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July 2021

Arsenal receive amazing boost in their drive for a European place

By Walter Broeckx

Looking at the headline you may think that we have bought a player outside the transfer window and who for some unexplainable reason is to be allowed to play in the remaining fixtures.  Or that all our competitors suddenly are ill, sick, injured and all have to play their U15 side for the remaining of the season.

Or perhaps that both Theo and Jack are fully fit and ready to play in the next game.

But it’s nothing of that kind. Well not as far as I know anyway. No we found out that, perhaps for the first time ever, we have been rather blessed this time when we look at the referee appointments.

Our dear old friend Mike Riley (ref picker at the PGMOL) has spoilt my trips from Antwerp to the Emirates by, at the same time, sending Dean as the referee on a number of  occasions.  And as I am coming over for the game this weekend I felt it might be the time for Riley to send Dean once more.  So I tried to not let it be known to anyone that the Benelux supporters were on their way.  And it worked. It isn’t Dean this weekend that I will have to look at. So my biggest fear has gone away.

But there is more good news. Because as Dean is from Wirral and doesn’t do games involving Everton and Liverpool we also don’t have Dean for the game against Everton. Ah, maybe the next game they will send him you might say. When we play Fulham away. That would be a great ground to perform his dark arts.

But no, once again we can’t have Dean for our Fulham game because only days before that game he does the game Fulham-Chelsea. And even for the PGMOL to put him out again that would be one bridge too far.  No one does two consecutive games with the same team.

That would mean that the only game he could do in this month would be Arsenal – Manchester United.    Haha, you might say, (or words to that effect) then that is when we will see him. But then again I think this is almost impossible. We know the PGMOL dares to send the same ref every 4 weeks to Arsenal (that would be Dean of course) but the fact is that I don’t think he will dare to send Dean to a Manchester United game only 20 days after doing the Manchester derby. And with United losing the game, even Ferguson might have had enough of Dean for a while.

So this means that we will have with an almost 99% certainty a Dean-free month of April.

Now if we search for another ref who has a terrible and at times even more awful record when doing Arsenal games we think of Lee Probert.

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But we know now that we will have Jones for the Norwich game and Swarbrick for the Everton game.  So theoretically it could mean that we could get Probert for the Fulham game. But no once again we are lucky because Probert did the game Fulham-QPR on Aprils Fools Day. So sending Probert again to Fulham 20 days after his last game would be very unlikely.

And there is yet more good news as Probert will be doing the game between West Ham United and Manchester United on April 17th and this means that Probert also is out of the question for our game against Manchester United.

So in one big swoop it looks that two of the refs who have such great difficulty when refereeing Arsenal, and who have seriously taken against Mr Wenger (at least according to the averages that we see) are both of them are out of contention for doing any game of Arsenal in the month of April.

And if the PGMOL rotates the refs a bit we even might be able to avoid Probert for the QPR game. A game that could be meaningless for QPR as it could be that they are certain of relegation by then.

We still have one other terrible ref when we look at our win numbers and that is Oliver. So the PGMOL could still send him over to one of those games.  But the two worst refs for Arsenal are almost out of the picture for this month.

And as we have been looking at the refs for a long time now and have studied their behaviour over many games in both Arsenal games and in games when Arsenal is not around I think it is great news that they cannot be sent over this month. Now is the time to pick up the points. There are still 3 games in May and who knows what Mike Riley will come up with. Or with whom he will come up.

But those are worries  for later. Now I will just enjoy the thought of not having to look at Dean and Probert in Arsenal games this month.  Spring is in the air.

The full index of articles in order of publication in our referee analysis is now available here.

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21 comments to Arsenal receive amazing boost in their drive for a European place

  • soglorious

    Thank Goodness. Now its up to our team to perform. And as you say, its back in our hands

  • Florian

    Webb just did our West Brom game, and having him twice in a month seems unlikely (well, by our standards, not PGMOL’s). So, with a tiny bit of luck we might just avoid him too for the ManU game on 28th.

    Slightly off topic, but, Walter, do you know when was the last time Dean did a Wigan game? By your stats he’s frequently involved with them, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we were to get him on May 12th.

  • Florian

    Actually, I was able to find that piece of info: Dean last reffed Wigan @ Chelsea on Feb 9th.

  • Steve

    Dean to ref Arsenal away at Newcastle?

  • nicky

    It’s about time all this nonsense about inept and biased referees came to a halt.
    Someone somewhere must sort out the PGMOL before it gets the reputation of FIFA……or has it already reached that point?

  • Florian

    It’s a possibility too. There are quite a few other refs that might get appointed for that game – Atkinson, Dowd, maybe Taylor, Clattenburg or Mason. We can speculate as much as we want about a game that’s due in more than 5 weeks:) Though to be fair, Wigan is only 1 week before, so ok, it’s not that much difference.

    Another question then: how are the totts doing? 😀

  • bob

    Well, Peter Walton (I hear rumors) is back in fitness training. He owes someone for his current promotion to chief of referees in US MLS league. Could it be what Micky R is brewing… 🙂

  • Stuart

    Breaking news, RVP has just beaten David Blaines record for sitting in a box and doing nothing.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    The only definites are Michael Jones for Norwich on Saturday and Neil Swarbrick for Everton on Tuesday. Swarbrick is one of the few referees who has had a reviewed score of 100% so it will be interesting to see him in action. Jones doesn’t seem to get near that score and also misses a few important decisions in his games so I’m not too hopeful of him doing well.

    Hopefully two good performances by us and six more points on the board.


  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    It’s amazing how little help the referees can be when the ball is nowhere near the opposition goal. Sure, they can help out with the old clean sheets (no penalties awarded against United, with those defenders, hmmm) but unless someone can at least carry the ball into the box and then fall over it’s very hard to award a penalty.

  • colario

    Could you please tell the link that provides news of match referees.

    When reviewing forth coming games the Beeb doesn’t give this information and most times in reports this info is missing.

    Who is the ref? Is now my first question before a game. If I don’t know before the game then its the first question I want an answer to after the game. This is all thanks to you Walter!

    I think it would be good if we all contacted the Beeb and asked for the names of the referee team for each match. As we know an assistant ref can affect the result of a match just as much as the controlling ref.

    I am grateful for your blogs Walter. Many thanks. Colario

  • WalterBroeckx


    you then should see a time line going from 1 to 38. If you click on a number you see the fixtures and you can see the referees when they are appointed

  • WalterBroeckx

    Andrew we have a rather decent record under Jones so far in total.
    He was the only ref to dare to give a penalty in our favour last season. Albeit in the FA cup. He even gave 2 penalties in that game.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Walter, hopefully both will do their jobs properly and we can both enjoy a good game of football without any favours to either team – and three points on both Saturday and Tuesday. COYG

  • Adam

    I was leaning towards M L Dean doing Wigans semi against Millwall but they probably don’t need his help yet, maybe in the final they will need Dean and maybe that is why City got an easy ride against United and Chelsea might get an easy ride against Fulham?

    Chris Foy (who doesn’t do Wigan games) has the Chelsea Vs Man city semi (so expect some cards & Bans) with Oliver doing the other.

    Dean for the Final? again.

    Walter any chance of you publishing in one article what teams the refs don’t officiate and where they’re from or are you already on it?

  • Matt Clarke

    A very interesting and well reasoned read – thank you.
    It’s great having you on our team.

  • Albert Ross

    Would it not be better to focus on positive team performances rather than referee influence?

  • al

    anthony taylor is just as bad as dean, these two refs make me sick and hopefully we will never get to see them for the rest of the season

  • Albert Ross, if you would care to cast your eye over our various articles of just the last four days you will see that this is the most positive of blogs.

  • @blacksheep63

    good news indeed Walter, and I’m looking forward to seeing you again on Saturday!

  • ferro

    Ive been wishing for a long long time now that they would create a european body of referees, with none to officiate within their home countries.

    There could be a set of divisions were relegation comes into effect, so harness their judgement. Also employing non european referees concerning cl teams.

    The fact that you have highlighted how Dein cannot officiate between teams from liverpool, points to an obvious possibility of favortism.

    Growing up and the profession chosen can only mean… just like us all, they supported and rooted in football. He cannot ref a liv derby, so lets say its liv he grew up supporting… well liv are a big rival for cl places alongside ourselves… so by penalising us he would be aiding liverpool (hypothetically a reason for his poor displays concerning ourselves)

    This scenario would/could and quite possibly should be rampant within the game, after all they are only human and have chosen to be involved within a game that they must have loved.

    English refs cant be involved in an England international, so in my opinion there is a very grey area.