Premier League referees in Week 1 | 11th August 17 - 13th...

Premier League referees in Week 1 | 11th August 17 - 13th August 17


    By Jason Pettigrove

    Roll up, roll up for the greatest show in town, step right this way….

    The Premier League is back! What does that mean? A clean slate for the men in the middle.

    What have they learnt over the summer? Who’s in, who’s out? Have PGMOL got it right in 2017/18?

    All these questions and more will be answered in due course.

    Strap yourselves in, because it’s going to be a hell of a ride as usual. Let’s see who the lucky 10 are on Week 1 …


    Arsenal v Leicester City – 11/08 – 7.45pm

    Assistants: S Long and D. Cann
    Fourth official: L. Mason

    It’s been a couple of years since Arsenal supporters got up a petition to stop Mike Dean refereeing their games, and a little less than that since Nigel Pearson called him “the most arrogant man I’ve ever met.”

    PGMOL clearly hold him in the highest of esteem however, and his reward is the Friday night opener at the Emirates Stadium.

    Mike Dean – all you need to know

    Matches in 2017/18: 1 (1 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 0

    Friday night you say? TV cameras you say? Think we all know what that means…!

    In all fairness, Dean’s eccentricities don’t detract from his excellence in the role and he absolutely deserves to be headline news – for the right reasons.

    He may spark a keen debate but we at YATR love that and there always should be room for Dean to weave his unique personality into this rich football tapestry of ours.

    Anthony Taylor


    Watford v Liverpool – 12/08 – 12.30

    Assistants: G. Beswick and P. Kirkup
    Fourth official: P. Tierney

    The cream always rises to the top or so they say, and in Anthony Taylor’s case, that’s certainly true. His off days are so rare that when they do come along, it’s headline news.

    He’ll enjoy a game where both teams will play football on the floor, with a decent tempo and this is the perfect game to oil the wheels again.

    Anthony Taylor – all you need to know

    Matches in 2017/18: 1 (0 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Jurgen Klopp’s side struggled against mid-to-lower in the table teams last season, and whilst Watford only just fell into that bracket, it will be interesting to note any improvements on that score for the Reds. Or not.

    Marco Silva couldn’t keep Hull in the Premier League last season but the 40-year-old has already incorporated 12 new signings for the Hornets. Quite how well they’ll gel together on opening day we’ll find out…

    Craig Pawson 2


    Chelsea v Burnley – 12/08 – 15.00

    Assistants: R. West and C. Hatzidakis
    Fourth official: L. Mason

    Craig Pawson was treading through treacle towards the back end of last season. The man in the middle just couldn’t get the big decisions right, and that included in the FA Cup semi-final and also a league game between Chelsea and Crystal Palace.

    Craig Pawson – all you need to know

    Matches in 2017/18: 1 (0 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 0

    After the Blues Community Shield final defeat, Antonio Conte is unlikely to be happy about the choice of official, but his side should have more than enough quality, with respect, to overhaul a workmanlike Burnley side.

    That said, Sean Dyche won’t be sending his troops down south just to make up the numbers, and some northern grit could well knock the King’s Road Kings out of their stride.

    Pawson can start off in the best possible way this season if he gets the big calls correct and shows some backbone when he’s inevitably challenged.

    Jonathan MossJON MOSS

    Crystal Palace v Huddersfield Town – 12/08 – 15.00

    Assistants: E. Smart and A. Halliday
    Fourth official: G. Scott

    One question…are PGMOL really that light on refereeing talent that they have to give Jon Moss another crack at the top end?

    Jon Moss – all you need to know

    Matches in 2017/18: 1 (0 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 0

    Never has an official divided opinion as much as Moss. When he’s good, he’s not bad but when he’s bad, frankly his decision making is an embarrassment.

    Huddersfield will know about him from his time in the Championship, Palace’s new man in charge, Frank De Boer, will likely reserve judgement for now.

    Being a season opener, both teams are likely to go at it hammer and tongs for the full 90 minutes. With Moss’ fitness also called into question last season, will he be able to keep pace?

    Neil Swarbrick


    Everton v Stoke City – 12/08 – 15.00pm

    Assistants: H. Lennard and M. McDonough
    Fourth official: O. Langford

    You can’t be unhappy if you’re an Everton supporter right now. Ronald Koeman has really gone to town in the transfer market this summer.

    The loss of Romelu Lukaku has barely raised a ripple at Goodison Park, given the studious way in which the Dutchman has worked the market.

    Neil Swarbrick – all you need to know

    Matches in 2017/18: 1 (0 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 1

    Mark Hughes, by contrast, has lost one of his best players in Marko Arnautovic, and the Welshman could find this season to be more of a struggle than usual.

    No fan of Neil Swarbrick, Hughes’ rants are becoming a little tiresome. If the official starts the season with a bang, let’s hope the Welshman is gracious enough to pay respect to his performance.

    An exciting match in prospect and one where Swarbrick should thrive.


    Southampton v Swansea City – 12/08 – 15.00pm

    Assistants: M. Scholes and D. Eaton
    Fourth official: S. Martin

    Eight months ago, YATR’s Keith Hackett noted that Mike Jones was “too soft and inconsistent to be a referee at this level.”

    The official saw out the season under something of a cloud, never really sticking his head above the parapet, more meekly going about his business with a whimper.

    Mike Jones – all you need to know

    Matches in 2017/18: 1 (0 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 0

    He does need to be made of sterner stuff, but perhaps PGMOL sees something that Hackett and others don’t, given that he’s on the roster again for 2017/18.

    Though both Southampton and Swansea will want the three points, neither team normally present difficulties to the men in the middle, so in that sense Jones starts with a game that shouldn’t be too taxing for him.

    The Swans’ pre-season has been over-shadowed by Gylffi Sigurdsson’s probable move away, in the same way that Southampton’s has courtesy of Virgil Van Dijk. Will either play here? Let’s wait and see…

    Robert MadleyROBERT MADLEY

    West Bromwich Albion v AFC Bournemouth – 12/08 – 15.00pm

    Assistants: M. Perry and A. Holmes
    Fourth official: R. East

    It’s fair to say that Robert Madley’s trajectory has slowed slightly, after the brightest of starts to his refereeing career in the top flight.

    Almost always in the ascendency in terms of his application of the laws and knowledge of them, Madley allowed a few errant decisions to blot his copybook.

    Robert Madley – all you need to know

    Matches in 2017/18: 1 (0 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 0

    He still remains one of the better officials in the elite group, but he’ll need to up his game again to regain the plaudits he will have lost from previous sub-standard performances.

    West Brom and Bournemouth have a clash of styles on and off the pitch. Old school meets new breed as it were.

    How Madley manages that will be key to the result here.

    Michael OliverMICHAEL OLIVER

    Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester City – 12/08 – 17.30pm

    Assistants: S. Bennett and J. Collin
    Fourth official: S. Attwell

    It’s wonderful to see Chris Hughton back where he belongs, in the top flight.

    One of the most genuinely nice guys in the game, you won’t hear anyone begrudging him a shot at glory.

    Talk about a baptism of fire however. Pep Guardiola’s City side have already spent in excess of £200m and there’s still plenty of time to add more new faces.

    Michael Oliver – all you need to know

    Matches in 2017/18: 1 (1 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 0

    Melding them together into a coherent unit is the Catalan’s biggest test, and he’ll not fancy a trip to a sold-out Amex Stadium.

    Michael Oliver, like Dean, was always going to be given top billing by PGMOL, rightly so. A top level referee, he has at least served his time in the Championship and so should be cute enough to understand that this is a step up for the Seagulls and show some early leniency in terms of cards and decisions.

    He’ll need to be more on guard later in the game if frustrations boil over should the game develop into a men vs. boys scenario.

    Definitely a game for the purist this one.


    Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur – 13/08 – 13.30pm

    Assistants: S. Beck and S. Ledger
    Fourth official: K. Friend

    Saving the best until last? Very possibly. A packed to the rafters St. James’ Park is always a sight to behold and, invariably, the games against Tottenham there generally provides superb, high-quality entertainment.

    This is unlikely to be any different, the Magpies back in the big time after a season away and the north Londoners looking to assert their authority under Maurico Pochettino. You get the feeling it’s now or never for them in terms of title aspirations.

    Andre Marriner – all you need to know

    Matches in 2017/18: 1 (1 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 0

    Tottenham have had ‘promise’ for the last couple of seasons but just fallen short. The window of opportunity is getting smaller and with players like Kyle Walker having left, one suspects that if silverware isn’t forthcoming next May, a few more high-profile players may follow him.

    Andre Marriner is another official who has all of the tools in his locker but doesn’t always use them correctly. Well liked by players and managers, his ability to communicate is, nevertheless, second to none, and it’s probably that reason alone why he retains their respect.

    A cauldron awaits him and the two teams and he shouldn’t have any problem stirring the pot to create the right mix.

    Martin AtkinsonMARTIN ATKINSON

    Manchester United v West Ham United – 13/08 – 16.00pm

    Assistants: S. Child and A. Nunn
    Fourth official: N. Swarbrick

    A mouth-watering Premier League matchup for Martin Atkinson to get his teeth into on the first ‘Super Sunday’ of the season.

    With the millions watching on TV, Atkinson can play a huge part in this being an early season classic at Old Trafford.

    Martin Atkinson – all you need to know

    Matches in 2017/18: 1 (1 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 0

    As Slaven Bilic and his Hammers showed in the opening few away games in 2016/17, they will come to play and to win, and that alone will draw United out of their slumber – though it’s fair to say after the worst unbeaten run in history, Jose Mourinho has got the Red Devils playing as he wants them.

    Angry, tough and with no little skill, this United is very definitely all of the Portuguese’s own work. No excuses this time if the Theatre of Dreams becomes one of nightmares again.

    The Special One has fallen foul of officialdom many times in his career, and he’ll not want to begin this campaign with the headlines being about referees. That’ll suit Atkinson just fine too.