An official is only supposed to oversee an FA Cup final once in a career but Saturday was Anthony Taylor’s second.
The FA bent their rules because they didn’t want a referee to have his big moment ruined by his family not being there due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
You might think that sounds ridiculous and I’m not a fan of this rule either. For me, the best referee should be awarded the final, regardless of whether he’s already overseen one.
Taylor is highly rated by UEFA and one of the Premier League’s leading referees. His first final was in 2017 when he angered Chelsea fans by letting Arsenal’s opener stand. He also sent off Victor Moses.
On Saturday, those same supporters were left feeling hard done by again. In the case of Mateo Kovacic’s second yellow card, Chelsea were wronged.
But the penalty given against them was 100 per cent correct, and Taylor also decided against sending Cesar Azpilicueta off for his foul on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Azpilicueta’s contact with Aubameyang started outside the box but he still had a hand on the striker’s shoulder as he went down inside.
Taylor only issued a yellow. He considered Aubameyang was not in complete control of the ball and Chelsea had another defender coming across.
The second yellow shown to Kovacic was poor, however. It was a 50-50 battle for the ball and Granit Xhaka reacted theatrically.
Unfortunately, VAR could not correct Taylor because they cannot dispute second yellows — only straight reds. Maybe this showed that VAR should have the power to study second yellows because this clearly had a game-changing impact.