Congratulations are in order this week to none other than Andre Marriner, who has been awarded the League Cup final.

The 46-year-old will be assisted at Wembley Stadium by Richard West and Stuart Burt. Kevin Friend has been appointed as fourth official, whilst Matthew Wilkes is the reserve assistant referee.

Still a prestigious event in the English football calendar and we at YATR wish them well.

Not a week will go by now without there being a Premier League game that doesn’t affect the top or bottom of the table.

There are some wonderful classic matches on offer this weekend.

PGMOL’s big guns are out and about so who’s going where on week 25 of the campaign?

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Mark Clattenburg

Arsenal v Hull City
11/2 – 12.30

Assistants: J. Collin and A. Holmes
Fourth official: R. East

Marco Silva is really announcing himself on the big stage isn’t he.

Not too many people had heard of him (not unlike a certain Mr. Wenger 20 years ago), but he’s doing the business at the KC Stadium and their recent win over Liverpool was fully deserved.

[quote_box_right]Mark Clattenburg – all you need to know

Matches in 2016/17: 19 (10 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 3
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0[/quote_box_right]

The Gunners are probably more under pressure going into this one and where they unable to emerge victorious here, they could end the weekend in sixth.

Hull are giving themselves a fighting chance of staying up even though they looked doomed just a few short weeks ago.

Mark Clattenburg knows this lush expanse of green, this north London billiard table, like the back of his hand.

Arsenal know exactly what they’re getting, and that means ‘Clatts’ won’t shirk from the big decisions even if that makes him unpopular.

Robert MadleyRobert Madley

Manchester United v Watford
11/2 – 15.00

Assistants: M. Perry and D. Bryan
Fourth official: K. Friend

This is the sort of game that could quite easily go either way.

Jose Mourinho has efficiently gone about his business to the extent that United are now just five points off of Tottenham in second.

[quote_box_right]Robert Madley – all you need to know

Matches in 2016/17: 17 (7 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 9
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0[/quote_box_right]

The reality is that they should be beyond the Lilywhites by now for they have drawn games that they really should’ve won – something that has irked the Portuguese no end.

What Watford lack in financial clout, they more than make up for by having a team of grafters. 10th place for them is, again, more down to a lack of being able to close out matches because, when they’re at the best, they’re hard to break down.

Even with United’s big guns out, if the Hornets set their stall out correctly, there could be a shock here.

Robert Madley is there to keep the peace and though he’s lost some of the confidence he had to his game last season, this is the perfect time to find it again.

A full house at Old Trafford will guarantee a fine atmosphere – where better for Madley to prove to PGMOL that his star is still on the rise.

Mike Dean

Mike Dean

Middlesbrough v Everton
11/2 – 15.00

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

Despite delighting their own fans and many opposition followers with a distinctly continental brand of football, Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough are perilously close to being dragged into the relegation dog-fight.

[quote_box_right]Mike Dean – all you need to know

Matches in 2016/17: 18 (10 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 8
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 2[/quote_box_right]

They’re one of three clubs (Leicester and Swansea are the other two) locked on 21 points, just one point above third-bottom Hull and two above bottom-placed Sunderland.

Ronald Koeman shares much the same philosophy at Everton and as Bournemouth showed last week, they afford their opponents chances.

If the hosts can keep it tight at the back – tough when you’re facing the likes of Romelu Lukaku et al – then there’s every chance they can get something from this one.

We know that Mike Dean enjoys a more free-flowing game and as luck would have it, this will surely provide him with the same.

He’ll need to impress the Dutchman however. Koeman was none too happy with Dean’s handling of the Merseyside derby just before Christmas and though a win here doesn’t carry quite the same cachet, three points is three points.
Martin AtkinsonMartin Atkinson

Stoke City v Crystal Palace
11/2 – 15.00

Assistants: P. Kirkup and H. Lennard
Fourth official: S. Attwell

Big Sam Allardyce was heralded as Palace’s saviour when he signed on after the England job but, frankly, he’s been anything but.

Just one Premier League win so far has meant that the epic slide the Eagles have been on since the start of 2016 – they were the worst performing team across the year – has continued.

[quote_box_right]Martin Atkinson – all you need to know

Matches in 2016/17: 19 (8 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 7
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0[/quote_box_right]

Stoke certainly won’t be in the mood to afford them any courtesy or favour so this looks like another tough day out for the south Londoners.

It wasn’t too long ago that Mark Hughes’ side were regarded as a side with little skill but had a mastery of the dark arts. They certainly had players who could ‘put themselves about.’

The Welshman changed their philosophy and they’re now one of the better sides to watch in footballing terms in the division.

Palace will need to employ any tactics they can to win this game, it is that important.

Allardyce is well past trying to win a popularity contest. Points win prizes.

Martin Atkinson might want to wear the hard hat for this one. He’s had multiple problems in the past with both managers and is likely to feel the wrath of one or the other during, or after, this one.

Best he gives them nothing to moan about then.

Paul TierneyPaul Tierney

Sunderland v Southampton
11/2 – 15.00

Assistants: S. Beck and A. Halliday
Fourth official: N. Swarbrick

A 4-0 victory for Sunderland at Crystal Palace last time out was a real fillip for David Moyes and his side.

Beginning to look like they might be cut adrift, the Black Cats came back with a bang and brought themselves level on points with Palace and now just two points away from sixth-bottom.

[quote_box_right]Paul Tierney – all you need to know

Matches in 2016/17: 7 (0 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 13
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 9[/quote_box_right]

It’s as tight as can possibly be but if the hosts can show the same desire and will to win against Southampton, there’s every chance of Moyes’ revolution continuing.

Worth pointing out too that this is the visitors’ longest away trip of the season and they don’t travel well to this part of the country.

Paul Tierney’s seventh appointment of the season is a significant one. Most of the previous half-dozen have been what could be termed as ‘safe’ game to oversee, to bring him through gently.

This is the match for PGMOL to see what Tierney is really made of. There will be pressure from the start, the atmosphere will be heightened…

Do well here and the official is signing his contract to the big time in 2017/18.

Michael OliverMichael Oliver

West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion
11/2 – 15.00

Assistants: S. Bennett and M. McDonough
Fourth official: K. Stroud

This is a vital game for both sides who are, at present, stuck in a mid-table no man’s land.

[quote_box_right]Michael Oliver – all you need to know

Matches in 2016/17: 21 (13 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 5
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0[/quote_box_right]

The Hammers have finally found form after a horrific start to the campaign and with the upheaval of moving and restless players now gone, Slaven Bilic and Co. will be looking to give themselves another push in the hope that the Europa League places are a realistic possibility.

Five points behind West Brom at start of play, a home win brings the Baggies to within touching distance.

The visitors are four points behind Everton in seventh and that’s who Tony Pulis will be aiming for. Rest assured the Welshman will tap into the psyche of his players and note to them that almost every other team have raised their game for their visit to the London Stadium.

A millstone around the necks of the hosts but a boost for any away sides.

Michael Oliver needs to concentrate here. This is precisely the type of game where he’s had his focus taken away from the job in hand in the past.

The official can’t always expect to get the bigger games of the weekend, involving the top teams, but he won’t get them at all if he can’t prove that he can handle games which present different problems for him to solve.

Anthony TaylorAnthony Taylor

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur
11/2 – 17.30

Assistants: A.Nunn and S. Child
Fourth official: M. Jones

Never will one man be as happy to see the back of January as Jurgen Klopp.

Flying high coming into the New Year, those 31 days have left the Reds dreams of success this season in tatters.

[quote_box_right]Anthony Taylor – all you need to know

Matches in 2016/17: 21 (8 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 7
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0[/quote_box_right]

The German is a breath of fresh air and many neutrals would be delighted to see Liverpool break their Premier League duck, but it’s clearly going to take Klopp right until the end of his contract with the club to get the playing side somewhere close to where he wants it.

Seeing Tottenham at close quarters will give the hosts all of the motivation they need to up their game. The north Londoners are everything Liverpool aspire to be but just aren’t there yet.

For the neutral, this could be some game. Goals are virtually guaranteed as is the high-octane entertainment that both bring to the party.

Officials-wise, this would’ve suited Mike Dean down to the ground because Anthony Taylor still has that annoying habit of being a little too over officious sometimes.

This is a game that will have a natural flow to it and certainly isn’t one that would benefit from a stop-start performance from the man in the middle.

Taylor will deserve as much praise as the two teams if it becomes the spectacle we expect.

Kevin FriendKevin Friend

Burnley v Chelsea
12/2 – 13.30

Assistants: D. Cann and M. Scholes
Fourth official: R. Madley

It’s all over bar the shouting isn’t it? Chelsea are nine points clear having conceded just 17 goals all season long.

[quote_box_right]Kevin Friend – all you need to know

Matches in 2016/17: 15 (1 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 16
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 3[/quote_box_right]

From the very first whistle of the first match of the season, the Blues have looked a cut above and Sean Dyche’s hard-working Burnley side have their work cut out here.

Fortunately, the Clarets are in a healthy enough position to be able to write this one off but that won’t stop them from trying.
People like Joey Barton might want to make a name for themselves in this type of game so Kevin Friend can stop the bad blood before it starts by taking control right from the off.

If that means brandishing a card or two – which he’s not frightened to do – so be it.

With Chelsea adept at breaking with pace too, Friend needs to ensure he’s positioned correctly throughout.

Jonathan MossJonathan Moss

Swansea City v Leicester City
12/2 – 16.00

Assistants: E. Smart and A. Garratt
Fourth official: R. East

Jonathan Moss has become the Leicester City of referees.

No matter what he does, he just keeps sliding further and further away from where he needs to be. The end of the season can’t really come soon enough for an official that is out of his depth far too often.

[quote_box_right]Jonathan Moss – all you need to know

Matches in 2016/17: 17 (6 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 13
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 2[/quote_box_right]

This game has so much riding on it that Moss has to be on point with every single decision. If results elsewhere and here go against them, last seasons champions Leicester will end the weekend in the relegation places.

Depths that Swansea have plumbed throughout 2016/17 but now, thanks to the acumen of Paul Clement, are gradually pulling away from.

The Swans are far from comfortable yet of course, but the way they’re playing now is the polar opposite of their visitors.

It wouldn’t really be a surprise if the two swapped places in the table.

Can Moss handle the pressure of his first six-pointer of the campaign?

Neil SwarbrickNeil Swarbrick

Bournemouth v Manchester City
13/2 – 20.00

Assistants: S. Ledger and M. Wilkes
Fourth official: A. Marriner

The fixtures computer has thrown up another fine match up here. The master versus the pupil perhaps? Eddie Howe is a confirmed admirer of Pep Guardiola’s style of play and management so we should see a mirror image in many areas on the south coast.

[quote_box_right]Neil Swarbrick – all you need to know

Matches in 2016/17: 15 (1 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 15
Football League appointments in 2016/17: 4[/quote_box_right]

It’s another game where all of the pressure is on the Catalan. Bournemouth are just happy to be playing in such esteemed company, Man City want to win it all. Have to win it all.

Their masterplan was to get the club to a point where Pep would come in and take them to the promised land, and after the first 10 games of the season that was where they were heading.

Now, they could drop to fifth if they don’t buck up their ideas.

There’s not too much to say on Neil Swarbrick either way. Steady, studious, keeps it simple. You can’t really ask for more. Same again please…