Reece James, a defender for Chelsea, criticized referee Anthony Taylor for his involvement in the tense 2-2 draw between the Blues and Tottenham Hotspur over the weekend.
Despite Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s second-half response, Thomas Tuchel’s team appeared to be headed for a significant victory thanks to goals from summer addition Kalidou Koulibaly and England star James, who gave them the lead going into the final minutes. Harry Kane’s late goal leveled the game, but Spurs snatched a point in the final seconds.
Apart from the goals, the game was tense both on and off the field, with several flashpoints, most notably between managers Tuchel and Antonio Conte, who were both sent off after the final whistle.
Both of the Spurs goals were also the subject of intense debate as the Blues believed that Richarlison was in the goalkeeper Edouard Mendy’s line of sight and that Kai Havertz had been fouled before to their equalizer. Prior to Kane’s late goal, Christian Romero was then charged with fouling Marc Cucurella; Taylor did not render a ruling in either case.
Reece James was enraged by the referee’s actions and believed that the official had cost his team the game. The Chelsea defender told Match of the Day 2: “I believe we should have won the game.
“There were two arguable goals for them. I think the referees and the fourth official need to look back on them. It’s frustrating for us when you deserve to win the game.
“I don’t know what they [the officials] were looking at, but we have to take the positives from the game. We were all over them throughout the game.
“I love scoring and I was in the right position. I just like helping the team as much as I can.”
Fans have also been upset, venting their rage through an online petition in addition to players and management. The petition to prohibit Taylor from judging Chelsea games in the future has received more than 75,000 signatures, and #AnthonyTaylorOut has been trending on Twitter pretty much since the final whistle at Stamford Bridge.
In spite of the criticism, Sky Sports analyst Graeme Souness has defended the referee. He stated, “Referees are letting a lot more go and it makes for a better watch,” after the game.
“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 man’s game all of a sudden now. The referee had a fabulous game. I thoroughly enjoyed both games today.”