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Burnley’s home game against Middlesbrough on Boxing Day will be refereed by Craig Pawson and I don’t think many Burnley fans will need reminding that this will be his second Burnley game this season having taken charge of our home game against Arsenal.

It was his first visit to the Turf since the 1-1 draw against Blackburn in September 2013 and will be remembered for Arsenal’s stoppage time winner that might have been offside (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did admit later he got a touch) and was certainly a handball by scorer Laurent Koscielny. Sean Dyche was certainly not happy with it and even Arsène Wenger admitted his team were fortunate.

We shouldn’t have been surprised given this referee’s record in Burnley games although we thought the poor games had been in the best. They were his first three Burnley games. Against Barnet in the League Cup he turned things our way with a penalty award that was clearly outside the box, he then sent off two Brighton players in the opening minutes against us, including Ashley Barnes, and then allowed a goal against Millwall, got the ball back to the centre spot and then went over and told his assistant to raise an offside flag.

More recently, although the finger has to point to the assistant, Michael Keane’s goal at Brighton was not given when the official couldn’t see the ball had gone way over the line.

So, controversial decisions have never been far away when he’s refereed us and that has continued right until the final seconds of the last time he refereed a Burnley game.

I’d like to say things have progressed quietly for the 37-year-old Sheffield based referee but he had an absolute nightmare at Stoke last week which followed a poor game at Crystal Palace where he failed to send off Manchester United’s Marcos Rojo for a two footed challenge on Wilfried Zaha.

At Stoke he did send off Leicester’s Jamie Vardy. Leicester failed in their appeal against the decision and have very strongly expressed their disappointment that it wasn’t overturned. There were also a total of eight yellow cards in that game, four of them coming in a four minute spell just before half time and all four to Leicester players.

What I did find amusing this week was former referee Howard Webb calling for him to be removed as referee for the New Year’s Eve game between Liverpool and Manchester City. Webb showed no interest in our game against Middlesbrough; no call whatsoever for him to be withdrawn from our game.

There were eight yellow cards to add to Vardy’s red last week at Stoke and that’s taken his total number of cards this season domestically to 56 yellows and two reds, and that includes our game against Arsenal being a card free game.

Four of those yellows were in the Community Shield at Wembley. Of the others, 21 have gone to home team players and 31 to away team players.

It’s anyone’s guess what sort of performance we’ll get from him, but given his last two games at Palace and Stoke he will be under some scrutiny.

The assistant referees are Ian Hussin (Merseyside) and Andy Halliday (North Yorkshire). The fourth official is Football League referee Darren Bond (Lancashire) who is still to referee at Burnley game.

Previous Burnley Games – Craig Pawson

SeasonOpponentsVResYRBurnley Players Carded
2011/12Burtonh6-340Y: Grant, Elliott
2011/12Brightona1-032Y: Edgar, Paterson
2012/13Millwallh2-280Y: Marney, Mee, Wallace, Vokes
2013/14Blackburnh1-141Y: Marney, Duff, Mee
2014/15Swanseaa0-130Y: Duff
2014/15Arsenala0-310Y: Boyd
2014/15Tottenhama2-430Y: Keane, Arfield
2015/16Brightona2-210
2016/17Arsenalh0-100
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