Runners and Riders: Premier League officials | Week 38

Runners and Riders: Premier League officials | Week 38

    Author: Jason Pettigrove

    So here we are then. At the end of another long, hard season.

    Fortunately one that isn’t immediately followed by a World Cup, European Championship or Confederations Cup.

    Every EPL team can send their playing staff away on their holidays, relatively safe in the knowledge that burnout won’t be a problem this summer. Quite the opposite in fact.

    It also gives PGMOL a time to reflect. What they’ve done right and can enhance in 2017/18 and also what areas they need to improve upon. Clearly there is much work to do, and one of the first decisions will be who to promote into the select group for the next campaign. Food for thought.

    Before then, there’s the little matter of the final weekend of the Premier League campaign to negotiate. Let’s see who the lucky 10 are on Week 38…

    Michael Oliver

    Michael Oliver

    Arsenal v Everton
    21/05 – 15.00

    Assistants: S. Bennett and A. Holmes
    Fourth official: C. Pawson

    All to play for at the Emirates, certainly as far as the hosts are concerned.

    It’s not been the best season for Arsenal, that’s obvious, but nor has it been the worst. Far too much has been made of whether Arsene Wenger is staying or going and that has probably unsettled one or two players who haven’t been at their best as a result.

    Michael Oliver – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 31 (19 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 8
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Everton have a decent squad themselves and one could also argue that far too many results have gone against them over the period. If we’re talking managerially too, is Ronald Koeman off to Barca? On the 25th anniversary of the Blaugrana’s European Cup win at Wembley, it would bookend a nice story for the Dutchman.

    Michael Oliver takes charge of what could be his last ever Premier League game. Whilst he and PGMOL are remaining tight-lipped about his future plans, he would be a big loss to the English top flight if he were to move to pastures new.

    Both managers have criticised the official’s handling of their games in the past, equally they’ve taken time to praise him.

    Whether or not Arsenal end up with a win or loss, Oliver must ensure the same is down to the quality of finishing rather than a marginal decision or two.

    Robert Madley

    Robert Madley

    Burnley v West Ham United
    21/05 – 15.00

    Assistants: S. Bennett and A. Holmes
    Fourth official: C. Pawson

    Such are the slim margins of victory down the bottom of the table that Burnley, despite being three places below the Hammers at start of play, could still overhaul their opponents with a win here.

    Robert Madley – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 29 (12 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 12
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    In fact, both teams can count themselves lucky that the season isn’t a week or two longer, sitting as they do, perilously close to the drop zone.

    Of the two, West Ham clearly need to do more work over the summer to ensure a better campaign in 2017/18.

    Robert Madley has, in the main, enjoyed a satisfactory season. Some weeks he has been excellent, others poor. Mostly ok.

    If he wants to be considered amongst the best, then he’ll have to take things up a notch on a regular basis.

    Both Sean Dyche and Slaven Bilic have been on the wrong end of penalty calls from Madley, the former more respectful in his acceptance, the latter raging after three points were denied West Ham at Chelsea in 2016.

    With a testimonial feel about this one, it’s debatable there’ll be much for Madley to get wrong here.

    Neil Swarbrick

    Neil Swarbrick

    Chelsea v Sunderland
    21/05 – 15.00

    Assistants: J. Collin and D. Cann
    Fourth official: R. East

    Top plays bottom on the final day of the season and with the title already assured, the likelihood of Antonio Conte playing a second-string is high.

    Neil Swarbrick – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 23 (4 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 20
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 4

    That’s not to disrespect their opponents in any way, moreover, it will enhance the credentials of those players coming through and knocking on the door of the first team.

    David Moyes can only stand back and admire the quality that the Blues have on show. A standard of player that he can only dream about.

    Not that they’d help him in the Championship – Sunderland need a team of battlers next season, that are up for the fight every single week. Probably time for a root and branch clearout on that basis.

    Neil Swarbrick should be able to get the deckchair and the four-cornered hanky out for all of the trouble that this one will cause him.

    The Black Cats aren’t bothered – and haven’t been for a while – whilst the hosts will be in party mood.

    Even if the official were to make a ricket or two, it’s highly unlikely that Swarbrick will be under intense scrutiny and it would affect nothing in any case.

    Ice cream anyone?

    Andre Marriner

    Hull City v Tottenham Hotspur
    21/05 – 15.00

    Assistants: S. Beck and S. Ledger
    Fourth official: A. Madley

    Another game where everything is already settled before Andre Marriner even blows his whistle.

    Andre Marriner – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 28 (15 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 22
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 1

    After Tottenham’s end-of-an-era game against Manchester United, it’s quite conceivable that they’ll go to Hull on autopilot and already dreaming of laying on a beach in some far flung corner of the world.

    Marco Silva’s side on the other hand may well want to finish with a flourish. The manager has given no clue as to whether he’ll be at the helm in the Championship next season, but the passion of the locals may go some way to convincing him.

    If the Tigers do settle for a high-intensity game, Spurs will inevitably be drawn into the battle and so things could be a little busier for Marriner than expected.

    Mauricio Pochettino will be keeping a close eye on his performance after the official seemed unfocused during their January game against Manchester City.

    Lee Mason

    Leicester City v Bournemouth
    21/05 – 15.00

    Assistants: R. West and D. Eaton
    Fourth official: O. Langford

    Depending how results go elsewhere, either side could finish the campaign as high as eighth.

    Lee Mason – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 20 (2 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 21
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 1

    That would represent a huge success and continued improvement for Eddie Howe and his Bournemouth side, and despite being nowhere close to the form of last season, Leicester would be happy with it, given their perilous position a couple of months ago.

    I’m expecting a goal-fest from two teams who enjoy keeping the ball on the deck, and a treat for those in attendance. Craig Shakespeare can continue to show what he’s all about by out ‘foxing’ one of the brightest young managers in the game here.

    Lee Mason is perilously close to needing a major MOT at this level and is, potentially, one of the officials that PGMOL could be looking to move the Championship on a more permanent basis next season.

    Eddie Howe has had his fair share of run-ins with him, Craig Shakespeare hasn’t yet had the pleasure.

    For such a simple game – on the face of it – to oversee, Mason still has to be on the ball.

    Martin Atkinson

    Martin Atkinson

    Liverpool v Middlesbrough
    21/05 – 15.00

    Assistants: S. Burt and A. Nunn
    Fourth official: S. Attwell

    A huge game for Liverpool – if Man City can be held, then a victory here is the difference between going straight into the Champions League proper next season, or having to qualify.

    Martin Atkinson – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 27 (11 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 10
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Not automatically going into the hat means a shortened summer for the Reds, so the key here is for Jurgen Klopp’s side to take the game to opponents who have been poor throughout this season.

    The German won’t need reminding that his swashbucklers have come undone against teams in the bottom half on more than one occasion in this campaign, and he’ll be kicking himself if it happens again.

    Boro need to take a deep breath over the summer and rebuild from the ground up if they want to come straight back up.

    They can at least salvage a bit of pride with a result here, something their long-suffering and loyal fanbase will demand.

    Martin Atkinson continues to deliver and is a senior official within the EPL for a reason. Having said that, Klopp has had cause to berate him earlier this year. There’ll be fireworks if he has to again after this game, and it won’t just be the Liverpool kits that are red.

    Anthony Taylor

    Anthony Taylor

    Manchester United v Crystal Palace
    21/05 – 15.00

    Assistants: G. Beswick and M. Perry
    Fourth official: M. Jones

    Sam Allardyce will thank his lucky stars that he was able to pull a super performance out of the hat against Hull last week.

    Anthony Taylor – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 30 (13 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 13
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Had the Eagles not done so, they’d be staring down the barrel at Old Trafford.

    As it is, Palace can ease themselves into this 90 minutes against a team that have underperformed again this season despite their position.

    Jose Mourinho still has the Europa League to go for, and a win there would guarantee a Champions League place, something that it seems the Red Devils have been pinning their hopes on for some while.

    Allardyce, when at West Ham, was accused by Mourinho, then at Chelsea, of playing ‘medieval football’ in order to secure the Hammers a point at Stamford Bridge.

    Given the European route, it’s hard to tell whether the Special One will be bothered or not by tactics Henry XIII would be proud of.

    Anthony Taylor is amongst the most used officials in 2016/17 and though there will be the inevitable question marks over this appointment – given United are essentially his local team – the official has answered those emphatically before now.

    His only concern is not looking too far ahead and dreaming of his FA Cup final bow – something that we at YATR heartily congratulate him on.

    Lee Probert

    Lee Probert

    Southampton v Stoke City
    21/05 – 15.00

    Assistants: M. McDonough and S. Massey-Ellis
    Fourth official: J. Linington

    A referee with four games under his belt and a fourth official with five – hardly confidence filling is it?!

    Lee Probert – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 4 (0 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 7
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Stoke stand to benefit the most in this game, given that they can move up three places with a win and other results falling in their favour.

    Mark Hughes doesn’t need the inconvenience of ‘another’ sub-par showing from the officials. It doesn’t take much to set him off these days either.

    Of his four appearances, this will be Probert’s second overseeing the Potters.

    For his sake, one hopes that he gets as much fitness work in as well as r&r over the summer, in order that he can come back fit and firing in August.

    Mike Dean

    Mike Dean

    Swansea City v West Bromwich Albion
    21/05 – 15.00

    Assistants: S. Long and A. Garratt
    Fourth official: G. Scott

    A party atmosphere awaits at the Liberty Stadium after last weekend’s results confirmed that Paul Clement had done the almost impossible and kept Swansea up.
    His name should be sung long and loud, for it was one of the achievements of the season.

    Mike Dean – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 29 (11 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 12
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 2

    Tony Pulis has gone above and beyond this season too, but the Baggies still need a win in Wales to guarantee an eighth placed finish. An outstanding effort for a team that are often much-maligned.

    Mike Dean loves a party and who knows, he might go all Russ Abbott on us (a joke for the older readers amongst you!)

    Marmite Mike he might be, but there’s no denying he’s had another sensational season in the middle. The Premier League would certainly be the poorer without him.

    It’d be a shame if Pulis has cause to clip his wings here, as he has done regularly in the past.

    Jonathan Moss

    Jonathan Moss

    Watford v Manchester City
    21/05 – 15.00

    Assistants: C. Hatzidakis and A. Halliday
    Fourth official: K. Friend

    The pressure on Pep Guardiola and his staff going into this game is bound to spill over at some point.

    Jonathan Moss – all you need to know

    Matches in 2016/17: 28 (11 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 16
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 2

    Regardless of how the Citizens have fared in their midweek fixture, they have to win at Vicarage Road to be absolutely sure of automatic Champions League qualification next season.

    When Txiki Begiristain signed Pep, one can conclude that such a finish would be the absolute bare minimum expected so if they miss out and have to go through the qualification process, expect serious questions to be asked.

    In the end, Watford have largely disappointed but they’ve had their moments and won’t be a pushover. Could we see another ‘Aguerooooo’ moment for the visitors here?

    Credit where it’s due for Jon Moss.

    There have been occasions this season where he’s let the side down, but just recently there has been real improvement in his reading of the game, game management and application.

    Though it wouldn’t have been said a couple of months ago, a decent sign off for the official here is almost guaranteed.