Does anyone really enjoy the international breaks? Three already in the space of 12 weeks is a joke and certainly doesn’t help players, technical staff or officials get into a bit of a groove.

Thankfully that’s them out of the way until the new year and we can get back to the bread and butter of the Premier League.

There are a couple of stand out fixtures from the weekend and although PGMOL haven’t necessarily blundered with their choice of officials for those two games (Manchester United v Arsenal and Tottenham v West Ham), they could’ve done better.

Let’s run through who goes where in week 12 of the campaign….

Andre Marriner

Andre Marriner: Manchester United v Arsenal
Assistants: S. Beck and A. Garratt
Fourth official: M. Oliver

The season just gets better and better for Andre Marriner. Handed the plumb tie of the weekend, the official continues to impress in 2016/17.

He won’t want reminding that the last time he took charge of a game involving Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger he mistook Kieran Gibbs for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and sent the wrong man off at Stamford Bridge.

[quote_box_right]Andre Marriner – all you need to know
Matches in 2016/17: 9 (6 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 7
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0[/quote_box_right]

It was a monumental error in front of the TV cameras that saw him dropped from the following week’s list. This fixture at least gives him the chance to redeem himself and there’s sure to be fireworks on the touchline for Michael Oliver to take care of.

Wenger has been sent from the dugout here once before and with so much at stake, tensions will be high.

The Special One will demand every last ounce of effort from his players and Marriner is experienced enough to know when a challenge has been mistimed or has genuine malice behind it.

That will be crucial here, particularly in a frantic opening.

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Robert Madley: Crystal Palace v Manchester City
Assistants: M. McDonough and M. Perry
Fourth official: A. Davies

After doing so well for long periods, Robert Madley’s halo is just beginning to slip a little.

This certainly won’t be an easy assignment for the official who needs to work to rebuild his own self-confidence. He has the capabilities but needs to bring them to bear on a more regular basis.

[quote_box_right]Robert Madley – all you need to know
Matches in 2016/17: 9 (3 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 5
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0
[/quote_box_right]

Where PGMOL have failed him on this occasion is by providing him with a fourth official, Andy Davies, who will be working that role for just the second time this season.

Both Alan Pardew and Pep Guardiola are demonstrative in their respective technical areas and it’s an unnecessary headache for Madley to concern himself with.

The Eagles boss already has Madley’s number after he refused to give them penalties against Watford that Pardew descrbed as “stonewall.”

Certainly the potential for refereeing controversy here.

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Martin Atkinson: Everton v Swansea City
Assistants: S. Child and S. Burt
Fourth official: A. Taylor

After three games where he has made some fairly major errors, Martin Atkinson has been shunted out of the limelight by PGMOL and sent packing to Merseyside.

Atkinson has ‘history’ with Everton however, which dates back to a red card (later rescinded) awarded to Jack Rodwell in the 2011 Merseyside derby. That decision was enough to rile every Evertonian but Atkinson’s stock went down further after a Capital One Cup defeat to Manchester City earlier this year.

Toffee’s captain Phil Jagielka raged at the official for allowing a goal to stand when TV cameras had clearly shown that the ball had gone out before being crossed for Kevin de Bruyne to slot home. Rather than listen to Jagielka’s concerns, a sarcastic “you’re defending’s brilliant” comment was not the response expected.

[quote_box_right]Martin Atkinson – all you need to know
Matches in 2016/17: 10 (5 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 4
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0
[/quote_box_right] Therefore, any decisions awarded to the visitors are going to be scrutinised like never before.

Atkinson has broad enough shoulders to accept any criticism of his performance but it shouldn’t even need to be a topic of conversation before the game – one in which Bob Bradley’s Swansea need to grasp the nettle and pull out all of the stops for a much-needed victory.

mark clattenburg

Mark Clattenburg: Southampton v Liverpool
Assistants: S. Bennett and R. West
Fourth official: T. Robinson

This might just be one of the best games of football we will see all season.

Liverpool are scoring for fun and Sadio Mane will relish the chance to play against his old club, as well Adam Lallana.

Both clubs play a free-flowing style that’s easy on the eye and, as luck would have it, they have an official who likes to let the game play out before curtailing any of the action.

Clattenburg’s sensible stance from the get-go will author proceedings with goals almost guaranteed.

[quote_box_right]Mark Clattenburg – all you need to know
Matches in 2016/17: 8 (5 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 1
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0[/quote_box_right] As an interesting side note, Southampton did of course lodge a complaint against the official back in 2014 when it was alleged he told Lallana (then playing for the Saints) that he was “very different now, since you’ve played for England.”

The complaint was thrown out by PGMOL and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since, but it adds a little spice to an already intriguing match up.

Roger East

Roger East: Stoke City v AFC Bournemouth
Assistants: D. Cann and D. Eaton
Fourth official: G. Scott

Why do PGMOL do it to themselves? In their wisdom the decision has been made to send Roger East to the Britannia Stadium. To a Stoke side who have officially complained about the sub-standard nature of his work more than once in the past.

It beggars belief, it really does.

Although Mark Hughes’ side have looked to adapt their style to a certain degree, there’s still enough physicality about them to give Bournemouth nightmares.

If the rough stuff is metered out that’s where East has to get involved, but it’s precisely the type of situation that he shies away from.

[quote_box_left]Roger East – all you need to know
Matches in 2016/17: 5 (1 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 8
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 11
[/quote_box_left]

A competent official for the most part, he could be so much better if he took command of certain situations and was more authorative.

He’d certainly earn Hughes’ respect rather than being on the receiving end of his ire if he showed more of a willingness to take the game by the scruff of the neck when needed.

Currently sat in 12th and 13th respectively, either side could make the jump as high as 8th if the result goes their way.

Lee Mason

Lee Mason: Sunderland v Hull City
Assistants: A. Nunn and S. Ledger
Fourth official: C. Pawson

Is it too early to call this a relegation six-pointer?

Should the visitors take all three points, the Black Cats will find themselves six-points adrift at the foot of the table. Win and it brings them to within two of their visitors.

It’s unlikely to be the greatest spectacle but that won’t bother two sets of fans who are just desperate to see their side win.

The international break was particularly cruel on David Moyes and his Sunderland side because their first win came just before and it would’ve been interesting to see if they could build up a head of steam and work their way out of their current malaise.

As it is, the season has been disrupted again and that is likely to have an impact.

[quote_box_left]Lee Mason – all you need to know
Matches in 2016/17: 6 (1 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 6
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 6[/quote_box_left]Lee Mason gets just his sixth appointment of the season and such rustiness may also contribute to the result.

Only the relative top-flight novices – Stuart Attwell, Graham Scott and Paul Tierney – have taken charge of less games in this campaign.

Not really what you want to hear when you’re scrapping for your lives is it?!

Neil SwarbrickNeil Swarbrick: Watford v Leicester City
Assistants: J. Collin and M. Wilkes
Fourth official: D. Coote

It’s the first time that Neil Swarbrick has taken charge of either team this season, and in fact the first time he’s take charge of a Watford game since 2014/15.

So far he’s handed out 44 yellow cards and one red in his combined Football League and Premier League appointments, so he’s not shy when getting his book out.

Perhaps he brandishes them like confetti to make up for his lack of credibility in some games. He needs to get control of games earlier and stop trying to impress his paymasters by playing too much advantage.

The laws are there to be applied – not for the official to put his own interpretation on them as he sees fit.

[quote_box_right]Neil Swarbrick – all you need to know
Matches in 2016/17: 7 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 5
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 11[/quote_box_right]The fixture at Vicarage Road is an interesting one, coming as it does just a few days before another Champions League fixture for the Foxes. Does Claudio Ranieri risk losing more league points by resting players in order for them to continue their excellent start in their maiden European campaign?

Regardless, Watford will be a force at home and will expect a ‘Premier League’ performance for Swarbrick to complement the action on the pitch.

Mike DeanMike Dean: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United
Assistants: S. Long and I. Hussin
Fourth official: K. Friend

You just knew it wouldn’t be long didn’t you.

The scene of one of Mike Dean’s most famous ‘celebrations’ gets another visit from the man himself – and he’s brought the cameras with him again.

The stage is set. And Dean won’t let us down because the theatrics and ‘personality’ that he brings to his role are now as much of a talking point as any game he officiates.

Depend on which side of the argument you fall, that’s either an entirely positive and incredibly negative issue.

Such high-profile games should be about having a ref who doesn’t want to be the talking point. Dean should be satisfied by being pushed well out of the limelight in order to concentrate on doing what he does well.

[quote_box_right]Mike Dean – all you need to know
Matches in 2016/17: 10 (5 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 2
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 11[/quote_box_right]

Let’s be clear. For all of the amateur dramatics, he’s still one of the best officials we have and it’s a shame that this is clouded by his penchant for the odd or, at times (sniffing your assistant anyone?) the totally baffling.

He will enjoy a busy 90 minutes as the Hammers go looking for three points at one of their fiercest rivals and Dean will at least be able to handle the intensity that comes with overseeing such a fixture.

Football Soccer Britain - Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League - Etihad Stadium - 17/9/16 Referee Jonathan Moss Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Jonathan Moss: Middlesbrough v Chelsea
Assistants: A. Halliday and E. Smart
Fourth official: C. Pawson

Guess who’s back….

How in god’s name is Jonathan Moss still eeking out a living on the elite list? He is clearly an official who is out of his depth and yet he is still rewarded.

On paper, this is another game that has all of the ingredients to make it a fascinating watch for the neutral so Moss has a degree of responsibility here.

If he comes up short once more, surely there’s no way back for him again? PGMOL really would be cutting their noses off to spite their faces.

And what example is it setting those officials that are coming in behind the current crop. That they see such below-par showings from their peers but there’s no need to panic…

[quote_box_left]Jonathan Moss – all you need to know
Matches in 2016/17: 8 (3 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 6
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0[/quote_box_left]In order to constantly improve, one must be kept on one’s toes, and clearly the message hasn’t hit Moss’ inbox yet.

The difference in quality between the two sides could easily be negated by yet another inept refereeing performance and inexplicable decision making.

Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal fans must be delighted. Keep your eyes on the Riverside and don’t say you weren’t warned.

Mike Jones 3

Mike Jones: West Bromwich Albion v Burnley
Assistants: A. Holmes and M. Scholes
Fourth official: S. Attwell

A ‘proper’ football match for Mike Jones and his team to get their teeth into.

Both the Baggies and the Clarets will bring the dark arts to bear at various stages of this game, but Jones is nothing if well briefed and will have an eye on the same from the opening whistle.

The visitors sit comfortably in the top 10 at present, yet are only four points above third-bottom. Albion are one point worse off and have to seek to impose their home advantage as early as possible.

[quote_box_right]Mike Jones – all you need to know
Matches in 2016/17: 7 (4 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 7
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 8[/quote_box_right]Tony Pulis isn’t a fan of too many officials, but he has a particular dislike of Jones. Hard to understand why because he’s nothing if not consistent and fair in his decision making.

This is the final game of the weekend so let’s hope it passes off without too much incident and rounds off a decent set of fixtures.