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August 2021

Untold Ref Review: Manchester City 2 – 1 Chelsea, another poor display from ref Dean

This article is part of a series stretching over several seasons in which a team of referees analyse the work of refs in Premier League matches.

Our figures show that when we analyse the errors made by refs there are consistent trends which do not “even out” through the season, as some commentators would have it.    All the earlier ref reviews plus analyses of the errors made by refs, and articles relating to our campaign to have the body which organises referees activities reformed, plus an analysis of the background to this campaign, can be found on:

Although this is a site built for Arsenal supporters we welcome comments from fans of other teams, although we tend not to publish comments which are simply abusive or which are completely off topic.

Today’s referee is Mike Dean –

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS – Mike Dean (2012-03-21)
Period 1
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
1 OTHER Mata Zabaleta N/C Backing in,nothing given 1
1 OTHER yaya Luiz C 1
3 OTHER C Good advantage played after a foul on Nasri 1
4 OTHER Luiz Nasri N/C Holding missed 1
6 OTHER Zabaletta Mata C 1
8 OTHER C Good advantage played after a foul on Mikel by De Jong 1
11 OTHER C Good advantage after a foul by Ivanovich on Nasri 1
11 YELLOW Ivanovich N/C He should have gone back and cautioned Ivanovich once the game stopped, it was a poor challenge 2
17 OTHER C Good advantage after a foul by YaYa on Mata 1
17 OTHER Luiz Zabaletta N/C Luiz looses control of the ball and kicks Zabaletta, everyone sees it but Dean who is 3 yards away 1
18 PENALTY C YaYa and Frank Lampard come together in the box, YaYa stays on his feet until he gets in the box, then he falls over. Ref is not falling for it 3
18 YELLOW YaYa N/C The laws state that unsporting behaviour is cautionable, simulation is unsporting behaviour, YaYa should have been cautioned 2
19 OTHER N/C Ref gives a foul throw against Chelsea, I went straight to the Laws of the game to check, it was a legitimate throw, nothing wrong with it at all, the Assistant gave nothing but Dean seemed to delay, then gave it from 30 yards away, very strange behaviour. 1
22 OTHER C Good advantage after a fould by Luiz on Balotelli 1
22 OTHER Luiz Balotelli N/C After no advantage gained he should have brought the game back to the offence, players always appreciate when this is done well, it shows understanding of the game. 1
22 YELLOW Luiz N/C It was an elbow by Luiz on Balotelli and should have been cautioned, Dean saw it clearly 2
25 OTHER Zabaletta Torres N/C He comes through player from behind, I used to do that when I played, but nowadays it is outlawed 1
28 OTHER Richards Mata C 1
30 OTHER Balotelli C Handball 1
30 OTHER Richards Torres C 1
32 OTHER Torres De Jong N/C Ref misses FT leave his foot in 1
33 OTHER Aguero Cahill N/C Aguero prevents him clearing with a clever trip 1
33 OTHER Clichy Mierelles C 1
35 OTHER Balotelli C Handball 1
37 OTHER Boswinga Aguero C 1
37 YELLOW Boswinga N/C He deliberately prevented a good break from City who would have turned Chelsea around, should have been booked 2
38 OTHER Torres Richards C 1
39 OTHER YaYa Mikel N/C A heavy nudge knocks him over, nothing given 1
43 OTHER Cole Aguero N/C Cole pulls him out of the way to gain possession, Dean misses it 1
43 OTHER Mata Toure C The ball breaks to Toure, who is held back by Mata, Dean spots this one 1
43 YELLOW Mata C The decision is right, but this Ref is so inconsistent with his decision making and logic it is driving me mad. 2
Period 2
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
54 OTHER N/C A corner is awarded to City that came of Silva last 1
56 OTHER Chelsea YaYa C Assumed correct 1
57 OTHER Lampard YaYa C 1
57 YELLOW Lampard C At least a yellow, he dived in from behind studs showing 2
60 OTHER Luiz Barry N/C Ref misses a nudge to knock player off balance as ball is in the air, Luiz was only intent on playing the player so it was a foul 1
60 GOAL Cahill N/C The goal should have been disallowed for the foul by Luiz 3
61 OTHER Clichy Chelsea C 1
63 OTHER Zabaletta Mata N/C A push in the back from Zab means that Mata handballs it, Dean wrongly gives handball, it should have been a foul to Chelsea 1
63 OTHER Mata N/C Handball 1
70 OTHER Toure Cech C 1
70 OTHER Luiz Aguero C 1
73 OTHER Drogba Richards C 1
77 PENALTY Essien C He had his hands extended 3
77 GOAL Aguero C 3
82 OTHER Barry Lampard C After a poor touch he lunges in after the ball, “”His first touch is so bad his second is a tackle”” another clumsy English player with poor technique 1
82 YELLOW Barry N/C If the studs into Lampards ankle were not a yellow the the dissent was, or even the “”Fuck off”” to the Ref, the things you get away with when you play for England eh! 2
85 GOAL Nasri C Great goal from the best player on the pitch 3
88 OTHER N/C Gives a goal kick to City when it should have been a Chelsea corner 1
93 OTHER Zabaletta Drogba N/C A shove in the back 1

Mike Dean was his usual self in a game that meant a lot to both sides. He missed much, let the wrong things go, misread intent, was confusing in his decisions as to when,and when not to caution, and made the occasional decision that was simply baffling.

Let me start with some Ref speak, running a diagonal. A referee should always position himself so that he has in his view one assistant (generally on his right hand side) and the direction of the game in front of him. He should always be able to see what is happening in front of the ball. A Referee does this by running a diagonal line that goes from right back on the attacking team, to left back on the defending team.  Always with the ball in front of him, if he gets ahead of the ball, he stops and moves to the side, allowing play to move past him. By doing this he always has as much of the game in view as possible. What he can’t see should be covered by his Assistant on the other side, who is ahead of him. What is behind him is covered by the Assistant on his left hand side. I watched Mike Dean on numerous occasions running ahead of the game, he was on the diagonal but he was ahead of the game. This means that, He has his back to the goal, and to the defence of the goal being attacked, he also is not covering the pitch with his assistant on the other side, and crucially, if the attack breaks down, and play is turned around quickly, he has far too much ground to make up to get close to the ball. It was not happening throughout the whole game, but on numerous occasions I found myself thinking, where the hell is Dean going. I have done many reviews this season and this was the only time I ever found myself making this observation. “He was out of position” Does this explain his poor decision making in this game, well certainly he was poor.

According to the God that is Dogface, and his wonderful statistical analysis, one of the clubs favoured by Dean is Chelsea. Was that the case in this game.  Not of you look at the numbers but, He could easily have booked at least 3 Chelsea players in the first half in addition to Mata.  And the Chelsea goal should have been disallowed for a foul by Luiz, it was a clever nudge that moved Barry out of the way, Luiz had no intention of challenging for the header, simply in making sure that Barry could not clear the ball. For that reason it was a foul and the goal should have been scratched. Had he blown for the nudge as soon as it happened, everyone, including the Sky commentators would have said “good spot Ref” , but Dean being Dean, he misreads the intent in the Luiz challenge and lets it go. So statistically he may not have favoured Chelsea,  but City are entitled to feel aggrieved over a number of incidents.

As we know playing for England has hidden bonuses other than receiving a floppy cap and walking out at Wembley wearing those Three Lions, Gareth Barry after a heavy touch jumped in after the ball and caught Frank Lampard. Dean rightly gave the foul and was then subjected to a mouthful of abuse by the England international that according to the Laws of the game (A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off if he commits any of the

following seven offences:

• serious foul play

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• violent conduct

• spitting at an opponent or any other person

• denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity

by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within

his own penalty area)

• denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving

towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a

penalty kick

• using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures

• receiving a second caution in the same match)


should have resulted in a red card, however convention is to issue a yellow and a warning, because what is a fact ,is that Gareth Barry told Mike Dean to Fuck Off whilst also offering him other advice. By not sanctioning Barry, Dean did not apply the Laws of the Game, he did not serve sport, and he made every Refs job that runs out on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning just a little bit harder.


COMPETENCY SUMMARY – Mike Dean (2012-03-21)
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
OTHER 15 25 60.00
PENALTY 1 1 100.00
YELLOW 1 5 20.00
TOTAL 17 31 54.84
WEIGHTED 20 38 52.63
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 2 3 66.67
OTHER 7 13 53.85
PENALTY 1 1 100.00
YELLOW 1 2 50.00
TOTAL 11 19 57.89
WEIGHTED 18 29 62.07
Totals Called Total Correct %
GOAL 2 3 66.67
OTHER 22 38 57.89
PENALTY 2 2 100.00
YELLOW 2 7 28.57
TOTAL 28 50 56.00
WEIGHTED 38 67 56.72

Dean does not cut an impressive figure on the football pitch, he has an arrogant demeanour about him, has no interaction with the players, and is inconsistent in his decision making. These are all thing that drive players mad, they end up not knowing where they stand. This was not quite the worst Refereeing performance I have seen this season, but it was close to it.


BIAS SUMMARY – Mike Dean (2012-03-21)
Period 1 Manchester City % Chelsea % Total
Correct For 7 38.89 11 61.11 18
Correct For Weighted 8 38.10 13 61.90 21
Incorrect Against 8 61.54 5 38.46 13
Incorrect Against Weighted 11 64.71 6 35.29 17
Fouls Commited 10 47.62 11 52.38 21
Fouls Penalised 7 70.00 6 54.55 13
Period 2 Manchester City % Chelsea % Total
Correct For 8 72.73 3 27.27 11
Correct For Weighted 15 83.33 3 16.67 18
Incorrect Against 2 25.00 6 75.00 8
Incorrect Against Weighted 4 36.36 7 63.64 11
Fouls Commited 5 50.00 5 50.00 10
Fouls Penalised 3 60.00 4 80.00 7
Totals Manchester City % Chelsea % Total
Correct For 15 51.72 14 48.28 29
Correct For Weighted 23 58.97 16 41.03 39
Incorrect Against 10 47.62 11 52.38 21
Incorrect Against Weighted 15 53.57 13 46.43 28
Fouls Commited 15 48.39 16 51.61 31
Fouls Penalised 10 66.67 10 62.50 20

As for the game, Sami Nasri ran Chelsea ragged, He looked like the player who left Arsenal some 6 months before he left Arsenal, City are ponderous in midfield and at the back, Chelsea look like a team waiting for someone to come and sort it all out, again!  And the Etihad was very quiet. (Did Nasri not say he went there because their support is so passionate)

The only good one thing one could say is that the mistakes he made were fairly even shared amongst both teams.


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2 comments to Untold Ref Review: Manchester City 2 – 1 Chelsea, another poor display from ref Dean

  • zdzis

    This is just why the “Respect” campaign should be scrapped in England, if not in the whole world. It should be called “Disrespect” and come with images of uncalled violent conduct and called non-offences. I can understand Barry lashing out at Dean, however, if he saw at least a part of Dean’s doings, he simply knew he was dealing with a semi-qualified amateur posing for a canny specialist.

  • bob

    Another complementary interpretation is that The Dean is a canny specialist at managing an outcome. He’s a kind of specialist floor manager (PGMOL ref) who supervises the time-motion activities on the football pitch into an “EPL entertainment product” (1) that brings x number of eyeballs to the TV screen; and (2) that ensures the production of the season’s final product – the Rednose XX; and (3) that produces just enough illusion of oversight to allow all the documented “imperfections” to be accepted by the fans under the governing rubrics that “mistakes will be made” and “it all evens out in the end” – All this until the next match when the same formula is applied until Don Fungus reaches Coronation Day.