FA Cup: Match officials appointed for third round replays

Ben Toner and Graham Scott will take charge of the two televised games at Sincil Bank and Home Park with all nine ties to be settled in midweek.

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Man in black: Graham Scott (middle) has been assigned to Liverpool’s televised replay at Plymouth on Wednesday as the sides drew 0-0 at Anfield in the original tie (Picture from Sky Sports)

The match officials have been announced for this week’s FA Cup third round replays.

There are nine ties to be decided in total, which will take place on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 January.

Two have been selected for live television coverage.

Football League referee Ben Toner will be in the middle for National League side Lincoln City’s match against Championship outfit Ipswich Town at Sincil Bank on Tuesday evening, live on BBC One.

Meanwhile, Premier League official Graham Scott will take charge of League Two Plymouth’s replay against Premier League giants Liverpool at Home Park on Wednesday night, in front of the BT Sport cameras.

Here are the details in full…

TUESDAY 17 JANUARY:

AFC Wimbledon v Sutton United (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)
Assistant referees: John Flynn (Oxfordshire) & Christopher Husband (Worcestershire)
Fourth official: John Busby (Oxfordshire)

Barnsley v Blackpool (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)
Assistant referees: Akil Howson (Leicestershire) & Wayne Grunnill (East Yorkshire)
Fourth official: Ross Joyce (Cleveland)

Burnley v Sunderland (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Assistant referees: Peter Kirkup (Northamptonshire) & Simon Bennett (Staffordshire)
Fourth official: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)

Lincoln City v Ipswich Town (KO 20:05 GMT, live on BBC One)
Referee: Ben Toner (Lancashire)
Assistant referees: Billy Smallwood (Cheshire) & Alix Pashley (Derbyshire)
Fourth official: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire)

Fleetwood Town v Bristol City (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)
Assistant referees: James Mainwaring (Lancashire) & Helen Byrne (Durham)
Fourth official: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear)

Crystal Palace v Bolton Wanderers (KO 20:00 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
Assistant referees: Dave Bryan (Lincolnshire) & Harry Lennard (East Sussex)
Fourth official: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)

WEDNESDAY 18 JANUARY:

Newcastle United v Birmingham City (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
Assistant referees: Nick Hopton (Derbyshire) & James Bell (South Yorkshire)
Fourth official: David Webb (County Durham)

Plymouth Argyle v Liverpool (KO 19:45 GMT, live on BT Sport)
Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)
Assistant referees: Simon Beck (Bedfordshire) & Simon Long (Cornwall)
Fourth official: Andy Davies (Hampshire)

Southampton v Norwich City (KO 19:45 GMT)
Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire)
Assistant referees: Sian Massey-Ellis (West Midlands) & Marc Perry (West Midlands)
Fourth official: James Linington (Isle of Wight)

You can see a full list of FA Cup fourth round fixtures here. 

Premier League: Tony Pulis gives his verdict on Tottenham defeat

The West Bromwich Albion head coach reflected on his side’s display, Spurs and the gulf between the Premier League’s top six and the rest.

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From the top: West Brom had only lost one of the previous seven meetings with Spurs but have only taken one point from the top seven this term – against Tottenham earlier in the season (Picture from Sky Sports)

Tony Pulis rued a bad day at the office for West Bromwich Albion after his side were beaten out of sight by title-chasing Tottenham.

From the first whistle, Spurs were streets ahead of the Baggies, who went down 4-0 at White Hart Lane as Harry Kane bagged a hat-trick either side of a Gareth McAuley own goal.

Albion have notoriously made life difficult for Spurs in recent times but had no answer to a dominant display from Mauricio Pochettino’s in-form side.

Head coach Pulis refused to attack his players for their poor showing and praised Spurs but admitted the performance was nowhere near the levels it needed to be at.

He told Sky Sports afterwards: “When you come to these grounds against these teams you’ve got to be at your best – not just technically but mentally as well and I think we were short today.

“I’m not going to criticise our players – our players have done fantastically so far this year.

“But today we just weren’t on it. I don’t take no credit away from Tottenham who are a very good team but our lads weren’t right on that mettle today and you’ve got to be.

“If you’re not then you’ll get punished and that is what has happened today.”

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Ambitions: Pulis (right) has never finished higher than 11th in the Premier League with West Brom or previous clubs Stoke and Crystal Palace (Picture from Sky Sports)

Despite being dumped out of the FA Cup by Championship side Derby County last weekend, the Baggies had won their previous two league games after conceding the first goal and arrived in north London eighth in the table.

The Midlands club, who held Spurs to a 1-1 draw back in October, ran Chelsea and Arsenal close away from home last month before succumbing to 1-0 defeats.

But Pulis conceded that the quality of Spurs shone through on this occasion and it will be an experience his side won’t dwell on too much.

“We’re human beings and we have good days and bad days at times – even outside of football, never mind in football,” he said.

“Like I said, I don’t want to take anything away from Spurs. They were very, very good and Kane gets his hat-trick but for us, like I said to the players, you have to be on it against these teams and we’ve done that this year.

“We’ve really worked hard at the bigger clubs and have been unfortunate not to get results but today we were miles off it and it was disappointing but we’ll dust ourselves down and move on.”

The thumping victory was Spurs’ seventh in a row in all competitions – which lifted them up to second in the table and to within four points of leaders Chelsea – who play at champions Leicester on Saturday evening.

But despite being in great shape and their lofty position, Pulis wouldn’t definitively say whether Pochettino’s men can sustain a title challenge and feels the gap between the best and the rest is wider than ever.

“I said before the game they’ve got real quality but it’s a tough league and there are some very, very good sides,” he commented.

“The top six of the Premiership this year could be the biggest gap ever from the sixth position to the seventh position because that’s how far ahead they are from the rest of us.”

Premier League: Mauricio Pochettino on Tottenham 4-0 West Brom

The Spurs boss spoke about his team’s performance, their title credentials, Jan Vertonghen’s injury and hat-trick hero Harry Kane.

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Landmark: The Argentine was victorious in his 200th game as a manager in English football (Picture from Sky Sports)

Mauricio Pochettino hailed his players after Tottenham proved their title credentials once again with a thumping 4-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane.

Harry Kane bagged a hat-trick as Spurs moved up to second in the Premier League with a seventh successive victory in all competitions in Saturday’s lunchtime encounter.

The Lilywhites were dominant from the outset and could have scored more had it not been for Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster, who was in inspired form.

And Pochettino couldn’t be happier with his team and their polished display as they followed up their impressive win over leaders Chelsea 10 days ago with three more crucial points.

“I think it was a great performance from the team,” he told Sky Sports. “Very pleased. [I] congratulate the players. Fantastic performance, very solid performance.

“Very happy because they play the way that we play – that was the most important thing for us after the Chelsea victory to get the three points and fight now in a really good position.

“I think we’re in a very good moment and after Chelsea we feel confident, we feel with good energy, we worked hard in the week, we had good organisation. I think the team showed a very solid performance and we are pleased.”

Spurs had struggled against the Baggies in recent times but stormed to an eighth home win on the spin in all competitions, with Kane helping himself to his fourth treble for the club either side of a Gareth McAuley own goal.

The only blot on the copybook was a nasty-looking injury to Jan Vertonghen, who appeared to roll his ankle when attempting to prevent a throw-in just after the hour mark and was replaced by Ben Davies after receiving treatment on the side of the pitch.

A concerned Pochettino admitted afterwards the signs are not good for the Belgian defender.

“It’s a situation that disappoints us,” the Spurs boss admitted. “It looks bad. We need to wait until tomorrow or Monday to assess.

“He’s disappointed and he’s in a very difficult period but we will push him to recovery quickly and try to help him.”

Although it was a team effort, Kane will undoubtedly steal the headlines as he took his Premier League tally to 13 goals this season with his hat-trick – ending a special week on a personal level after the birth of his first child, daughter Ivy Jane.

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Record: Kane is now on 62 league goals in 99 appearances – the quickest ever Spurs player to reach the 60 mark (Picture from Sky Sports)

Pochettino said: “Harry has missed 10 games in the Premier League but it’s like he’s not been away.

“We talk about Dele Alli as a special player and I’m very pleased after an amazing week for him. To score three goals was an important week to close.”

A surprise package last season, Spurs came agonisingly close to catching champions Leicester before falling short in the final hurdles.

But, after equalling their club record of six straight league wins, Pochettino believes his team are better equipped for a title challenge this term as they moved to within four points of Chelsea – who visit the King Power Stadium in Saturday’s evening kick-off.

“I think we are showing a good maturity and I think the team learnt a lot from last season,” the former Southampton boss added.

“We are in a very good moment and it’s important to keep that.

“We want to fight and challenge for good things. I think that performance and the performance against Chelsea is a good example of how we need to play.”

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Mixed bag: Spurs face some tough and winnable fixtures in the Premier League in the next few weeks (Picture from Sky Sports)

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Premier League: Harry Kane reacts to Tottenham’s win over West Brom

The in-form striker spoke about his hat-trick, the team’s performance and his unforgettable week after Saturday’s crushing 4-0 win at White Hart Lane.

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Record: No player has scored more Premier League hat-tricks for Tottenham than Kane who now has three (Picture from Sky Sports)

Hat-trick hero Harry Kane described title-chasing Tottenham’s 4-0 demolition of West Bromwich Albion as their best performance of the season so far.

The in-form England striker scored his fourth treble in a Spurs shirt and took his tally to 12 goals in his last 13 Premier League games as Mauricio Pochettino’s moved up to second in the table after a seventh successive win in all competitions.

And the 23-year-old, who is closing in on wantaway Chelsea frontman Diego Costa in the leading scorers chart, praised Spurs’ display against a team who have notoriously made life difficult for them in recent times.

“We were outstanding today,” Kane told Sky Sports afterwards. “I’d say that’s probably our best performance of the season. We could have scored a lot more if it wasn’t for Ben [Foster] in [the West Bromwich Albion] goal – he made some unbelievable saves.

“We were very good today. At home we wanted to keep our streak going and we’ve done that.”

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Return: Only Diego Costa has scored more league goals than Kane so far this season – despite the Spurs striker missing a month of action with an ankle injury (Picture from Sky Sports)

Indeed, the north London club have now won their last eight games at White Hart Lane in all competitions and piled the pressure on their rivals.

By taking home the match ball, Kane – who was the Premier League’s top scorer with 25 goals last season – has reached the 60 league goal mark quicker than any other Spurs player.

Although pleased by the achievement, he insisted the team is more important than personal glory.

“That’s fantastic,” he said. “I don’t look at the records too much, I just try to go out there, play, score for my team, win for my team, so yes that’s fantastic but it’s a fantastic day all round.”

After this latest win and a hat-trick to boot, it’s been a special last seven days for Kane, which he is unlikely to forget following the birth of his first child, daughter Ivy Jane, earlier in the week.

“It’s amazing,” a delighted Kane added. “The week’s been a bit of a whirlwind, obviously having a little daughter but yeah it’s just been amazing the whole week and to finish it off like this is just the best way possible.”


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Manchester United v Liverpool: Why Spidercam heaps more pressure on Michael Oliver

The additional technology at Old Trafford is likely to put the referee’s every decision under even more scrutiny than normal.

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Different: Spidercam, which has also been used in cricket, offers a unique viewing experience and many will be looking forward to seeing it in the English top-flight for the first time

With cameras covering almost every angle and every decision magnified however small it may seem, the job of match officials has never been tougher.

Although referees are getting fitter, so are the players and a modern Premier League game played at an electrifying pace is increasingly difficult to keep up with for the men in the middle – some of which are in their 40s or 50s.

Television coverage is becoming more expensive for companies to acquire and their eagerness to improve the service they provide for viewers means changes are being made all the time.

And the introduction of the ‘Spidercam’ for this weekend’s blockbuster at Old Trafford is the latest addition by Sky Sports to make those watching on TV feel like they are a supporter inside the stadium.

Crews have been busy installing the 3D camera system, which slides across wires above the pitch, throughout the week and it will undoubtedly enhance the experience for armchair fans by bringing them closer to the action.

But, for officials going about their business, the extra feature will only increase the pressure to ensure their decision-making is impeccable and intensify scrutiny should they make a wrong call.

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First: Old Trafford will be the first stadium in the Premier League to experience the Spidercam (Picture from Sky Sports)

The use of the Spidercam at World Cups, European Championships and the Champions League in recent years has given competitions at the top of the game a revolutionary new dimension.

With the 360-degree camera roving across the pitch, it can reach as high as 10 metres above the playing surface and be operated from pitchside.

It will come to the fore for corners, penalties or free-kicks and, given the number of set-pieces in every single game and the amount of grappling that goes on inside the box, the footage is likely to leave officials even more red-faced if they fail to identify even the slightest infringements.

During a time when referees are being criticised on an almost weekly basis, they will have to brace themselves for further scrutiny if and when the Spidercam is rolled out in every ground.

With instant reaction, pundits often make the life of officials difficult and the use of this technology will spearhead the post-match analysis through an array of optimum replays, with decisions likely to be under the microscope more than ever.

A series of controversial red cards lately will not have helped to convince fans that standards are improving, which is certainly a bone of contention, but their esteemed reputation worldwide remains upheld.

Although some Select Group officials have operated at major tournaments before, most recently Martin Atkinson and Mark Clattenburg at Euro 2016, many will not have officiated with this technology.

Michael Oliver, who is tasked with taking charge of Manchester United against Liverpool on Sunday, is still relatively new to the European and international circuit but, with his 32nd birthday approaching next month, he is one of the youngest and fittest officials in the Premier League.

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Man in the middle: Oliver has been a Premier League referee since 2010 – the same year Spidercam was used at a major football tournament (Picture from BBC Sport)

Having overseen United’s 3-1 home win over their north West rivals last season, previous experience of what can be one of English football’s most fiery occasions will stand the Fifa official in good stead.

But nothing can prepare him for what lies ahead once the whistle has blown and an auxiliary camera is hovering directly above watching his every move.

Of course, with the stakes high, the right decisions must be made but, whilst the Spidercam is a broadcasting innovation, a reminder that officials are only human is often needed and giving fans a birds-eye view of proceedings won’t do their cause much good.

Not normally afraid to make a big decision, Oliver – who will be relieved he hasn’t had the same media storm follow him in the same way Anthony Taylor did before the reverse fixture – knows he needs to be at his best but he is the ideal man to illustrate that the officials can handle any extra pressure heaped on them.

Although the Spidercam is effectively on trial at Old Trafford, it won’t be long before every Premier League game will have this additional feature – if the successful implementation of goal-line technology and exploration of further video technology is anything to go by.

And match officials must be ready to raise their performance to another level and react in a positive manner, otherwise their confidence may suffer to the extent that it may be beyond repair.

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Premier League: Who Chelsea could replace John Terry with against Leicester

Antonio Conte has a defensive conundrum to solve for Saturday’s trip to the King Power Stadium.

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Established: The versatile 21-year-old, who can play in defence or midfield, also spent time at Watford last season (Picture from Sky Sports)

After a string of impressive wins and sequence of clean sheets, Chelsea’s defence has started to creak in recent weeks.

And the dismissal of captain John Terry last weekend has given Blues boss Antonio Conte a selection dilemma ahead of Saturday’s trip to champions Leicester.

But, after being recalled from his loan spell at Bournemouth this week earlier than expected, Nathan Ake could be called upon straight away to fill the breach and at least be named on the substitutes bench.

Terry was unsuccessful in an appeal over his red card in last weekend’s FA Cup victory over Peterborough and his place could be taken by Ake, who scored three times for the Cherries during an impressive first half of the season.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Conte was full of praise for Ake but hinted he may have to wait for his opportunity to shine.

“I’m very pleased for him to stay with us,” the Italian said. “In this one-year-and-a-half he has improved a lot. This shows that it’s important for a young player born in the Academy to go and play on loan, and then, when they are ready, come back and play with us.

“Ake is a really good example. He is a good player, very young but with a good personality. He can play as a central defender, in the middle or on the left, he could play as a wing-back. It’s important now to work with us.

“He’s trained with us only a few days. It’s important for him to have a bit of time to go into our idea of football and adapt, and then be under consideration.”

If Ake is not considered, the Blues could call upon Branislav Ivanovic or stick to the tried and trusted formula which has been so fruitful in recent times.

Gary Cahill, Cesar Azplicieuta and David Luiz have formed a promising back three in the last two months, with Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso operating as wing-backs.

Captain Terry, 36, will serve a one-match ban at the King Power Stadium after being dismissed by referee Kevin Friend in the 4-1 win over League One Peterborough last Sunday at Stamford Bridge – on only his eighth appearance of the season – for a professional foul on Lee Angol.

Chelsea head into Saturday’s evening kick-off against the Foxes looking to return to form after their 13-match winning run was brought to an end by London rivals Tottenham last week.

Premier League: Crystal Palace complete signing of Leicester winger

Jeffrey Schlupp has become Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce’s first signing of the January transfer window.

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Competition: Schlupp had also reportedly interested fellow Midlands clubs West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa (Picture from Sky Sports)

Crystal Palace have completed the signing of versatile Leicester City winger Jeffrey Schlupp.

Sources close to Sky Sports understand the 24-year-old has put pen to paper on a four-and-a-half-year deal after the clubs agreed a £12 million fee on Thursday.

The Ghanaian international had asked to leave the King Power Stadium after finding first-team opportunities hard to come by with the Premier League champions this season.

A £9 million offer had been rejected earlier in the week but Schlupp has now become Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce’s first signing of the January transfer window.

Speaking before Leicester’s game against Chelsea on Saturday, Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri said about Schlupp: “Of course, he is not happy.

“He is a fantastic man, a fantastic player, and I said if he wants to go, he can go.”

The move comes after Palace reportedly had a bid rejected for Sunderland full-back Patrick van Aanholt and were interested in the services of former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, who is now at Juventus.

Schlupp is a product of Leicester’s academy after signing as a 13-year-old in 2005 and made his Foxes debut in March 2011, scoring a hat-trick.

He scored 15 goals in 149 appearances and helped them to win the Championship and Premier League titles during his time with the Midlands club but had only made one league start this season.

Schlupp could make his Palace debut in Saturday’s London derby against West Ham at the London Stadium.

Here is what football fans have had to say about Schlupp’s move on social media…