If there was such thing as a ‘preferred’ referee for Arsenal’s Premier League clash against Chelsea on Wednesday, Anthony Taylor would be it.
Despite Taylor’s colourful history with Arsene Wenger, the Gunners have only ever lost twice during the 21 games the 39-year-old has officiated. These were against West Ham and Stoke in August 2013 and December 2014.
Also, while we’ve picked up 34 yellow cards with Taylor refereeing and three reds as a result, he’s never actually given one of our players a straight red.
This season, the Manchester-born official has refereed 19 matches, 14 of which have been in the Premier League.
Three have been in the Champions League: Porto v Besiktas, Olympiacos v Barcelona, and Anderlecht v Bayern Munich. Therefore, he’s obviously considered one of the best officials in Europe at the moment.
Taylor’s already dished out 76 yellow cards this season but no reds. Therefore, while Chelsea probably won’t be allowed to kick us around the pitch, he’s unlikely to make any match-changing decisions. This could obviously go for or against Arsenal.
As mentioned, there is history between Wenger and Taylor.
In February 2017, Taylor, who was acting as fourth official, accused the boss of pushing him and telling him to “f*** off” twice after Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Burnley.
Wenger claimed Taylor was ‘dishonest’.
Wenger apologised and was fined £25,000. He also received a four-game touchline ban.
However, you’d expect both to put their differences side in the interest of being professional. Taylor has been in charge of four Arsenal games since.
Assistants: Adam Nunn, Lee Betts
Fourth official: Craig Pawson