Runners and Riders: Premier League officials in Week 4

Runners and Riders: Premier League officials in Week 4

    Author: Jason Pettigrove

    Mike Jones

    No sooner had the season begun, as usual, the international break gets in the way.

    Clubs across Europe will be hoping that their staff return minus any serious injury and once Harry Kane has been given the once over, Mauricio Pochettino might want to have a word with Martin Skrtel.

    The Tottenham man terrorised Stoke City last season and he’ll want to be fit to do so again this weekend.

    Mike Jones finally gets his first appointment of the season as does serial Sky Bet Championship official Paul Tierney.

    Let’s take a look at who’s joining them in week four of the campaign…

    Mark Clattenburg

    Mark Clattenburg: Manchester United v Manchester City
    Assistants: J. Collin and S. Bennett
    Fourth official: M. Dean

    The biggest game of the weekend gets exactly the right appointment.

    Read more: Hackett’s blog – The global Manchester derby and the right appointment 

    Fireworks are almost guaranteed at Old Trafford, and Mike Dean will have just as busy a time on the touchline as Mark Clattenburg will on the pitch.

    There’s a real sense of unfinished business between Messrs. Guardiola and Mourinho and although whoever wins this won’t get much more than just the three points on offer at this stage, top spot could be available outright if Chelsea don’t do the business at Swansea.

    It’s the fifth time that Clattenburg has been handed this fixture and in the previous four he’s handed out 19 yellow cards and one red.

    City supporters won’t be happy to note that in the five times he took charge of a United game last season, they remained unbeaten. Not that superstition in football means anything, of course!

    We should fully expect the same levels of professionalism and application from Clattenburg that saw him as arguably Europe’s best in 2015/16.

    Mark Clattenburg – all you need to know
    Matches in 2016/17: 3 (2 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 0
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Bobby Madley
    Robert Madley: Arsenal v Southampton

    Assistants: M. Perry and E. Smart
    Fourth official: S. Hooper

    This could be a decent little test for Robert Madley.

    Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi are likely to make their home debuts so the atmosphere will be a few decibels higher than normal at the Emirates, as fans come to check out their new heroes.

    Madley should have done his homework on these two players too, just to learn what they bring to the party.

    The former Valencia defender might find the pace a little different from when he played for Everton and Madley should take the odd mistimed challenge into account.

    After another relatively gruelling transfer window, Arsene Wenger will be happy in the knowledge that he has an official with whom he has no history and who has a reputation for common sense.

    All the Gunners need to do now is the business on the pitch.

    Robert Madley – all you need to know
    Matches in 2016/17: 3 (1 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 2
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Kevin Friend

    Kevin Friend: Bournemouth v West Bromwich Albion
    Assistants: S. Long and D. Eaton
    Fourth official: C. Kavanagh

    The Vitality Stadium doesn’t hold happy memories for Kevin Friend.

    The last time he visited he hit his head on the dugout and collapsed, meaning a hospital visit was a must.

    No chance of lightning striking twice of course but Friend will want to ensure that his performance is of sufficient enough quality that this is what the supporters are talking about rather than dwelling on the entertainment from that Southampton game.

    Tony Pulis is one of this official’s oldest adversaries and it won’t surprise the West Brom manager if a decision or two goes against his side.

    The Welshman is still smarting from a decision to send Charlie Adam off three years ago when manager of Stoke – he claimed that Friend ruined the Potters’ 150th anniversary celebrations!

    Eddie Howe’s side are not at the bottom of the table by virtue of a single goal only. He’ll hope that any 50/50 calls will fall the way of the south coast side to allow them to kick-start their season.

    Kevin Friend – all you need to know
    Matches in 2016/17: 3 (0 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 1
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Paul Tierney 3

    Paul Tierney: Burnley v Hull City
    Assistants: S. Beck and I. Hussin
    Fourth official: M. Oliver

    Not as dangerous an appointment as it may first appear.

    Paul Tierney’s debut this season comes at Turf Moor but both teams know him well from his time in the Championship, the division where he is most frequently employed.

    Although that may also give the official some comfort, he’ll need to be right on top of any flashpoints and dealing with them ably and quickly.

    This match could be the turning point and a decent showing here puts the ball right back in PGMOL’s court as to whether they’ll hand the referee more opportunities in the top flight this season.

    Michael Oliver is a first-class fourth official to have in the background, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to find that there is constant dialogue between the two throughout this one.

    Paul Tierney – all you need to know
    Matches in 2016/17: 1 (2 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 1
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 4

    Neil Swarbrick

    Neil Swarbrick: Middlesbrough v Crystal Palace
    Assistants: S. Ledger and A. Halliday
    Fourth official: M. Jones

    It’s hard to believe but Crystal Palace have only won two league games in 2016.

    The slide that Alan Pardew’s side have been on would’ve seen most managers out of the door long before now, but he retains the confidence of his paymasters.

    A tough assignment awaits against Premier League newcomers Boro, and if that wasn’t enough to stoke Pardew’s ire, once he sees that Neil Swarbrick is in charge, he’ll probably concede this one before it starts.

    There’s no love lost between the pair after Swarbrick booked Yohan Cabaye in a clash just before Christmas ruling him out of games that the Eagles needed to win, and didn’t.

    Christian Benteke will start for the visitors and the officials should keep a close eye on the physicality that the Belgian giant has to his game.

    How Boro cope with him will author the outcome of this one.

    Neil Swarbrick – all you need to know
    Matches in 2016/17: 2 (0 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 3
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 3

    Anthony Taylor

    Anthony Taylor: Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur
    Assistants: P. Kirkup and G. Beswick
    Fourth official: J. Moss

    Last season, when Spurs were still in with a genuine chance of chasing Leicester down for the title, they visited the Britannia Stadium and produced one of the best attacking performances seen by any team for many a year.

    It was so good that even the home faithful were clapping by the end of it.

    That’s guaranteed to wind up Stoke manager Mark Hughes who won’t want his side to afford the north Londoners the same courtesy again.

    Anthony Taylor has his detractors but he remains calm under pressure and one of the few officials that in general terms gets things right week in and week out.

    If he can just ‘loosen the collar’ figuratively speaking, and allow games to flow a little more, he’d be up there as one of the best in the business.

    And if there was ever a game that would be enhanced as a spectacle by allowing the same, then this is it.

    Anthony Taylor – all you need to know
    Matches in 2016/17: 4 (2 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 1
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Martin Atkinson 5

    Martin Atkinson: West Ham v Watford
    Assistants: S. Child and S. Burt
    Fourth official: S. Martin

    Oddly enough, Slaven Bilic isn’t a manager who appreciates Martin Atkinson’s calm, methodical style during games. Why?

    The Croatian still hasn’t forgiven the official for “denying us a place in the semi-final” – a statement Bilic made to the press when West Ham had just drawn 1-1 at Old Trafford in last seasons FA Cup.

    This is a game the Hammers really do need to win but it’s not going to be easy against a side that have outspent them in the transfer window and who have all of their major stars fit and firing – unlike the east Londoners.

    There’s not too much in the way of intimidating atmosphere as yet at the London Stadium. Until the locals find their voices, both the opposition and officials will have a slightly easier ride than perhaps they will later in the campaign.

    Martin Atkinson – all you need to know
    Matches in 2016/17: 3 (1 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 1
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Craig Pawson 1000x500

    Craig Pawson: Liverpool v Leicester City
    Assistants: H. Lennard and A. Holmes
    Fourth official: L. Mason
    Both sides haven’t started off as well as they might’ve hoped.

    Liverpool’s ‘heavy metal’ football was brought crashing down to earth with a bump as Burnley showed that grit and determination will win out every time.

    Claudio Ranieri knows he has his work cut out in keeping Leicester successful this season and with the Champions League group stage first game coming only a few days after this match, the Italian needs to somehow ensure competitiveness in both.

    Craig Pawson continues to impress and it’s little wonder he’s been handed his third TV game in just four appointments this season.

    He might not be box office in terms of being a household name – like Clattenburg for example – but his style is winning plaudits across the board.

    Craig Pawson – all you need to know
    Matches in 2016/17: 4 (3 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 2
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Andre Marriner

    Andre Marriner: Swansea City v Chelsea
    Assistants: A. Nunn and A. Garratt
    Fourth official: R. East

    Alongside the two Manchester sides, Antonio Conte’s Chelsea are the only team to have a 100% record in the EPL this season.

    Known for his almost maniacal style of management on the touchlines, Roger East as fourth official could be in for a busy 90 minutes trying to keep the Italian in check.

    Andre Marriner has gone about his business quietly this season. He’s been neither outstanding nor below par, and a steady performance here will also be just the ticket.

    The official should’ve been here in January to oversee the game against Sunderland but withdrew late on leaving Graham Scott, in just his fourth top flight game, to take charge.

    A decision that was heavily criticised after the 47-year-old made some glaring errors.

    Whether Marriner leaves Wales with his head held high, we will find out in due course. With the TV cameras in situ, the football world will be watching…

    Andre Marriner – all you need to know
    Matches in 2016/17: 3 (2 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 2
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 0

    Mike Jones 3

    Mike Jones: Sunderland v Everton
    Assistants: M. Scholes and D. Cann
    Fourth official: N. Swarbrick
    Welcome back Mike Jones! About bloody time too!

    The disappearance of the official was unexplained and given that he was one of the top performers last season, questions of an agenda at PGMOL had begun circulating.

    A Monday night appointment is a fine way to start his campaign but the atmosphere could be tense given David Moyes’ assertion that Sunderland supporters should prepare themselves for another relegation battle.

    If a few early decisions go against the Black Cats, Jones will feel that the whole of Wearside is against him.

    No matter, his shoulders are broad enough, and despite the delay he’ll be hoping that this is the first of many games in 2016/17.

    Mike Jones – all you need to know Matches in 2016/17: 1 (1 on TV)
    Fourth official appointments in 2016/17: 2
    Football League appointments in 2016/17: 2

    Appointments: Click here to see a full list of Premier League and EFL appointments for this week