Gone are the days when referees could get away with being a little overweight.
Match officials need to keep themselves in peak physical conditions these days in order to keep up with play. If they fall below those standards, they’ll quickly find themselves out of a job.
The Premier League has some of the fittest match officials in European football, all of whom train as hard as most footballers during the week.
Anthony Taylor, the vastly-experienced 39-year-old ref, took charge of the standout Premier League fixture over the weekend.
Chelsea v Manchester United at Stamford Bridge had the potential to be a very tough match to officiate - but little was said about Taylor either during or after the match and that’s exactly how referees like it.
Taylor and Lingard had a sprint battle
When the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) assess Taylor’s performance, they’ll probably give him extra marks for what happened towards the end of the match.
Chelsea launched a lightning-quick counter-attack and Taylor sprinted down the pitch, outpacing Jesse Lingard in the process.
Lingard, 15 years Taylor’s junior at 24, had only just come on as a 78th-minute substitute, too.
He was fresh - but was still outsprinted by the man in the middle.
Video: Taylor v Lingard
Watch the footage here…
Pretty embarrassing for Lingard, to be honest.
Football fans on Twitter spotted it
Football fans on Twitter spotted it and reacted in style…
United beaten 1-0 at the Bridge
Despite Lingard’s late introduction, United still ended up losing the match 1-0.
Alvaro Morata’s 55th-minute header proved the difference between the two sides.
Chelsea subsequently stay fourth in the Premier League table but close the gap on second-place United to one point.
Jose Mourinho’s side, meanwhile, already find themselves eight points behind league-leaders Manchester City.
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