MARK Clattenburg has been confirmed as the referee for this weekend’s Premier League derby between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford.
The 40-year-old will be in the middle as the two fierce rivals battle it out on Sunday for bragging rights and three vital points in the race for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
The County Durham whistler will be assisted by Simon Beck and Jake Collin while Jon Moss will be the fourth official.
Clattenburg has only overseen one previous Manchester derby but it was one of the most memorable in recent times – City’s famous 6-1 victory at Old Trafford in October 2011 in which he sent off United defender Jonny Evans.
The appointment means the Newcastle United supporter and trained electrician will have officiated City’s away league matches at Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United this season.
It will also be his second visit to Old Trafford in a month after his handling of United’s 3-0 win over Tottenham on March 15 while he has also taken control of United’s away games at West Ham and Leicester – sending off defenders Tyler Blackett and Luke Shaw in the process.
Mark Clattenburg has Sent off 3 ManUtd players in his last 5 games & has awarded 5 penalties against Utd in last 5 games he is been Ref
— #MUFC (@Utddddddddddddd) April 7, 2015
The Gosforth-based referee, who was reprimanded earlier this season for breaching protocol to attend an Ed Sheeran concert, also gave City skipper Vincent Kompany his marching orders while on international duty for Belgium in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Israel last week.
Clattenburg is widely regarded as the best of the 17 Select Group referees – who take charge of top-flight games – and is also highly respected by Uefa and Fifa, receiving regular Champions League and international fixtures.
The reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium in November was officiated by fellow Fifa referee and one of Clattenburg’s best friends Michael Oliver, who was also in the middle for City’s 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace on Easter Monday.
Looking forward to the Manchester derby solely because Mark Clattenburg will be in charge. #hilarious
— Louise (@louise_moira_21) April 7, 2015
The two sides will begin the game adjacent in the table with third-placed United – who have won their last five Premier League games under Louis van Gaal – above City for the first time in two years.
Although fourth-placed City have lost their last four away matches, Manuel Pellegrini’s team are unbeaten in six of the last seven league meetings with United and have won on their last three trips to Old Trafford including a 3-0 triumph 12 months ago.
Mark Clattenburg appointment highlights how drastically refereeing standards have plummeted this season. Best of a very bad bunch.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) April 7, 2015