Michael Oliver handed north London derby

Michael Oliver will take charge of the first north London derby of the Premier League season between Arsenal and Tottenham at the Emirates.

Decision making: Oliver will take control of his second north London derby at the age of 29 this weekend (Picture from Zimbio.com)
Decision making: Oliver will take control of his second north London derby at the age of 29 this weekend (Picture from Zimbio.com)

MICHAEL Oliver will take charge of the first north London derby of the Premier League season between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

The 29-year-old from Northumberland will be the referee when the Gunners host their cross-city rivals at the Emirates Stadium in Saturday’s televised teatime kick-off.

He will be assisted by Fifa linesmen John Brooks (Leicestershire) and Stuart Burt (Northamptonshire) while Craig Pawson, who will be in the middle for Stoke against Newcastle on Monday, is the fourth official.

Oliver also oversaw the corresponding fixture last season, an incident-free 1-0 win for Arsenal on the third weekend.

The highly-rated Ashington-based whistler has officiated six games in all competitions so far this term, dishing out 17 yellow cards and is yet to send a player off but awarded his first two penalties in Crystal Palace’s 3-2 win at Everton last weekend.

He has already handled two high-profile matches – Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Manchester City in the Community Shield and City’s Premier League clash with Liverpool last month – and was part of an English officiating team for the Uefa Super Cup between Real Madrid and Sevilla.

Oliver, the youngest of the current 17 Select Group referees, is expected to battle for domestic supremacy this season with close friend Mark Clattenburg following the retirement during the summer of Howard Webb.

Last season, he brandished 141 yellow cards and four red cards in 39 matches in all competitions, awarding 12 penalties in the process.

Oliver, a Fifa Category One official since 2012, received his highest tally of Premier League games thus far in his career, overseeing 26 games in total.

He has quickly established himself as an accomplished top-flight official with a confident and assured but less flamboyant approach and has attracted more praise than criticism.

Oliver first officiated in the Premier League in August 2010, a debut which was delayed by three months because of injury, following three successful years in the Football League and four in non-league football.

Arsenal have taken nine points from their first five league games while Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs have two fewer points from the same number of matches.

Saturday’s 17:30 BST kick-off will be screened live on Sky Sports 1 and HD1 as part of their promotional Saturday Night Football programme.

Here are some people’s opinions of the appointment – but what is yours? (See poll below)


Elsewhere, Football League referee Keith Stroud has been handed a trial game with the prospect of a second promotion to the Premier League following his demotion in 2009.

He will take charge of Crystal Palace against newly-promoted Leicester at Selhurst Park.

Meanwhile, Martin Atkinson receives the Merseyside derby at Anfield, Phil Dowd will oversee Chelsea v Aston Villa, Anthony Taylor will be at the KC Stadium as Hull host Manchester City and Lee Mason is on duty at Old Trafford where Manchester United entertain West Ham.

Mark Clattenburg is in charge of Southampton v QPR, Chris Foy takes control of Sunderland v Swansea for the second season running, Jon Moss has Sunday’s TV game between West Brom and Burnley with Craig Pawson at the helm on Monday for Stoke against Newcastle.

The third team: The match officials for this weekend's Premier League games (Picture by Adam Higgins)
The third team: The match officials for this weekend’s Premier League games (Picture by Adam Higgins)

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