Craig Pawson will take charge of Manchester United v Arsenal on Sunday, so what are Arsenal likely to get from the young referee?
At just 36, Pawson has been a member of the Select Group of Referees since 2013. If you aren’t too familiar with him, don’t blame yourself. This is only the second season that he’s been refereeing Arsenal games.
He’s a referee who likes to try and let the game flow, often allowing fouls to slide by unpunished in the process.
Not quite the destructive force that is Mike Dean or referees of his ilk, Pawson is simply inexperienced.
He has taken charge of two Arsenal games this season in the league – both also away fixtures – the 5-2 win at Leicester and the 0-0 at Stoke. Miraculously, he managed to keep his book in his pocket for the whole game at the Britannia.
In the Leicester game Pawson waved away what looked a clear penalty call when Aaron Ramsey seemed to be fouled in the box. The move that followed saw Jamie Vardy score for the Foxes, but that was my only note for him on that day so that’s pretty special for a referee in this league.
His game at Stoke was not, however, quite as good, refusing to book a number of players, one of whom probably should have seen red for two clear yellows.
He was also in charge of United’s 0-0 home draw with Newcastle, and their 1-1 at Leicester.
Pawson’s last game was Palace’s 1-0 win at Spurs in the Cup last weekend, a game that saw 31 fouls but just three yellows.
Overall this season, he has issued 85 yellows and three reds in 28 games. Two of those three reds have come in his last three games (Newcastle’s Lascelles against Everton for two yellows and Middlesbrough’s Gibson, again for two yellows, when they travelled to Leeds).
Incidentally, his other red, issued to Southampton’s Victor Wanyama was also for two yellows.
He has not issued a straight red this season.
In contrast, last season, six of the ten red cards he issued were straight.
Finally, Pawson has awarded only three penalties this season, and two of those were in the same game (Everton v Newcastle).