Premier League referees have been ranked from best to worst ahead of 2020/21 season

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The standard of refereeing in the Premier League has been a hot topic in recent years.

The arrival of VAR lessened the focus on the man in the middle last season but there were still plenty of moments where the referee was the centre of attention.

Premier League official Anthony Taylor was trending on Twitter after his performance in the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Arsenal.

Taylor became public enemy No.1 among Chelsea fans after he awarded Arsenal a penalty and sent Mateo Kovacic off.

Mark Clattenburg even admitted afterwards that Taylor shouldn’t have officiated the final.

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Yet Taylor is still considered ‘very good’ in former referee Mark Halsey’s grading of Premier League officials - which might say a lot about the overall standard of referees.

Halsey has ranked the 16 officials from ‘top class’ to ‘average’ in an article for The Sun.

He also included an honest opinion of all 16 refs.

Top class

1. Martin Atkinson - “The 49-year-old is like a bottle of vintage red wine - he gets better with age. He's No.1 Prem ref just ahead of Michael Oliver after consistent performances.”

2. Michael Oliver - “Still one of our top refs but by his own high standards I’m sure he will be disappointed with some aspects of his performance including the Villa Park goalline tech controversy.”

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3. Mike Dean - “Love him or hate him but he's another consistent performer that the PGMOL management trust to deliver in the high-profile games. Never afraid to make the big decisions.”

4. Graham Scott - “The PGMOL wanted Scott removed from the Select Group One two years ago on performances but he won his appeal and he's never looked back. His man-management of games is up there with the best.”

Very good

5. Anthony Taylor - “Given the most number of Prem games alongside Atkinson and Oliver. Had some very good displays but hasn't officiated to his full potential given his status.”

6. Chris Kavanagh - “Third season in the Prem and he's raised his game to another level. He goes about his business quietly and efficiently.”

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7. Paul Tierney - “Steady campaign, has a calming influence on the players, always ensures he gives himself thinking time and doesn't go looking for trouble.”

Good

8. Stuart Attwell - “Worked hard at his game since he returned to the Premier League in 2014 after he was deselected for two years and has made good progress ever since.”

9. David Coote - “Second full season at the highest level, he's done well again. Unfussy in his performances, accuracy in decision-making is good and is heading in the right direction.”

10. Andy Madley - “Potential to become a very good referee after a decent debut in the Prem. He's calm, doesn't flash yellow cards around and manages the game well. Hopefully he is tested with higher-profile games next season.”

11. Peter Bankes - “Impressive first season in the top-flight, he referees with a smile on his face which players like and as the campaign wore on he grew in confidence at this level.”

Average

12. Craig Pawson - “Had high hopes for the Yorkshire referee but mixed decision-making from the Uefa official has seen his performance level go backwards.”

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13. Jonathan Moss - “Inconsistent season due to the accuracy of his decision-making and on top of that he always seems to be involved in VAR controversy.”

14. Kevin Friend - “Over-officious and too aggressive in his body language towards the players and that sets the wrong tone for the game.”

15. Lee Mason - “Appointed to Select Group One in 2006 but the fact he's been given only 16 games highlights a lack of confidence from the management in him.”

16. Simon Hooper - “Every referee finds his level, Hooper is a nice guy but, unfortunately, I believe the Prem is one step too far for him.”

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