Chelsea versus Manchester City referee Anthony Taylor was ‘STITCHED UP’ by his VAR, says former refs chief Keith Hackett – as he gives his verdict on Erling Haaland’s penalty shout

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  • Erling Haaland opened the scoring for City after the contentious penalty award 
  • Taylor was not advised to review the incident after initially pointing to the spot
  • Why we should get excited about Cole Palmer – Listen here to It’s All Coming Up

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Former referee Keith Hackett reckons Anthony Taylor should have been given more support by VAR during Chelsea thrilling 4-4 draw with Manchester City. 

Taylor took charge of the marquee game of the Premier League weekend following his demotion to the Championship the previous week and had his work cut out in a pulsating encounter. 

Both sides were recipients of contentions penalties with Erling Haaland and Cole Palmer converting from 12 yards at Stamford Bridge. 

But it was the Norwegian’s effort, which came after a coming together with Marc Cucurella, that attracted most scrutiny. 

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And according to Hackett, may not have been awarded if VAR had advised Taylor to take another look at the incident for himself. 

Manchester City were awarded a first-half penalty after Marc Cucurella (right) was deemed to have fouled Erling Haaland (middle)

Manchester City were awarded a first-half penalty after Marc Cucurella (right) was deemed to have fouled Erling Haaland (middle) 

Cucurella was shown a yellow card by referee Anthony Taylor, who initially gave the spot-kick

Cucurella was shown a yellow card by referee Anthony Taylor, who initially gave the spot-kick

Keith Hackett (pictured) believes Taylor should have been instructed to review the incident

Keith Hackett (pictured) believes Taylor should have been instructed to review the incident

‘We are fortunate to see multiple angles of the offence, where Erling Haaland initiated the first contact on Marc Cucurella.’ Hackett wrote in The Telegraph. ‘Taylor, one of the best referees in the country, was decisive in pointing to the spot without hesitation but I think he needed another look.

‘This is where I have a problem with the VAR. We don’t know what Taylor saw from his viewing angle – presumably he wasn’t in a position to see Haaland’s contact, but he did catch Cucurella’s foul. 

‘The VAR absolutely should have told Taylor that he needed a second look at what happened. Had he gone over to the pitchside monitor, I believe he would not have given the penalty and instead penalised Haaland for a foul. 

‘It feels to me Taylor has been stitched up by VAR here.’

The former referee’s words were echoed by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher, who believed the award was ‘harsh’ on the hosts. 

‘This is not the right decision because VAR wasn’t looking at the start of the tussle,’ he said. ‘[Haaland’s] got hold of [Cucurella’s] shirt which allows him to get in front and then he goes down.

‘It’s very harsh on Chelsea, VAR have only looked at the end of tussle. I think it’s harsh, I really do.’

Cucurella and Haaland had been grappling with each other in the build-up to the foul before the City star eventually ended up on the ground.

The Chelsea full-back was shown a yellow card for his foul along with the spot-kick being awarded to the visitors.

VAR looked at the decision and also analysed whether Reece James had been fouled in the box in the build-up but decided no further action needed to be taken.

Jamie Carragher believed the penalty call was wrong as City took an early lead in the game

Jamie Carragher believed the penalty call was wrong as City took an early lead in the game

Chelsea responded quickly and equalised via a Thiago Silva header four minutes later before taking the lead through Raheem Sterling. 

Pep Guardiola’s side got on level terms in first-half stoppage time and then got their noses in front when Haaland bundled the ball into the Chelsea net for his second of the game. 

But Mauricio Pochettino’s resurgent side responded with Nicolas Jackson’s fourth goal in two games and were forced to again after Rodri has restored the visitors lead for a third time with four minutes of regular time to play. 

Taylor pointed to the spot for the second time when Ruben Dias slid in on Armando Broja, allowing former City youngster Palmer to grab a deserved point for the Blues. 

IT’S ALL KICKING OFF! 

It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

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