Chelsea v Man United referee Anthony Taylor and VAR Chris Kavanagh are both from Manchester


Anthony Taylor and Chris Kavanagh won’t be receiving any Christmas cards from Chelsea supporters this year.

Taylor was the referee and Kavanagh the Video Assistant Referee as Chelsea fell to a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

And they oversaw three important calls that all went United’s way.

In the first half, Harry Maguire escaped a red card for kicking Michy Batshuayi. The Man United captain said it was his “natural reaction” to straighten his leg but few were buying it.

And the Blues had two goals disallowed in the second half that cost them any chance of getting something from the game.

Kurt Zouma thought he had levelled the scores but VAR spotted a push by Cesar Azpilicueta in the build-up, although it appeared as though the Chelsea defender was actually pushed himself.


And in the 77th minute, Olivier Giroud’s goal was chalked off after replays showed he was offside.

‘VARchester United’ was trending on Twitter during the game and fans have since discovered that Taylor and Kavanagh both come from Manchester.

The PGMOL - who select referees for each Premier League match - are thorough in their appointment process and learn which club each official supports or has an allegiance to.

Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Premier League

So they will have been comfortable in putting Taylor and Kavanagh in charge of Monday evening’s match - but that hasn’t stopped fans from questioning why they oversaw an important Man United fixture.

Twitter user @wrighty108 wrote: "Doesn't help that both the on the field referee and VAR were born in Manchester surely that shouldn't be allowed given the dubious nature of the non sending off and the disallowed first goal surely questions have to be asked."

Another fan, @alanfrancis09, added: "Can someone please explain how you can have Anthony Taylor, born Wythenshaw, Manchester as referee and Chris Kavanagh, born Manchester on VAR officiating in a MANCHESTER UTD game?"

@ashsales22 weighed in: "The referee and VAR official were both from Manchester. Says it all."

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Former Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys was also confused by the appointment.

“Not for a minute am I questioning the integrity of the guys involved but - Antony Taylor is from Manchester (Altrincham fan) & so is Chris Kavanagh who had a shocker in VAR last night,” he wrote.

“Why do the PGMOL insist on making these appts? Is there nobody else? It’s asking for trouble.”


We trust referees to be honest and make decisions they believe to be the right ones, but still - Manchester-born referees in charge of a Manchester United game?

The PGMOL are just setting themselves up for disaster.

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