MICHAEL Oliver will be the referee for Saturday’s crucial north London derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
The Fifa official, who turned 31 last week, will be in the middle when the two Premier League title hopefuls meet at White Hart Lane in the lunchtime game (KO 12:45 GMT).
He will be assisted by experienced linesmen Stephen Child (Kent) and Mike Mullarkey (Devon), while Roger East (Wiltshire) is the fourth official.
The Northumberland whistler was in charge of the Capital One Cup Final last weekend as Manchester City beat Liverpool on penalties at Wembley.
It will be his third north London derby but first at White Hart Lane after handling Arsenal’s 1-0 win in September 2013 and last season’s 1-1 draw at the Emirates – in which he contentiously booked Spurs’ Nacer Chadli for his goal celebration in front of the Arsenal fans.
Oliver has handled 26 matches in all competitions this term – brandishing 98 yellow cards, sending off six players and awarding nine penalties.
It will be his fifth Spurs game of the season after overseeing their 1-0 home win over Palace in September, goalless draw with Chelsea in November as well as their 1-1 draw at Everton and 4-1 FA Cup win at Colchester last month.
In contrast, Oliver has only previously encountered Arsenal once in 2015-16 – back in August in their goalless draw at home to Liverpool.
An incident-free reverse fixture in November, when Kieran Gibbs cancelled out Harry Kane’s opener in an intense 1-1 draw, was officiated by Euro 2016-bound Martin Atkinson.
Oliver is still awaiting confirmation that he will be part of either Atkinson or his good Geordie friend Mark Clattenburg’s team of officials in France during the summer.
The Ashington-based official became the Premier League’s youngest ever referee in 2010 and was promoted to the Fifa list in 2012.