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By Walter Broeckx
Mike Dean, the list is long. Too long. Toooooooooo long.
The day it all went wrong for me is :
23/02/2008: Birmingham – Arsenal 2-2: Taylor almost amputates the foot of Eduardo. Dean of course sends him off as he has no other choice after such a horrible tackle.
Dean then seems to take this as a personal insult from Arsenal for some reason. Invents a foul so that Birmingham can open the scoring. Arsenal get in front and in the last minutes of the match we see a real amazing set of events. Adebayor is pulled by a Birmingham defender in the Birmingham penalty area in the most blatant way. Dean ignores the blatant penalty foul even though he was close to the incident and not unsighted. Seconds later Dean puts the ball on the penalty spot when Clichy played the ball. Birmingham equalize and Arsenal who was top of the league never recover from the injury and injustice that season.
08/02/2009: Tottenham – Arsenal 0-0: Dean sends off Eboue in wat might now look a comical farce but was dead serious. It looked as if he was trying to get Eboue sent off no matter what. Eboue in his naivety allowed him the chance.
29/08/2009: Man U – Arsenal 2-1: In minute 39 Arshavin is tackled by a two footed tackle in the Man U penalty area. Dean ignores the foul and the fact that the United player also stopped the ball with his hand and then played on. Two penalty fouls and not one given in favour of Arsenal. Arsenal take the lead and dominate United. Till Dean steps up and …gives United a penalty. Minutes later an own goal leads to Arsenal losing.
16/12/2009: Burnley – Arsenal1-1 : Arsenal run riot at the start of the match and score. But again Dean ignores a blatant penalty foul on an Arsenal player and that would have made it 0-2. But in the other penalty area he uses the slightest of contacts between Vermaelen and a Burnley striker to give Burnley a penalty.
07/11/2010: Arsenal – Newcastle 0-1 : An Arsenal player being sent off (Koscielny) and Arsenal players being booked left, right and in the centre. Amazing time wasting and Dean inventing fouls against Arsenal and leaving Newcastle assaults unpunished. Amazing to see the difference what each team was allowed to do.
19/01/2011: Leeds – Arsenal 1-3. A rare win under Dean. But in the FA cup. But again the Leeds goal was a goal that never should have stood. Leeds kicking Arshavin blatantly in to the ground with a late tackle that Dean ignored and as a result Leeds won the ball and scored. A favorite tactic that he likes to use a lot against Arsenal.
27/02/2011: Arsenal – Birmingham 1-2: Carling cup final. Dean in his usual see nothing, hear nothing way of behaving. When blowing the final whistle you can see Dean jumping up with both arms in the air to celebrate our loss.
02/10/2011: Tottenham – Arsenal 2-1. Van der Vaart clearly controlled the ball with his arm and then scored. Dean didn’t see it. Surprise, surprise.
26/02/2012: Arsenal – Tottenham 5-2. The match of the dancing Dean when Tottenham open the score early in the match. But he danced too soon this time as Arsenal made a comeback from being 0-2 down after 34 minutes. Scott Parker was sent off late in the game after he should have been send off much earlier.
31/03/2012: QPR – Arsenal 2-1. I quote from our review: QPR were allowed to commit foul after foul without cards coming out. It seems that Arsenal players were in danger of getting another nasty injury. Take note that there only had been 4 matches between us having him against Tottenham and in this match. Arsenal wasn’t really great in this match but that is usually the case when the ref allows the opposition to play outside the laws of the game. Booking the home players early to set an example on where the line is drawn was missed.
21/04/2012: Arsenal – Chelsea 0-0: Now look only 21 days later we had Dean again. But to be fair he did very well this time! As we have said so in the ref review immediately after the match. But still having the same ref 3 times in the space of less than 2 months… amazing fact.
03/11/2012: Man U – Arsenal 2-1: Dean giving a penalty to United that was missed and then to make sure when Arsenal was pressurising to equalize he send off Wilshere. Cleverly minutes earlies was left off the hook. So business as usual one could say. Different standards for Arsenal players.
23/12/2013 : Arsenal – Chelsea 0-0: Dean to his usual antics. A clear penalty foul on an Arsenal player is not given. Some red card tackles from Chelsea players are gladly ignored. Another match in which Dean didn’t do his job in protecting the players properly. Certainly when they were Arsenal players.
22/11/2014: Arsenal – Man U 1-2. Dean again with missing some major incidents. Fellaini from an offside position pushes Gibbs with both hands in the back so he ends up colliding with Szczesny. As a result of Dean ignoring the fouls Man U could score the first goal. One of the old tricks from Dean is missing fouls on Arsenal defenders. United can score a second goal on the counter because Arsenal push forward with all players. In between Dean completely ignored a dead kick against Wilshere from McNair. A challenge that cost Wilshere the rest of the season and that he blatantly ignored.
And then followed a few matches in which you couldn’t recognise Dean and where he was as a ref should be: almost invisible. Mind you he did make mistakes but not as blatant as he had been doing for years. But alas it didn’t continue as we could see in the last match.
19/09/2015: Chelsea – Arsenal : Dean completely misses Costa assaulting Koscielny and sends Gabriel off for nothing after having failed to control the situation miserably himself. Invented a foul against Arsenal from which Chelsea could score their opening goal. The FA later rescinded the red card for Gabriel and banned Costa. As a result it is now certain that it should have been Arsenal playing with 11 man and not Chelsea.
How much did Dean cost us in terms of points over the seasons with his sometimes bizarre refereeing? Difficult to say. I do feel that he cost us the title in 2008. And he cost us on average something around 5-6 points per season usually.
But apart from the big talking points we see over and over again that Dean has the tendency to leave our players unprotected. We have suffered serious injury when he is around since 2008 from bad tackles. I think the players feel this and so maybe it will creep in the back of their head when Dean is around that they will get no protection whatsoever. And such things can make a difference because you have to play with a free mind to develop your game to perfection.
He also will not punish fouls on our defenders and that has led to a few goals against Arsenal. That is a point I have seen over and over again with Dean. I seem to remember Drogba taking advantage of that in a few matches but I thought the list was long enough already. And depressing enough.
Dean is however a master in knowing when to keep low profile. He knows the big decisions will be talking points so he is one that goes for the allow two different set of rules for some teams. Punish Arsenal players for coming near to their opponents and ignore the same thing when they are fouled. A very accurate way of disturbing players when you are the ref.
I didn’t include all the matches only the ones where I got good examples of his usual antics against Arsenal. Even when we won as I included a few wins, not many because well you know this is about Dean and when Dean is in town we usually don’t win. As the PGMO very well knows.