds: 0[/quote_box_right]

Islington-born Raphael Meade’s last three years as a pro were spent between Goldstone Ground and more exotic climes still, playing 43 times in two spells, having scored twice against The Seagulls in that last league game between these two.

Other players in common have been Steve Gatting, who is back at Arsenal in charge of the under-23s, and Steve Sidwell, while Ian Wright failed his Brighton trial and went back to the building site. Former Gunners boss Terry Neill has actually lived in Brighton since quitting the pioneering sports bar he ran on Holborn Viaduct throughout the nineties.

Today’s referee, Kevin Friend, was AAR to Andre Marriner in St Petersburg in midweek, while assistant Ian Hussin was in Tel Aviv with Craig Pawson.

Jonathan MossEverton v Burnley


Assistants: E Smart & A Halliday
Fourth official: Chris Kavanagh

Martin Dobson, Trevor Steven and Michael Keane are notable wearers of both shirts, while current betting pariah Joey Barton played for Burnley, and once upon a time for England, too, but grew up an Evertonian.

[quote_box_right]All you need to know about Jonathan Moss:
Matches in 2017/18: 5 (2 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 2
Yellows: 16 Reds: 1[/quote_box_right]

Everton and Burnley first met in consecutive November weeks as long ago as 1888, drawing 2-2 at Turf Moor followed by a 3-2 Everton win at Anfield, and that’s no typo.

Everton have won each Goodison encounter since Burnley’s most recent promotion, and, back in April, 2015, it was Mike Jones who sent off Ashley Barnes for accumulating two yellows in a 1-0 home win in which Ross Barkley was guilty of missing from the penalty spot.

Expect differing defensive formations today, but a Mancunian pair at the heart of both, with the home side’s Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane going up against Ben Mee and James Tarkowski. Last time out, in April’s 3-1 home win, Mark Clattenburg was nearing the end of his Premier League career and saw fit to take the names of Idrissa Gueye and Barkley. Both Mee and Jagielka, in fact, made the scoresheet, even if the former’s goal came at the wrong end.

Assistant Eddie Smart and fourth official Chris Kavanagh were on the Pawson Europa Cup flight to Israel, whereas Everton’s Thursday night Europa duty went as far as entertaining Apollon Limassol. Moss, for one, will be glad to have Smart and Andy Halliday back in tow.

Craig Pawson 2

Newcastle United v Liverpool


Assistants: S Ledger & C Hatzidakis
Fourth official: Bobby Madley

This is the 174th meeting between these two clubs, who last met at SJP in December, 2015, when a 2-0 home win was achieved via a Martin Skrtel own goal and a Georginio Wijnaldum effort, before he switched sides. If Rafa Benitez can repeat the trick, that would make five Geordie wins from LFC’s last seven visits.

[quote_box_right]All you need to know about Craig Pawson:
Matches in 2017/18: 5 (3 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 4
Yellows: 24 Reds: 2[/quote_box_right]

Of course, Benitez shares the distinction of having managed both clubs with Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness, while Bob Paisley was born, whisper it, in the city of Sunderland.
Terry McDermott, Didi Hamann, Mike Hooper, Barry Venison, John Barnes, Ian Rush, Alan Kennedy, Michael Owen, Craig Bellamy, Andy Carroll and Jonjo Shelvey have also all played for both Liverpool and Newcastle, even if Sky Sports might have you believe there was only ever one game, and one goal scored at that: by Stan Collymore, to win a 1996 encounter 4-3.

The 1974 FA Cup Final between these sides saw referee Gordon Kew added to FIFA’s list the following season, before reffing all three games required to find a winner between Villa and Everton in the 1977 League Cup Final.

Now he has been unofficially labelled one of the SG1 big guns, Craig Pawson will possibly aim to caution less than the seven players he did last time he refereed a Newcastle match and the six last time he refereed Liverpool. The latter appointment came as a late stand-in for Martin Atkinson, when Arsenal were well beaten at Anfield.