MIKE Dean will be the man in the middle for Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Leicester City this weekend.
The 48-year-old, from the Wirral, will take charge when the Reds host the defending champions at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime (KO 12:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).
He will be ably assisted by Simon Long (Suffolk) and Ian Hussin (Merseyside), as he was for Spurs’ 1-0 win over Sunderland last Sunday, while the fourth official is Lee Mason (Lancashire).
It will be Dean’s fifth top-flight game of the campaign – and his fourth live on TV.
He has awarded four penalties so far, three for shirt-pulling under the new directive, brandished 22 yellows and sent off one player – Sunderland’s Adnan Januzaj for two bookable offences last time out at White Hart Lane.
Dean is yet to officiate in any other competition this term but has been fourth official for Manchester City’s 2-1 derby win over United at Old Trafford and Leicester’s EFL Cup tie with Chelsea on Tuesday night.
It’s the second time this season the Tranmere Rovers fan, now based in north Wales, will encounter Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester after their surprise 2-1 defeat at newly-promoted Hull on the opening weekend, in which he awarded them a spotkick for a foul on Demarai Gray that appeared to occur outside the box.
Dean – who first took up the whistle in 1985 – has been refereeing in the Premier League since 2001 and spent a decade on the Fifa list before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 45 in 2013.
He is the most experienced of the current crop of Select Group referees and is the proverbial safe pair of hands, with a number of high-profile games under his belt.
Dean’s major honours include the 2004 Community Shield, 2004 FA Trophy Final, Championship Play-Off Finals in 2006, 2009 and 2015, the 2008 FA Cup Final and the 2011 League Cup Final.
His flamboyant style has attracted praise and criticism in equal measure, as seen in Tottenham’s 3-1 win in Aston Villa last season when he appeared to “celebrate” Mousa Dembele’s opening goal.
Dean encountered United six times last season, with a mixed bag of key decisions going for and against the Reds.
In contrast, Dean only handled three Leicester matches in their title-winning campaign – all of which were at the King Power Stadium and passed with little in the way of major incidents or talking points.
United have won 29, drawn 10 and lost 15 of the 54 games Dean has refereed them but has only sent off four Reds players in that time, awarding the club 16 penalties.
He has also given Leicester four red cards in 26 games, in which they have won 14, drawn five and lost seven, but has only given them seven spotkicks.
The sides have already met this term in the Community Shield at Wembley last month, with Craig Pawson the man in the middle for United’s 2-1 win – as he was for the 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium last term.
Meanwhile, last season’s corresponding fixture in April – another 1-1 draw which all but guaranteed Leicester their most unlikely of title triumphs, in which Danny Drinkwater was sent off against his former club late on – was refereed by Michael Oliver.
Oliver has been appointed to Saturday’s evening kick-off between Arsenal and Chelsea.
The Northumberland official will oversee the weekend’s marquee game when the two London heavyweights go head-to-head at the Emirates Stadium (KO 17:30 BST, live on BT Sport).
Oliver will be assisted by his regular Fifa assistants Gary Beswick (Countu Durham) and Stuart Burt (Northamptonshire) – with Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire) on fourth official duties, as he will be for West Ham’s match against Southampton at the London Stadium on Sunday.
It’s the second time Oliver will handle a fixture involving the sides in north London after a goalless draw in April 2015, incurring the wrath of then Blues boss Jose Mourinho for turning down three first-half penalty appeals and booking Cesc Fabregas for diving.
Mourinho was also critical of the Ashingdon-based whistler last weekend for his display in Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat at Watford – their third loss in a row in all competitions.
He can expect another volatile game – with both meetings last term producing three red cards for Arsenal, when Mark Clattenburg sent off Per Mertesacker for a last-man foul on Diego Costa early into Chelsea’s 1-0 win at the Emirates before Mike Dean controversially ordered off Gabriel and Santi Cazorla in the Blues’ 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, Oliver will handle his seventh game of the season in all competitions and fifth in the Premier League.
The 31-year-old has awarded penalties in three of his previous four top-flight games, including Arsenal’s 4-3 defeat at home to Liverpool last month which Theo Walcott missed.
After an incident-free game in Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, he gave a controversial spotkick for Everton which led to their narrow victory over Stoke at Goodison Park – much to Mark Hughes’s dismay.
Oliver – a Premier League referee since 2010 who joined the Fifa list two years later – encountered Chelsea five times last season.
He sent off goalkeeper Thibault Courtois in their 2-2 draw with Swansea on the opening weekend before staying under the radar for their goalless draw at Spurs in November and 1-1 draw with Manchester United in February.
Oliver then sent off Diego Costa for two bookable offences in their stormy 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Everton in March but performed well when the Blues returned to Merseyside in May’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield.
In comparison, the Newcastle United fan has not crossed paths with Arsenal since March – one of only two occasions he did so in 2015-16.
He dished out five yellow cards in their goalless draw with Liverpool at the Emirates in August but sent off Francis Coquelin for two yellow cards in their 2-2 draw with north London rivals Spurs at White Hart Lane.
Oliver – who is from a refereeing family with wife Lucy also a referee and his father Clive a retired Football League official – went to Euro 2016 as an additional assistant referee in Martin Atkinson’s team.
He may still be remembered by some Arsenal fans for his imperious display in their 2-1 FA Cup triumph at Manchester United in March 2015.
Graham Scott will oversee his first Premier League game of the campaign when Middlesbrough welcome Tottenham to the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.
The Oxfordshire whistler has handled five matches in the Football League so far this term but will be in charge of a first top-flight match since Stoke’s 3-1 win at Bournemouth on February 13.
Scott has seemingly been out of favour since wrongly sending off Kyle Naughton, one of several strange decisions in Sunderland’s 4-2 win at Swansea in January – when he stood in for the ill Andre Marriner.
Although he has been fourth official for two Premier League games this term, his first refereeing appointment comes on the back of a good display in Leeds’ 2-0 win at Cardiff in the Championship live on TV last weekend.
He awarded the visitors a spotkick under the new shirt-pulling directive at a crucial time after Matthew Connolly hauled down Pontus Jansson, which allowed Chris Wood to open the scoring at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Scott only received one trial game before being promoted to the Select Group in the summer of 2015 as a replacement for the retired Chris Foy, following six years in the Football League.
The Abingdon-based official didn’t officiate his first match last term until October 17 because of injury and only received the first of his four Premier League games on December 12 – Watford’s 1-0 win at Sunderland.
The 48-year-old has handled seven previous Middlesbrough games but the last of which was their 1-0 win at Cardiff in the Championship in September 2014.
He has never sent off a Boro player or awarded them a penalty – but it will be the first time Scott will be in the middle for a Spurs match.
Richard West and the experienced Dave Bryan (Lincolnshire) will be the assistant referees, with Mike Jones (Cheshire) on fourth official duties.
Meanwhile, Jones will take charge of a Premier League game for the third week running on Monday night as Burnley host Watford.
The 48-year-old, from Cheshire, hadn’t overseen a top-flight match until Everton’s 3-0 win at Sunderland a fortnight ago, also on a Monday night at the Stadium of Light.
He was then in the middle for Southampton’s 1-0 win over Swansea at St Mary’s – dishing out two yellow cards in both matches.
However, the Chester-born whistler has shown red cards in his two other games in the Football League this term.
He issued six yellow cards and sent off Reading defender Joey van den Berg in their 2-2 draw with Brighton in the Championship last month before sending off Accrington’s Mark Hughes in the first half of their 3-2 Lancashire derby defeat to Morecambe in League Two.
Jones has also been fourth official for Manchester City’s 3-1 win over West Ham and Crystal Palace’s 2-1 victory at Middlesbrough.
The experienced official – who has been in the Premier League since 2008 and refereed two games at Wembley – enjoyed a successful and consistent campaign last term in which he handled 28 top-flight games.
The first of them was Watford’s 2-2 draw at Everton on the opening weekend as the Hornets made their Premier League return, before he oversaw their 3-0 home defeat by Arsenal in October and 1-0 defeat at Manchester United in March.
He encountered Burnley twice in the latter stages of their promotion-winning campaign in the Championship, both at Turf Moor.
Jones awarded the Clarets an early penalty for Shane Duffy’s foul on George Boyd which Andre Gray converted in their 1-0 win over Blackburn in his first east Lancashire derby in March, before dishing out three bookings in the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough the following month.
His assistants will be Darren Cann (Norfolk) and Mark Scholes (Buckinghamshire), while Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) is the fourth official.
You can view a full list of Premier League match official appointments here.