Chelsea fans took to social media to lay into referee Anthony Taylor after his brief check of VAR evidence before sending off Reece James and awarding a penalty in the first half of the draw at Liverpool on Saturday.
Such is the anger of Chelsea fans that two petitions calling for him to be banned from officiating Blues matches have garnered 40,000 signatures each.
Thomas Tuchel’s men were leading 1-0 just before the break at Anfield thanks to Kai Havertz’s header when Sadio Mane’s shot hit James – who was on the goalline – bouncing off his right thigh before making contact with his right arm as he then appeared to motion towards the ball with his arm to clear it away.
Anthony Taylor took just seconds before decided to punish Chelsea and send Reece James off
Having initially waved play on, Taylor was called over to the pitchside monitor before making his decision in a matter of seconds to leave the visiting players enraged long after Mo Salah had tucked home the resulting spot kick.
Sadio Mane’s shot bounced off James’ right thigh and onto his right arm before being cleared
Tuchel also questioned the speed of Taylor’s check in his post-match interview after what proved to be an impressive draw for the Londoners in the circumstances.
One of the petitions calling for Taylor to be stood down claims that he has been ‘constantly biased whenever he officiates a Chelsea match’ and alarmingly suggests that his removal from refereeing the team’s matches would be good for his own safety, while the other petition says that Chelsea fans’ mental health has been affected by Taylor’s performances.
While it is widely accepted that Taylor made the right decision to send James off and give a penalty, given that the ball hitting the hand prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity, that hasn’t stopped Chelsea supporters from venting their fury online.
Graham Clark tweeted: ‘The bloke shouldn’t even be doing Sunday league’, while Ananthan Thenaliparambil wrote: ‘Anthony Taylor has an agenda against @ChelseaFC. What a shameless referee!! He should never be allowed to referee a Chelsea game in his life.’
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