Former Liverpool manager and pundit Graeme Souness praised Anthony Taylor’s refereeing display in Chelsea ‘s draw with Tottenham on Sunday. The official was a key talking point following a game that saw tempers flare on more than one occasion.
An equaliser for Spurs came in controversial fashion for the first flash point in the game as Rodrigo Bentancur appeared to take out Kai Havertz to win back the ball, though the game was waved on. Question marks came over the strike from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg too, with Richarlison standing in an offside position and potentially obstructing the view of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
The first off-the-ball incident occurred when Antonio Conte celebrated in front of Thomas Tuchel, leading to a sideline bust-up and a yellow card for both managers. Heading into injury time, defender Cristian Romero grabbed Marc Cucurella by his hair and pulled him to ground.
Neither the referee or VAR gave anything for the incident, with the following corner kick seeing the away side draw level for the second time. After the final whistle, yet another clash between the two managers was seen, resulting in Taylor sending both off. On the refereeing performance, Tuchel had some harsh words in his post-match press conference:
“I don’t think just some of the fans think that [Anthony Taylor has made some poor decisions against Chelsea]. I can assure you the whole dressing room of us, every single person, thinks that. “I can’t understand how the first goal is not offside and I can’t understand when a player is pulled by their hair, the other player stays on the pitch. Pull someone else’s hair, stay on the pitch and attack the last corner.
“This is for me without any explanation and I don’t want to accept it. Both goals should not stand and it’s a fair result because we were brilliant, deserved to win. This is my point of view.”
Despite his grievances, Souness believes that on the whole, the referee had a good performance, telling Sky Sports:
“Referees are letting a lot more go and it makes for a better watch. We’ve all played the game, stimulation and people throwing themselves into the ground, I haven’t seen that in the two games today. It’s a mans game all of a sudden now. The referee had a fabulous game. I thoroughly enjoyed both games today.”
Where he did disagree with the officials, however, was for the hair pull on Cucurella. The pundit believes that the goal shouldn’t have stood after the foul in the box.
“This is the only thing the ref got wrong for me,” Souness said. “How is that not a foul? How can you not see it? He has to see the hair being pulled. That goal shouldn’t stand, really.”