For Mike Jones the end is near, with Anfield the scene of his final curtain… and appropriately enough he is holding the board for Kevin Friend. He did it his way through highs like the 2007 League Two play-off final and a Champions League fourth official slot at Camp Nou, alongside lows like the Liverpool/Sunderland beach ball fiasco of 2009.
He also had to switch places with fourth official Friend shortly before sitting through the Spurs/Huddersfield clash at Wembley as recently as March. So it’s so long, Mike, and there’s much more than this in the all-too-real jeopardy attending Matchday 38 for Swansea and Southampton; Chelsea and Liverpool. With most issues settled ahead of the last weekend, the last relegation and Champions League berths are all but, if not quite settled. See you next season, folks!
Burnley v AFC Bournemouth
Assistants: A Holmes & D Eaton
Fourth official: Roger East
As two English coaches in their forties clash for novelty’s sake, it’s also seventh versus 12th and an opportunity for Eddie Howe to avenge this season’s 2-1 reverse fixture defeat at the Vitality with a win at the club where Sean Dyche succeeded him in the Burnley dug-out.
All you need to know about Paul Tierney:
Matches in 2017/18: 15 (3 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 16
Yellows: 38 Reds: 0
Not that it’s going to be easy, what with the Cherries having only ever won twice on a Sunday in the Premier League: 4-3 against Liverpool in December, 2016, and 2-1 against Arsenal in the January just gone.
It was a January affair when the clubs first met in the FA Cup back in 1961 and the Clarets won 1-0.
The last Turf Moor encounter happened to be the first between the clubs in the top flight and was won 3-2 by Burnley in December, 2016.
Referee Martin Atkinson dished out two yellows per side while the goals came from Jeff Hendrick, Stephen Ward, George Boyd, Benik Afobe and Charlie Daniels.
Paul Tierney refereed the Clarets’ 2-1 win at Watford, their 0-0 draw at Huddersfield and their 1-0 defeat at Leicester this season, as well as Bournemouth’s 1-0 win at Newcastle and their 2-1 home win over Stoke, when two of his five cautions were issued to Dan Gosling and Joshua King.
Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion
Assistants: S Bennett & S Ledger
Fourth official: Lee Probert
It’s the 58th meeting pitting the club which lost its first seven Premier League games of the season and survived against the team that has won 11 points from the last available 15 and still gone down.
All you need to know about Jonathan Moss:
Matches in 2017/18: 28 (20 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 17
Yellows: 102 Reds: 3
Only Chris Brunt remains on either side from the 1-1 Championship draw in south London back in April, 2010, but one of the current Eagles coaches, Steven Reid, scored an own goal in a Baggies shirt that day, while referee Dean Whitestone sent off the home side’s Neil Danns and cautioned six others.
The first ever fixture between the two was won 3-1 by visitors West Brom in September, 1969 in a Division One encounter, while the last at Selhurst fell in August, 2016, ending 1-0 to the Baggies. Craig Pawson cautioned two from each side that day and Salomon Rondon scored the winner.
Jon Moss refereed West Brom’s 2-1 home defeat to Huddersfield and their 4-0 defeat at home to Chelsea, as well as Palace’s 3-0 home defeat to Huddersfield, their 3-1 defeat at Everton and draws with Manchester City (0-0 at home) and Bournemouth (2-2 away).
Huddersfield Town v Arsenal
Assistants: L Betts & I Hussin
Fourth official: Chris Kavanagh
For Arsene Wenger’s last game in charge Arsenal visit the club who share the exploits of the only man competing with Wenger for the title of greatest ever Arsenal boss: Herbert Chapman.
It’s game 76 in all competitions between the clubs, the first one ever having been a Division Two clash staged in Yorkshire and won 2-1 by the Gunners in October, 1913.
The last time they met up north was in September, 1993, a 5-0 away League Cup win on the way to clinching the trophy itself which included an Ian Wright hat-trick.
All you need to know about Michael Oliver:
Matches in 2017/18: 29 (19 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 8
Yellows: 99 Reds: 5
Huddersfield followed a point at the Etihad with a point at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, with goalkeeper Jonas Lossl the pick of David Wagner’s 2017 Championship play-off winners in their most recent run-in.
This season’s reverse fixture at the Emirates, however, also ended 5-0, the goals this time supplied by Lacazette, Sanchez, Ozil and two from Giroud, with Graham Scott in charge.
Michael Oliver refereed Arsenal’s victorious Carabao Cup semi-final second leg 2-1 win over Chelsea as well as the Premier League meeting between the two at Stamford Bridge, which ended 0-0. He also took charge of the Gunners in their 3-1 defeat at the Etihad and their 3-2 win at Selhurst Park. His appointments featuring Huddersfield this season include a home draw against Swansea and a home win over Bournemouth plus a 2-0 defeat at Stoke and their 4-1 win at Watford.
Liverpool v Brighton & Hove Albion
Assistants: M Scholes & S Massey-Ellis
Fourth official: Mike Jones
Having lost to the Pensioners on Matchday 37, Liverpool must simply avoid defeat today to be assured of entering the competition whose final they will grace in just a fortnight’s time in Kiev.
It’s only game 27 between these sides, the first on Merseyside having taken place in February, 1908. It ended 1-1 in the FA Cup 2nd round, and Liverpool won the replay 3-0 four days later.
All you need to know about Kevin Friend:
Matches in 2017/18: 20 (14 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 28
Yellows: 46 Reds: 0
The last meeting at Anfield was in February, 2012, another FA Cup tie this time settled by the score of 6-1 to the hosts, when Andre Marriner’s sole caution was the Seagulls’ Alan Navarro.
This season’s reverse fixture on the south coast ended 5-1 to Liverpool, too, and Graham Scott only saw the need to caution Brighton’s Bruno on the day.
Kevin Friend refereed Brighton’s Carabao Cup exit at Bournemouth following extra time, plus the recent Premier League draw at home to Spurs and their 2-0 defeat at Arsenal back in October. He also took Liverpool’s home wins over Palace, Swansea and Huddersfield plus their 3-0 win at Huddersfield, when he turned in a ‘clean sheet’. On a similar theme, it will be interesting if Friend can clock up 21 Premier League games in charge without a single red card shown for the whole season.
Manchester United v Watford
Assistants: M Wilkes & M McDonough
Fourth official: Neil Swarbrick
Graham Taylor’s lowly side famously came and knocked United out at the third round stage of the League Cup 40 years ago thanks to Luther Blissett’s two goals, immortalised by Paul Trevillion the following weekend, while the last meeting up north ended 2-0 to the home side in February, 2017.
All you need to know about Lee Mason:
Matches in 2017/18: 17 (5 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 23
Yellows: 40 Reds: 2
The goals this time were supplied by Juan Mata and Anthony Martial while referee Bobby Madley’s sole caution went Antonio Valencia’s way.
This season’s reverse fixture ended 4-2 to United and the Red Devils and Hornets drew the first meeting in Manchester between the clubs, in January, 1969, a 4th round tie the replay of which United won 2-0 at Vicarage Road 10 days later.
Lee Mason refereed Watford’s 2-1 win at Swansea and their defeats at Palace and Manchester City, as well as United’s 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield in October, when he cautioned Anthony Martial and Ashley Young from a total of six. Mason took some stick for ending the first half without permitting the taking of a Chelsea corner in their midweek draw with Huddersfield as the Terriers ensured this is only the third ever Premier League season in which all three promoted sides have stayed up.
Newcastle United v Chelsea
Assistants: S Child & E Smart
Fourth official: Bobby Madley
Today’s meeting is the 162nd in all competitions and could yet divert the visitors from Europa League to Champions League should Brighton turn the tables against Liverpool. Newcastle boss Benitez won the former competition while in temporary charge of Chelsea in 2013, after which he made way for the return of Jose Mourinho from another former club of his, Real Madrid.
All you need to know about Martin Atkinson:
Matches in 2017/18: 27 (13 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 8
Yellows: 101 Reds: 5
The first ever meeting between these teams took place on Tyneside in September, 1907, a 1-0 home win in Division One. Chelsea’s last visit was back in September, 2015 when the score was 2-2 and today’s referee booked Jack Colback, Pedro and Branislav Ivanovic while the goals came from Ayoze Perez, Georginio Wijnaldum, Ramires and Willian.
This season’s reverse fixture at the Bridge ended 3-1 while Chelsea also brushed past Newcastle at home to the tune of 3-0 in the FA Cup on their way to Wembley.
Martin Atkinson refereed Chelsea’s 0-0 draw in the Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg against Arsenal and their FA Cup semi-final win over Southampton as well as Premier League defeats at home (to Manchester City) and away (at Manchester United). His Newcastle appointments include a 1-0 home defeat to Everton, and a 1-0 home win over Huddersfield, in which just one of his five bookings went to skipper James Lascelles.
Southampton v Manchester City
Assistants: S Long & R West
Fourth official: Mike Dean
Believe it or not, it’s all square at 31 wins each after 87 meetings between these sides in all competitions. So City could get their historical noses in front while potentially relegating their hosts and former manager with an avalanche of goals, although this proved beyond them when they entertained Saints in November and had to settle for a 2-1 victory.
All you need to know about Andre Marriner:
Matches in 2017/18: 26 (18 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 23
Yellows: 67 Reds: 4
The first meeting on the south coast came in February, 1910 and City did chalk up a 5-0 win on that occasion, an FA Cup 2nd round tie. Their last visit, last April, ended 3-0 as referee Neil Swarbrick cautioned three home players and City prevailed thanks to goals from Vincent Kompany, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero.
Andre Marriner refereed City’s 1-0 Premier League win at St James Park as well as their 4-3 defeat at Anfield and their 3-0 win at Arsenal in March. He refereed Southampton’s defeats at Newcastle and Arsenal in the Premier League this season. He also took Saints’ EFL Cup Final defeat at Wembley against Manchester United last season.
Swansea City v Stoke City
Assistants: G Beswick & A Nunn
Fourth official: Stuart Attwell
It’s 18th versus 20th as Swansea hope for a miracle on the south coast, provided they can take care of their own business by dispatching Paul Lambert’s side, who turned out to be the first team to go down after first losing the lead and then the game at home to Crystal Palace on Matchday 37.
All you need to know about Anthony Taylor:
Matches in 2017/18: 26 (14 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 9
Yellows: 90 Reds: 1
It is the 70th meeting between the clubs, the first ever having taken place in December, 1925 and ended 1-1 in Division Two.
The last encounter in Wales was one year ago, a 2-0 home win vital to Swansea’s survival, when referee Michael Oliver showed two yellows to each side and the goals came from Fernando Llorente and Tom Carroll.
Anthony Taylor refereed Stoke’s Premier League draws at West Brom, Southampton and Huddersfield, as well as their 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford, plus Swansea’s 4-0 Premier League defeat at home to Manchester City, their 1-1 draw at Leicester City and their 0-0 FA Cup draw at Molineux in January.
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City
Assistants: S Burt & S Beck
Fourth official: David Coote
Gary Lineker only played in seven of these fixtures, all for Leicester, out of the 109 between these clubs in all competitions. After leaving Filbert Street he played for Everton, Barcelona and Grampus Eight as well as Spurs, before he finally retired in 1994.
All you need to know about Craig Pawson:
Matches in 2017/18: 23 (18 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 20
Yellows: 78 Reds: 4
The first time the Foxes travelled south to play Spurs was a 2-0 home FA Cup first round replay win in January, 1914. Bert Bliss and Fanny Walden scored the goals, after which Spurs promptly snapped up Thomas Clay and Henry Sparrow from the visitors’ starting line-up.
Their last visit was to White Hart Lane in October, 2016, a 1-1 draw with goals supplied by Vincent Janssen and Ahmed Musa. Referee Bobby Madley cautioned four Foxes players and three from Spurs as Claudio Ranieri preserved his personal unbeaten record against Tottenham.
This season’s reverse fixture ended 2-1 to Leicester, leaving the motive purely of revenge in the air for Spurs as they sign off from their season in residence at Wembley having qualified for the Champions League with a 1-0 win against Newcastle on Wednesday night.
Craig Pawson refereed Leicester’s sixth round exit at home to FA Cup finalists Chelsea after extra time, but the PGMO Ltd has left it until the very last matchday to give him a Leicester game in the Premier League. His exposure to Spurs has so far been limited to a home win over Everton plus an away defeat to Manchester City, when his total of six cautions included Kane, Dembele, Alli and Sissoko.
Up and coming David Coote ends the season holding Pawson’s board, having featured in the middle himself just the once, on Matchday 36, at St James Park.
West Ham United v Everton
Assistants: C Hatzidakis & D Rabathan
Fourth official: Simon Hooper
It’s the Umbro derby: a brand once ubiquitous but now owned by Nike, the giant American sportswear concern. Perhaps more intriguingly it’s a battle of the exes, too, with David Moyes having clocked up 11 Goodison years to Sam Allardyce’s four at Upton Park, West Ham’s former home.
All you need to know about Graham Scott:
Matches in 2017/18: 18 (5 on TV)
Fourth official appointments in 2017/18: 20
Yellows: 42 Reds: 1
David Unsworth, who played for both, was just handing over his caretaker reins to Big Sam when the Toffees won 4-0 in the reverse fixture.
It’s game 138 overall, and, back in February, 1907, the first ever encounter ended 2-1 to the visitors at Upton Park in the second round of the FA Cup. Harry Stapley’s goal was bettered by efforts from John Sharp and Jimmy Settle on the day.
Graham Scott refereed West Ham’s 2-0 home win over Watford and their 3-0 win at Stoke, plus Everton’s 3-0 home defeat to Spurs and their 3-1 home win over Watford, when he cautioned no Toffeemen and two players from the ranks of the visitors.
Fourth official Simon Hooper is another referee with just one Premier League appointment in the middle to his name in 2017/18. His opportunity knocked on Matchday 25, at Newcastle, just like Coote.