Anthony Taylor.

When I wrote my review of Michael Oliver following Arsenal’s FA Cup game against Brighton I noted how we’d been quite fortunate in that, for two weeks in a row, we’d experienced what could only be described as ‘decent refereeing’.

I then postulated that our reward would probably be to get Anthony Taylor for the Aston Villa game.

I was only trying to be funny.

I didn’t think we’d actually get him.

For those who can’t quite place his stupid bald head, Taylor was the referee in charge when Aston Villa arrived on the opening day of last season.

On the day he had, quite frankly, one of the worst refereeing displays I have ever seen.

Clearly it makes sense for the PGMOL to give him the same game.

Anthony Taylor books Tomas Rosicky
(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

I know it’s natural to make excuses when a side lose, and blaming the referee is an easy out, one I take myself many times.

But Taylor’s display that day was horrendous.

Having watched him referee a number of games since his horror show at the Emirates which involved handing out penalties just for giggles and sending off Laurent Kocielny, I came to realise that he isn’t biased – he’s just an absolutely terrible referee.

Beyond terrible.

If there is a big decision to get wrong then that’s what Taylor will do and, with the likes of Mike Dean and Lee Mason also refereeing in this league, it’s quite something to take the title of ‘worst referee in the Premier League’ but that’s what Taylor is.

By some distance.

A Premier League referee since 2010, Taylor is even FIFA listed which is astounding as he doesn’t seem to have even a basic grasp on the game he is supposed to be in charge of.

When you read his Wikipedia page they even have a paragraph that starts ‘Taylor’s first experience of public criticism…’

Even Wiki knows he’s awful.

Taylor loves a red card. He once sent off three players in a Leeds game for second yellows despite the fact that ‘there wasn’t a dirty challenge [in the game]‘ according to Simon Grayson who was Leeds manager at the time.

The list of managers (and players) who have spoken out about Taylor is impressive. Just Google his name if you don’t believe me.

In addition to his calamitous performance last season at the Emirates he also refused to give Arsenal a penalty when Andrei Arshavin was fouled by Titus Bramble when Sunderland came to the Emirates in 2011 prompting Wenger to state after the game that he was ‘too disgusted’ to speak about it.

His Wikipedia page reads like a veritable ‘how shall I cock up next?’

This season Taylor has been given 21 matches to mess up and has issued 88 yellow cards and four reds.

He’s been in charge of two Arsenal games, neither of which the Gunners have won (1-1 away to Leicester and the Stoke debacle in which he thought Charlie Adam’s headlock on Alexis Sanchez was only a bookable offence – despite sending Calum Chambers off for two yellows).

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

He does love his two yellows.

It’s quite telling that after the Villa shambles last season, Taylor didn’t referee another Arsenal game in 13/14.

Of the three Arsenal games he has refereed in the past two seasons, he’s managed to send off two Arsenal players and book our goalkeeper, Wojceich Szczesny, twice. He’s also booked the Ox in two out of those three games and he loves to flash his cards at Wilshere too.

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Go back another season into 2012/13 and you find him sending off yet another Arsenal player (so that’s three Arsenal reds in the last four Arsenal games he’s been in charge of) as he sent Carl Jenkinson off at Sunderland for, yes, you guessed it, two yellows.

 (Photo by ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo by ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

In three seasons, Taylor has refereed six Arsenal games, sent off a total of four players (both sides) and issued 29 yellows, 15 of which went to Arsenal players.

As I said above, I don’t think Taylor is biased, just incompetent beyond belief.

It’s not just me that has a problem with him, I’m not sure you could find a fan who isn’t aware of just how awful a referee he is.

Can’t wait to see him in action again on Sunday.

Fun times await.

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