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Man U v Arsenal, the world famous ref preview. Well, the ref preview.

Manchester United v Arsenal 17 May 2015 – The Match Officials

By Andrew Crawshaw

First the ‘Table of Shame’ and as Walter hasn’t published any more Referee Reviews it remains the same as last week

Wrong Important Decisions Favouring Arsenal Favouring Opponents
2nd Yellow Cards 0 19
Red Cards 4 16
Penalties 4 18
Goals 1 7
Total 9 60
Possible Cost in Points 7 23

How we could do with some of those points the PGMO have cost us – still that is ‘water under the bridge’ and there’s ‘no point in crying over spilt milk’ to use just two time honoured sayings.

The Officials for Sunday are :-

  • Referee – Mike Dean
  • Assistant Referees – L Betts and S Long
  • Fourth Official – M Oliver

Now Mr Dean needs no introduction to Arsenal Supporters and a couple of seasons ago I would be treating his appointment as a certain sign that United were going to be given free license to cheat us out of the game as well as trying to leave as many Arsenal players as possible needing hospital treatment.  I’m not at all sure that this picture of Mr Dean is any longer valid though.

I noted in my preview of the Stoke game Arsenal v Stoke, 22 September 2013. The Officials. Dean is capable of being honest. Let’s hope…  in September 2013 that in the 2012/13 Season he was actually one of the better referees we had had (and I washed out my mouth afterwards!) his overall competence scores being amongst the highest  of all referees.

More recently Walter noted a change in Mr Dean since he reached the age of 50 and was no longer eligible to keep his FIFA badge and how this has perhaps loosened the degree of control over him by his PGMO masters.

He has even given us a penalty this year ending a 30 plus sequence without one, his previous penalty to us was on 13 Sept 2008.

Whatever the reason Mr Dean is certainly not the man to fear that he once was.  Make no mistake though he is no particular friend of Arsenal and will still take an opportunity to hurt us if one genuinely presents itself, burt I no longer fear him actively engineering such a happening.

What of this year?  So far we have had him for three games

Arsenal v Man United 22 November 2014 (1 – 2)

Imagine a ref who only gets half his decisions right: Arsenal – MU ref review

Not his finest game by any means – 53% overall, Bias against the two teams 80/20 and four wrong Important Decisions (Second Yellow and Red Cards, Penalties and Goals).  In minute 15 Shaw first used his arms then tripped Wilshere in the penalty area, neither offence given; two United players should have been sent off McNair in Minute 50 for the studs up and out of control tackle that put Wilshere out for months (not even called a foul) and in Minute 90+7 Di Maria should have been ejected for elbowing Chambers right in front of Dean; the United goal in Minute 55 should not have counted – Fellaini was clearly offside and interfering with play, pushing Gibbs into Szcz and enabling the goal.

Poor officiating cost us at least one and quite possible all three points (I have included three in the table of shame).

Man City v Arsenal 18 January 2015 (0 – 2)

Ref Review : Manchester City – Arsenal: A master class performance!

Walter’s headline says it really  84%, overall Bias 27/73 still one wrong Important Decision though, Kompany should have had a yellow card in Min 22 for a foul on Monreal.  He was given one in Minute 40 for foul and dissent which should have been his second.  He could also have had a second in minute 55 for a two footed challenge.

Burnley v Arsenal 11 April 2015 (0 – 1)

Walter’s review is as yet unavailable.

So three games, one really bad and one really good refereeing performance, probable three points robbed from us (worryingly in the game v United). Two wins from the other games.


Four games, two wins against Spurs (1-0) and Stoke (3-1) and two draws against Chelsea (0-0) and City (1-1) so no real grounds for anger there.

2012-13 Four games, one win, one draw and two losses only one of which was probably influenced by decisions made by Mr Dean (United Again).

Man City v Arsenal 23 Sept 2012 (1 – 1) 83% overall, bias against both teams (71/29) – yes that’s right a bias in favour of Arsenal!, No wrong Important Decisions

Match Review: Mike Dean – Manchester City Vs Arsenal (1 – 1) [23/09/2012]

Man United v Arsenal 3 November 2012 (2 – 1)

80% overall, bias against 15/85 and three wrong Important Decisions – Minute 44 United penalty ball movement was ball to hand, no hand movement so wrong penalty; Min 58 Cleverly should have had a second yellow card for a reckless challenge and in Minute 90 Arteta should have had a second yellow card (the one awarded was correct but he should have had a first in Minute 30).

Match Review: Mike Dean – Manchester United Vs Arsenal (2 – 1) [03/11/2012]

Arsenal v Man City 13 Jan 2013 (0 – 2)  67% overall, bias against the two teams (84/16) and one wrong Important Decision when Dzeko should have been sent off for a second bookable offence.

Match Review: Mike Dean – Arsenal Vs Manchester City (0 – 2) [13/01/2013]

Arsenal v Wigan 14 May 2013 (4 – 1)  90% overall, bias against Arsenal 100% (but very few wrong decisions) and no wrong Important Decisions.  An excellent example of refereeing in the last game of the season which (if memory serves me correctly) Wigan needed to win to avoid relegation.

Match Review: Mike Dean – Arsenal Vs Wigan Athletic ( – ) [14/05/2013]

I have made no notes regarding the two Assistant Referees having dropped any ‘howlers’ this year so assume that they will both be wide awake for this game.

In Summary

  1. Historically, Mike Dean being appointed for this game would have been a virtual guarantee of a United win by foul or fair means.
  2. More recently though Mr Dean has been far more level with his decision making in Arsenal games and even awarded us a penalty in the City game on 19 January.
  3. These improvements don’t seem to be in games against United though which is something of a worry.
  4. Notwithstanding his possible improvements in Arsenal games, all Arsenal players will have to be careful not to do anything which could be interpreted as warranting a card, or foul in a dangerous area of the pitch.
  5. An Arsenal penalty is unlikely, a United one far more probable.
  6. United are still likely to get far more freedom to attack Arsenal players than vice-versa – you only need to have a look at the unpunished assault on Wilshere in the November game for an example.
  7. United will fall over the wind or blades of grass or sometimes even trip themselves up to try and win an advantage and any referee has to be on top form to prevent this from happening (thank you Mr Oliver for being that man in the FA Cup quarter final)
  8. The question is can Mr Dean be that man on Sunday?  He does know the rules better than anybody else and has shown that he is capable of interpreting them honestly in Arsenal games, but not yet in a n Arsenal v United game.  Please show that level of resolve this time Mr Dean, you know you can do it!


Arsenal on this day – from disaster to delight

14 comments to Man U v Arsenal, the world famous ref preview. Well, the ref preview.

  • Josif

    In the game against Chelsea that Dean was in charge at, we should have been awarded a penalty (Willian’s foul on Walcott in the box) and Obi Mikel should have been sent off in the first half for a dangerous tackle on our Mikel (Arteta). Dean at his worst.

    If we get a level-field tomorrow and don’t lose confidence due to defeat against Swansea, we should give United a good hiding.

  • para

    I fear that if they want to let Manu get the 3rd spot and embarass Arsenal he will try to let Utd win with all of the points you highlight. This will only be made easy for him if we play like we did against Swansea, half heartedly and with only sporadic bursts of focus AND defending.

    On the other hand:
    Arsenal need to beat Utd good and proper (watching Sou – Av 6-1 🙂 ) and remove that burden from their shoulders/minds. I think it is still there lodged in a secret part ready to come out at the slightest lapse in concentration.

    Either way, if we do not play like we want to win, that is: sharp, defending in packs, worrying the attacker before he gets too far into our domain, staying focussed for the full game and determined to win, then we deserve all we get.

    ANYWAY AW quotes from :
    “First of all we can mathematically put a distance between Man United and us in the top four and basically secure the top three.”

    “Also, we can make a symbolic statement because we won over there in the FA Cup. To reproduce that would be psychologically important.”

    “To do it again would convince us more that we have the strength and can be even stronger next season and show that we have made progress”.

    So team, we know what is expected of you from the manager.
    Enough said.

  • nicky

    I still feel that this season (or rather, this year) there have been fewer biased decisions against us from referees. Hence our position in the League.
    Unless of course we have been winning despite the referees. (Walter would probably prefer this explanation).
    Dean has the opportunity tomorrow, to demonstrate that he can officiate in a big game, without fear or favour. The days of Ferguson and OT decisions are over.
    Rooney’s diving antics will be absent, although Young will be there. Fellaini’s windmilling will need watching.
    This will be a different game to the Swansea blip and our confidence for it will be higher than for many a year.

  • john

    Sorry, off-topic.

    We can expect a Liverpool penalty to be given. Ref is already giving them free kicks any time a Palace player comes near, having denied Palace at least one penalty earlier.

  • Andrew Crawshaw


    The ‘table of shame is calculated on the first 30 games so on average two wrong important decisions against Arsenal each and every game. The are the. Game changing decisions – sendings off (either straight red or for two yellow cards), penalties and goals. This is an appalling burden for our team to carry. To their credit the players manage it when they are on top form but it can prove too much when the team performance drops slightly. Given a fair performance from Dean tomorrow I’m sure we will win. On the other hand if he produces a performance like he did in the United win at the Emirates then it will need us to put in a superhuman team effort to survive.

  • para

    Just noticed that Swansea v ManC tomorrow, of course i knew that, but i just registered it, my my, i’m getting lapse. Makes things a little clearer now. Swansea should be high on confidence.

    Wish we were playing first though. Hate last game of the day.

  • Al

    No happy ending then for gerrard. Great player but the media wankfest makes it hard to feel sorry for him. As one poster perfectly summed it up “Sentiment doesn’t win you games. Gerrard has found that out Zaha’d way” 🙂

  • Al

    Dean at OT, even if I want to be optimistic this one is just not one of those games where I can allow my optimism to let me dare dream…..

  • Mandy Dodd

    A bit of a conundrum…..a ref with issues with arsenal, but a Liverpool supporting ref at OT who no longer has to play the pgmol ambition game. And at times, clearly good ref.
    My guess, arsenal take the lead, Utd helped to an honourable draw by what ever means, be careful Kos

  • rich

    If things were right with Pgmol, the assessment process after the home game would not have been pleasant for Mike Dean :

    ‘sorry, Mike, but you got big, match-changing decisions wrong, and you completely missed a bad foul (which has put out one of England’s finest young players for months, by the way. Bad, huh?). Worse, you got the big calls wrong all in favour of one team. Sorry, Mike, but that’s how it is. A pretty bad day for you. But you live and learn.

    Hey, maybe we should mention watching out for Fellaini pushing the defender into the keeper on deep crosses to everybody during our next fortnightly meeting. Wouldn’t want him to get away with that again this year, would we’

    What wouldn’t possibly happen though is that ref then being given the return fixture, which I’m sure is extremely rare within a season.

    You can only conclude the assessment didn’t go like that- despite them having the video evidence to study at their leisure- and therefore be pretty worried there’ll be some real bullshit tomorrow and that our players will be no better protected from bad challenges than Wilshere was.

  • George Wong

    I agree with Dodd about the ref helping rd to a draw. You never know.
    I have never trusted these guys in black and in previus games involving rf,it was the ref who helped them or get out of trouble.

  • Mahdain

    Eventhough Dean has not been out to hurt us recently, i still do not trust him one bit. Can you blame me after all that has happened between us and him? I fear he might show his true colours anytime and our players need to be careful to not present him with opportunities to hurt us.

  • finsbury

    The foul on Wilshere was a fragrant attempt to play the advantage. And there’s the giveaway.

    Chamberlain was not in a better position then Wilshere, not in a million years.

    Deans performance in the Chelsea home game the season before was even more transparent. Someone who understands football doesn’t miss the mikel red card and the penalty incident that occurred within a second of each other. And we know that Deano understands.

    As Andrew informs us, Dean certainly knows the rules. Sometimes too well for his own good (see above).

    Will we see Mike ‘Smeagol’ Deano or Mike ‘Gollum Gollum’ *coughs* Dean?

  • Menace

    I am nervous as usual. I have absolutely no faith in anything to do with the FA & its corrupt appointment of a monopolistic racist PGMO who represent everything that is wrong with football. Arsenal have already been robbed of its rightful place in the League but despite this, Arsenal is able to represent tolerance, sport, balance & honesty.

    COYG make us proud of the game you play.