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June 2021

Arsenal v Chelsea Cup Final 27 May 2017 – The Match Officials. Expect rough stuff and false penalties.

by Andrew Crawshaw

I posted after our Semi-final win that I believed Anthony Taylor was the strong favourite to be given the FA Cup Final this year and so it turned out.  I claim no special skill to make that prediction – referees are only ever given one FA Cup Final and of those who hadn’t already had that honour, he was the referee who had been trusted by the PGMO to undertake the most matches in this season’s Premier League.

The Full list of officials is:-

  • Referee – Anthony Taylor 38 years old from Cheshire
  • Assistant Referee 1 – Gary Beswick from Durham
  • Assistant Referee 2 – Marc Perry from Birmingham
  • Fourth Official – Robert Madley from the West Riding of Yorkshire
  • Reserve Assistant Referee – Adam Nunn from Wiltshire

Anthony Taylor is one of a trio of referees who have been in charge of 30 Premier League matches this season (the others are Robert Madley and Mike Dean), the only referee who has done more has been Michael Oliver.  Mr Taylor has been in charge of four Chelsea games but, surprisingly, only one for Arsenal.

Mr Taylor was fourth Official at the 2013 Final and now gets his only chance to be the ‘main man’.  The Chairman of the FA Referees Committee, David Elleray, said

“Anthony’s appointment is richly deserved.…. he has refereed both of the other FA major finals – the FA Vase and FA Trophy…..his wealth of knowledge of the game and his ability to manage players effectively means that he is one of the country’s most respected officials….. he will be working with a team who are at the height of their abilities and the whole team will be fully aware of the enormous responsibility taking charge of the FA Cup Final involves….. The Committee were unanimous in their selection of Anthony, Gary, Marc, Robert and Adam and have full confidence that they will contribute to what we all hope will be a marvellous match.”

Fine words and we all hope that the match officials will be diligent in their endeavours and even handed in their decisions but how likely is that?

I will look first at our analysis of the first 160 games of the season during which Mr Taylor was in charge for 14 games

Wk Match Wrong Important Decisions Comments
1 Chelsea v West Ham

(2 – 1)

Costa should have had two yellow cards for dissent Min 11 & 18, Min 18 Chelsea should have had penalty, Min 66 Costa should have had red card, Min 72 Chelsea should have had penalty and Min 83 Kante should have had second yellow card. We said he was the worst ref of the week although the result was probably not affected
2 United v Southampton

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(2 – 0)

Wrong penalty and goal against Southampton (Shaw dive). Result probably valid but score wasn’t
3 Stoke v Spurs

(0 – 4)

Wanyama should have been sent off in Min 50 with the score at 0 – 1 With a man down would Spurs have managed to score another three goals or would Stoke have been able to score the equalising goal.  Distinctly iffy result
4 Leicester v Burnley

(3 – 0)

No wrong decisions Good game
5 Sunderland v Palace

(2 – 3)

Min 60 Sunderland goal shouldn’t have counted as Defoe was offside Result valid
6 Hull v Chelsea

(0 – 2)

Chelsea should have had two penalties Min 26 and Min 77 Result valid
7 Liverpool v United

(0 – 0)

Hererra (United) should have had a second yellow card in Min57, Liverpool not awarded a penalty in Min 62, Ibramovic (United)should have had a red card in Min 90 With a not given penalty and United ending the game with 9 men this should have been a win for Liverpool.  Poor refereeing which decided the outcome of the game
10 Everton v West Ham

(2 – 0)

Min 12 west Ham should have had penalty, Lukaku (Everton)  should have been dismissed for use of the elbow in the 14th minute and Gueye (Everton) also dismissed for a last man foul in the 31st minute With a penalty in Min 12 and Playing against 9 men for the majority of the game it should have been a comfortable win for West Ham.  Another poor refereeing performance that wrongly decised the  outcome of the match
11 Burnley v Palace

(3 – 2)

Min 60 Wickham (Palace) was in an offside position when he scored a ‘goal Valid result as his error favoured the losing team
13 Liverpool v Sunderland

(2 – 0)

No wrong decisions good game
14 City v Chelsea

(1 – 3)

Min 13 Fernandinho (City) should have had second yellow card, Min 30 no red card against Luiz (Chelsea) last man foul, Min 90+8 Fabregas should have had red card for slap on Fernandinho The result was probably valid but it was a poor performance from the ref
15 Watford v Everton

(3 – 2)

Everton should have been awarded a penalty in the 90th minute Should have been a draw, wrong decision decided the outcome of the game
16 Stoke v Southampton

(0 – 0)

Min 37 Long (Southampton) should have had a red card for elbow on Indi, Min 49 Southampton should have had penalty (Adam handball We deemed both of these to be worth a goal so probably a Valid result

I would argue that these 14 performances are far from outstanding and argue strongly that in three of them his decisions definitely determined the outcome of the game to be contrary to how the match should have finished.

In total in the 14 games he made 5 wrong calls regarding second yellow cards, 8 regarding straight red cards, 10 wrong penalties and 3 wrong goals – 26 in all.  The all referee figures were 322 wrong decisions in 160 games so Mr Taylor was fractionally better than average.

I will now look at the one Arsenal game from this year – this was 17 April Middlesbrough v Arsenal (1 – 2) and Walter hasn’t yet done the full minute by minute review of the game – nevertheless here is his post match review.

Middlesbrough – Arsenal : 1-2 – Our first game with a back three, ‘Boro not getting yellow cards when they should and probably escaping a red card.

Looking back over the past two years We have :-

Last Season 2015-16

Matchweek 8 Arsenal v Man United (3 – 0)

Ref Review : Arsenal – Man Utd, more of the same

59% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 97/3 and 5 wrong Important Decisions.

  • Min 4 Schweisnteiger held and threw Gabriel to the ground in the United penalty area following an Arsenal corner no penalty awarded,
  • Min 45+2 and 45+3 Schweinsteiger should have had a second yellow card, and
  • Min 73 and again in
  • Min 90 Fellaini should have had second yellow cards for persistent fouling.

These decisions didn’t alter the result of the game bur Mr Taylor certainly did all he could to keep United in the game.

Matchweek 20 Arsenal v Newcastle (1 – 0)

Ref Review : Arsenal – Newcastle

If he was bad in the United game this one was a real stinker.  48% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 91/9.  Surprisingly only one wrong Important decisions when in Min 53 Colback dived and won a free kick, it should have been a second yellow card.

Matchweek 32 – Arsenal v Watford (4 – 0)

Ref Review : Arsenal – Watford, a game of two halves…

This was the nearest he got to an acceptable performance.  66% overall weighted score bias against the two teams of 45/55 and one wrong Important Decision when in Min 17 he failed to give a penalty to Arsenal following a push on Wellbeck by Prodl.  Again the result was correct

Matchweek 37 Man City v Arsenal (2 – 2)

Ref Review: Man City – Arsenal: A tale of Jekyll and Hyde

63% overall weighted score, bias against the two teams of 16/84 and 5 wrong Important decisions.

  • Min 50 Mangala fouled Wilshere in the city penalty area – no penalty and no fewer than 5 not issued yellow cards for Fernandinho (four of which should have been second cards)
  • Min 50 foul on Sanchez,
  • Min 68 foul on Wilshere,
  • Min 86 Sanchez again, Min 90+2 Giroud – this was his first yellow of the game and finally Min 80+3 on Giroud again.  This time the non awarded penalty and Fernandinho remaining on the pitch did cost us 2 points.

Going further back to 2014-15 we only had him once

Week 15 Stoke v Arsenal 3 – 2

Untold ref Review: Stoke – Arsenal, the Anthony Taylor horror show. “Shockingly bad”.

59% Overall weighting, bias against the two teams of 0/100 and five wrong Important Decisions.

  • In Min 14 Crouch should have had a yellow card, he should have had a second in Min 28 for a forearm to Mertesacker,
  • Min 56 he should have had a third yellow card for another elbow which actually earned him a first booking,
  • Min 60 Chambers was wrongly given a yellow card and in
  • Min 77 he was wrongly given a second yellow card.  Finally

Min 83 Adams executed a perfect wrestling sleeper hold on Alexis for which he only got a yellow card instead of a red.  A disgraceful performance and one where Mr Taylor ensured that all of the points went to Stoke.


  1. There is absolutely nothing in these performances for us to have any confidence that Mr Taylor is capable of delivering an evenhanded and unbiased performance on Saturday afternoon
  2. Mr Taylor exhibits a particular blindness in seeing/dealing with sending off incidents whether straight red cards or two yellows.  How the FA Referees Committee square that with an ‘ability to manage players’ is beyond me.  I guess they just operate to different rules.
  3. Expect Chelsea to kick the crap out of our players without the referee doing anything at all to stop it.  Our players will pick up cards for the most minor of offences.
  4. If any penalties are awarded they will almost certainly be against Arsenal.  There have been 10 against us this season so far, I wouldn’t be at all surprised for another.
  5. The majority of the wrong decisions will be to Chelsea’s advantage, probably by a factor of four to one or higher


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10 comments to Arsenal v Chelsea Cup Final 27 May 2017 – The Match Officials. Expect rough stuff and false penalties.

  • Stan

    Wow. Those tinted spectacles are particularly rosy.

    Lets for the sake of argument assume every fact above is correct, your summary doesn’t stand up.

    1. No evidence of bias, just incompetence at about the average level
    2. Fine
    3. Chelsea have given away fewer fouls than Arsenal this season, have 5 more yellows but no (ie 3 fewer)reds. No evidence of crap kicking.
    4. Paranoid or what? Stop fouling in the penalty area. Arsenal have received 50% more penalties an Chelsea this season.
    5. Now you are just being silly.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    @Stan, No 5. No abuse please!
    Ramsey has appeared to have taken a dig at Hazard when replying to the dig Moses made that Chelsea are not afraid of the danger which Sanchez will pose to the Chelsea team in this FA Cup final match coming up at Wembley tomorrow Saturday. Moses was quoted to have said, Chelsea are not afraid of Sanchez.
    And He Ramsey in his own dig too was quoted to have said, the Gunners will block any audacious run tomorrow by Hazard into the Gunners area or box by closing him down before he can do any damage to Arsenal like he did in the last PL game to Arsenal at the Bridge this last season.

    If I was Ramsey, I would have kept quiet and not give anything away in Arsenal game plan. But all the same, Hazard haven known what the Gunners are likely to do to him in this Cup final will of course still try one of those his trademark runs into the Arsenal area or box to test the Gunners resolve to foil him. And if he fails, he will shift responsibility of the run to William and Pedro to try and have a go at it. Batshuayi is a potential danger in running into the Arsenal area or box to collect a pass and size up Cech or make a dangerous pass. He MUST be blocked While Moses and Alonso will run from the wing into the Arsenal area or box to make a dangerous pass or cross the ball high for a header or even make attempts to score by themselves. They must all be stopped by the Gunners from source. And should any of them escaped from the source of blocking by Coquelin and Xhaka, the Gunners defense-line must block them efficiently. And Costa with all his thuggery power will try to score running behind the Arsenal back-line to shoot a shot or try to head in after been put on by Fabrigas whose short and long slide rule accurate and dangerous passing MUST be nullified by the Gunners defences from source.

    Finally, Cech MUST focus totally on his game for Arsenal in this Cup final in which the Gunners are poised and determined to deny the Blues the double. There shouldn’t be any momentary loss of concentration exhibited in the game by Cech in particular and any Gunners in general to gift any goal to Chelsea like it happened at the Bridge at one occasion in this last season. All Gunners MUST fully focus on their game on the field of play for 90′ + of this Cup final match.

    Final scores: Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea.

  • Vince

    Funny, people that don’t see anything wrong about the fact that, despite the lack of physical impact from Arsenal players they moan about on a regular basis, they are more often penalized by fouls than Chelsea players.

    That don’t see anything wrong when 3 or the dirtiest teams of the PL (Chelsea, United and Tottenham) had fewer red cards combined than Arsenal, one of the softest. Even Stoke conceded less red cards…

    That don’t see anything wrong when Arsenal conceded 5 times (and not 50%) more penalties than Chelsea. And don’t tell me the reason is the lack of quality from Arsenal defenders when, penalties excluded, they only conceded 3 more goals than Chelsea this season…
    Actually, while Arsenal has the 4th best defensive record penalties excluded, they are 19th in penalties conceded (only Hull is behind)

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    In addition to my lengthy last comment posting, I believe the Gunners are already aware of the technical quality danger Garry Cahill will pose to them in their box whenever he comes there to head the ball from corner kicks or free kicks and deal approximately with his attempts to score by voiding his attempts. And Azipilicueta in the Chelsea midfielder alongside Cante MUST totaly be defused in their midfield battles to feed their forwards or their wingbacks to stop them from wrecking any havoc to Cech manning Arsenal goal.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I could not post my last comment on the zuruvi’s article posting before it threaded out. Nevertheless, I still want to post that my comment which I’ve saved as I ran out of mobile data to post it.

    I believe if Le Prof stays on as the Gunners boss next season, he has some fine tuning in some positions in his current first team squad to do if Arsenal are to mount a credible challenge successfully for the Gooners most sort after PL title win next season in my layman opinion.

    First and foremost, in my own view, 2 top quality centrebacks MUST be sort after and found either from the standing current Arsenal U23 or U21 teams if any are found there or from the transfer market to serve as upgrades to the slow Mertesacker and the medium quality CB Paulista.

    In the left back position, I think the deficiency that is there is being addressed with the reported signing of Kolasniac.

    The replacements for the perennial injury crisis Cazorla and the lackluster Elneny MUST be sorted out in the summer to revamp the Gunners deep lying position adequately next season. I think Le Prof has to find 2 top quality midfielders internally or externally to replace these two in the summer.

    And two forwards inclusion to Giroud, Walcott, Sanchez and the play maker Ozil, one of whom should be Eddy Nkethiah in my opinion and of course that clinical top quality striker of 30-40 PL goalscorer per season who ticket all the boxes MUST be signed in the summer if gotten to vastly improved on the just concluded last season Gunners medium goalscoring tally in all completions. And of course, Le Prof should do all within his powers at Arsenal to keep Sanchez and Ozil beyond the expiration of their current deals at Arsenal.

  • Menace

    The 2002 cup final was officiated by the big cheat Riley & boy did he try to turn us over then. Thing that fucked him was that we were so good he couldn’t do us over. Henry went & had words with him at half time — cant get blood out of stone.

    It was quite an amazing number of selective blindness efforts that Riley had that couldn’t beat the Arsenal.

  • para

    So Arsenal has to be as good as in 2002 final and sail through the attempts by ref to disrupt them.

    Be focused, play to the whistle, close down more than tackle and dont relax til end game.

  • finsbury


    I’m not sure what kind of lily livered coward would defend an official pgMOB representative who was too much of a coward to show a second yellow to a Everton player last week when they were away yetcouldn’t wait it show one to an AFC player (Coquelin last season) in similar circumstances. Clearly they are not supporting the Arsenal. Or the football team that can’t beat Iceland. Or Costa Rica. But something else.

    They are in fact a “disgrace to their federation” & also their code (of football).

    Nevermind the Football eh?

  • Menace

    finsbury – leave Vince alone. He knows football. We Untolders are just imaginative biased dreamers & the PGMOL are saints. In fact they will all be cannonised if they come before the Arsenal cannon. Their balls will be lost in space.

  • Nick the Gooner

    Did we Saturday get the best ref decisions
    Loads of moaning about our first Goal – Maybe fortunate – could easily have been called handball and offside so two things in our favour
    They nearly equalize when Costa reaches over holdings shoulder and pulls him back – Defender does that to an attacker and its red
    Please look closely at the Chelsea goal – Ozil so obviously fouled by Luis on the wing before the ball is crossed in
    So lucky Chelsea to get that goal
    Fortunately our class was too good to let anything ruin OUR day