Anthony Taylor, previously demoted to the Championship, is poised to make his Premier League return as the referee for the highly anticipated Sunday clash between Chelsea and Manchester City.
This relegation occurred following his controversial decision to award Newcastle a penalty in their recent 2-2 draw against Wolves. Taylor judged Hwang Hee-chan to have fouled Fabian Schar, but subsequent video replays revealed minimal contact.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the governing body for referees, openly acknowledged the error in Taylor’s call and emphasized that VAR should have intervened to correct the decision.
Notably, Jarred Gillett, the video assistant referee for that match, failed to advise Taylor to consult the pitchside monitor to review the incident.
Wolves’ manager, Gary O’Neil, expressed his disbelief at the decision, deeming it a “terrible on-field decision” and raising questions about the lack of intervention by VAR.
In another controversial turn of events, Taylor officiated Preston North End’s 3-2 victory over Coventry City the day before, marking his first return to second-tier refereeing since 2019. Once again, he found himself at the center of a penalty controversy when he judged Kyle McFadzean to have brought down Milutin Osmajic in the area, even though replays suggested minimal contact.
O’Neil reiterated his dissatisfaction with the officiating, stating, “I feel like I waste my time speaking [to the officials], so I will stop speaking to them. Until they improve the level of what they produce, I have no time for them.”
Matt Hobbs, Wolves’ sporting director, faced misconduct charges from the Football Association for his use of “improper and/or abusive and/or insulting” language directed at an official following the game.
As 10th-placed Chelsea prepares to host league leaders Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday at 16:30 GMT, all eyes will be on Anthony Taylor’s performance as he returns to the Premier League stage.