Man Utd’s Anthony Taylor complaint backed up by PGMOL

Man Utd's next six Premier League fixtures

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Manchester United’s complaint about referee Anthony Taylor has been agreed to by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) as he appeared to move the wall too far back before Aston Villa star Lucas Digne’s free-kick goal last month. Even so, Taylor is set to take charge of the Red Devils’ Premier League return against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday. 

Fans have found it tough to predict which United will turn up during Ten Hag’s early months at the helm. At Villa Park on November 6, it was the unfavourable kind as the West Midlands outfit came away with a 3-1 win. 

Villa were 2-0 up inside 11 minutes on the day with Digne’s free-kick adding to Leon Bailey’s opener. But the set-piece wasn’t without controversy as United players complained to referee Taylor that he had moved their defensive wall too far back. 

According to Manchester Evening News, the Red Devils contacted PGMOL chief Jon Moss after the game and he has since agreed that United were hard done by and pledged to discuss the matter with Taylor. 

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United were able to access the audio footage due to Taylor wearing a microphone and it supposedly revealed that Christian Eriksen politely informed the official that the wall was further than the standard 10 yards, before being ‘tersely ignored’. 

That turned out to be Taylor’s last Premier League game before the World Cup as he travelled over to Qatar, along with fellow English official Michael Oliver, to form part of their elite group of referees. His Premier League work will continue where it left off with another United game, this time against Forest on Tuesday. 

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Ten Hag furthered Eriksen’s protests after the game but may have kept his feelings somewhat reined in due to the two-goal deficit by which his side ultimately lost. “I think the free-kick is stoppable because the wall is too far,” claimed the Dutchman. “Okay, a small detail but details make the difference in top football. It tells everything from us because we were not fresh.”

United have been handed an extra incentive to push for a win against the Tricky Trees after Tottenham dropped points on their Boxing Day trip to Brentford. Comeback goals from Harry Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg were only enough for a 2-2 draw, leaving the Red Devils four points off fourth spot with two games in hand. 

This is a busy time for managers with the fixture list suddenly back in full flow and the January transfer window closing in. United are expected to pursue a striker as a matter of priority but they missed out on Cody Gakpo after holding off on their formal bid, only for Liverpool to swoop in and capitalise. 

“Erik ten Hag was a BIG fan of Cody Gakpo and Man Utd were in touch with his agents in the last few days, weeks, and months, but never made an official bid because they decided to wait and discuss internally before acting,” explained transfer expert Fabrizio Romano via his YouTube channel.

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