by Andrew Crawshaw
Here courtesy of premierleague.com are the New Year games. Please note that kickoffs are at 15:00 London time unless noted otherwise:-
Tuesday 1 January
12:30 Everton v Leicester City
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Stephen Child, Lee Betts
Fourth official: Anthony Taylor
15:00 Arsenal v Fulham
Referee: Graham Scott
Assistants: Richard West, Neil Davies
Fourth official: Roger East
17:30 Cardiff City v Tottenham Hotspur
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Matthew Wilkes
Fourth official: Simon Hooper
Please note predictions for the remaining matches will appear on the Football Predictions site tomorrow.
Wednesday 2 January
19:45 AFC Bournemouth v Watford
Referee: David Coote
Assistants: Simon Bennett, Marc Perry
Fourth official: Graham Scott
19:45 Chelsea v Southampton
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistants: Harry Lennard, Andy Halliday
Fourth official: Simon Hooper
19:45 Huddersfield Town v Burnley
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistants: Darren Cann, Dan Robathan
Fourth official: Michael Oliver
19:45 West Ham United v Brighton
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistants: Daniel Cook, Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth official: Craig Pawson
19:45 Wolves v Crystal Palace
Referee: Roger East
Assistants: Adrian Holmes, Derek Eaton
Fourth official: Lee Mason
20:00 Newcastle United v Man Utd
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: Scott Ledger, Simon Long
Fourth official: Stuart Attwell
Thursday 3 January
20:00 Man City v Liverpool
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn
Fourth official: Martin Atkinson
So Man City v Liverpool gets an evening all to itself.
Brighton get Chris Kavanagh for the fourth time this season and I had missed Chelsea having Craig Pawson for the fourth time for their weekend game. This makes 4 teams with quadruple visits. All of these teams could have had a choice of fresh referees should the PGMO decide they wished it to be the case.
For our game against Fulham we have Graham Scott for the second time this year. It will be his first Fulham game.
We had him on matchweek 3 for our 3 – 1 home win against West Ham. This was a home match when we nearly didn’t have a player booked but in the 89th minute the card came out. We were called for 16 fouls so I suppose were somewhat lucky only to get one booking (season averages would have suggested 3 as a more likely number). West Ham had three players booked and were called for 13 fouls. My recollection was that he wasn’t very good (but then it was half a season ago and my memory is notoriously unreliable).
We had him twice last year our 5 – 0 win at home against Huddersfield on 29 November and our 3 – 1 away loss at Leicester on 9 May.
I’m sure I was at the Huddersfield game but I honestly have no recollection of it at all. The scoreline suggests that it was a routine comfortable win and would have given Mr Scott little opportunity to tilt the pitch.
The Leicester game was the last Mavopranos played as he was sent off for a last man foul and the strictest letter of the law being applied, for the most part fouls by Leicester players being ignored, Leicester being given a very soft penalty from which they scored their second goal which effectively killed any chances of us getting anything from the game. Their third came in the final minutes when Mahrez had too much pace for our very tired defenders. A good performance from Scott to catch the eyes of Mike Riley, perhaps making up for the earlier 5 – 0 result.
Of the other top six clubs, Chelsea, Man City and Man United are yet to see him, Liverpool and Spurs have had him once.
We should expect all of the usual tricks, wrongly applied ‘advantages’, Fulham fouls being ignored and phantom fouls being given in their favour.
All in all though it would be extremely generous of Arsenal to allow Fulham a sniff of points in this game, they have been terrible this year and PL loan ruled rule out Calum Chambers from playing – he has been featuring as a DM rather than a CB and, more often than not, has been doing a decent job there.
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