Mike Dean at Chelsea was one thing, but now Arsenal fans will have to cope with Anthony Taylor taking charge of the Premier League game against Manchester United on Sunday.
The referee, from Greater Manchester, has never awarded a penalty or a straight red card in a game involving the Red Devils. They have seen the opposition receive one red card (for two bookable offences) in nine games Taylor has been in charge of.
The best part? Manchester United have won seven of those and haven’t lost once. Obviously this shouldn’t come as a surprise, with United winning more often than not, but the record is a peculiar one and doesn’t tally with his record with Arsenal.
Gunners fans will remember him best from the opening day of the 2013/14 season, which saw Laurent Koscielny ridiculously sent off and two penalties awarded to Aston Villa while horrible challenges on Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went unpunished.
Where Taylor has handed out fewer than two cards per Manchester United game, he has been card happy when in the middle for Arsenal games. 13 fixtures have seen three reds and 21 yellows for Arsenal alone, with the opposition receiving 27 yellow cards and two reds.
Last season the Gunners won games against Liverpool (who scored thanks to a penalty) and Aston Villa with Taylor as the referee, but he was also appointed for a 1-1 draw at Leicester, a 0-0 draw which saw Sunderland receive one booking or kicking us all over the park, and the debacle at Stoke when Charlie Adam throttled Alexis Sánchez and wasn’t punished. Oddly, Calum Chambers was sent off for two soft fouls in that game.
Anthony Taylor is not averse to a penalty (he – rightly – gave another at the weekend as Crystal Palace beat Watford) and absolutely loves handing out a second yellow card.
On a more positive note, Arsenal most recently saw him in the 1-0 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield back in May! Then again, Ramires got away with more than one horrible tackle and Chelsea aren’t, unlike Taylor and United, from Manchester.
This might not be very much fun.