by Andrew Crawshaw
This week marks the halfway point of the season. Maybe we aren’t quite where we would have liked to be but, in all honesty, I don’t think that many of us could reasonably have expected us to be any higher than fifth, given our form from last year.
Here, courtesy of premierleague.com are all of the fixtures and officials for this round of matches:-
All matches have a 15:00 kickoff unless otherwise noted.
Wednesday 26 December
12:30 Fulham v Wolves
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: Scott Ledger, Simon Long
Fourth official: Stuart Attwell
Burnley v Everton
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Simon Bennett, Mick McDonough
Fourth official: Paul Tierney
Crystal Palace v Cardiff City
Referee: Lee Probert
Assistants: Simon Beck, Andy Garratt
Fourth official: Andy Woolmer
Leicester City v Man City
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistants: Darren Cann, Dan Robathan
Fourth official: Andy Madley
Liverpool v Newcastle United
Referee: Graham Scott
Assistants: Eddie Smart, Marc Perry
Fourth official: Lee Mason
Man Utd v Huddersfield Town
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Andy Halliday
Fourth official: Craig Pawson
Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistants: Daniel Cook, Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth official: Gavin Ward
17:15 Brighton v Arsenal
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn
Fourth official: Kevin Friend
19:30 Watford v Chelsea
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Stephen Child, Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth official: David Coote
Thursday 27 December
19:45 Southampton v West Ham United
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistants: Lee Betts, Ian Hussin
Fourth official: David Coote
In our early evening kickoff at Brighton we have the one and only Anthony Taylor so we all know what to expect. After Sean Dyche’s diatribe about Kevin Friend on Saturday there should be no doubt that we will get no decisions at all on Wednesday apart from those that even a person with the severest of sight impediments can see.
It will be the third time this year we have had Mr Taylor, three too many in my opinion. Surprisingly, so far he hasn’t been able to tilt the pitch so far that we have lost a game.
We beat Cardiff away in matchweek 4 by 3 – 2, and Watford at home 2 – 0 in matchweek 7. We have had 6 players booked as against our opponent’s 5 and have been called for 25 fouls against 29 so are getting cards at a rate of one per 4 fouls whilst our opponents are getting cards at one per 6 fouls.
Last Season we had Mr Taylor four times, only winning the first 3 – 0 against Bournemouth. We drew 2 – 2 at home to Chelsea and lost 1 – 0 away at Spurs and 2 – 1 away at Newcastle.
Mr Taylor will be accompanied by his usual posse of Gary Beswick and Adan Nunn, they usually travel as a threesome. Kevin Friend will be the Fourth Official, no doubt being told ‘this is how you referee an Arsenal game’.
Expect a very uneven pitch sloping towards the sea. Little chance of any 30/70 calls going our way, let alone a 50/50. Phantom fouls to the fore and our players getting booked for breathing.
Nevertheless we are a better team than Brighton and a decent performance should be enough to get us another three points. I do expect it to come at a cost with us losing a key player to a bad refereeing decision.
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