Arsenal v Manchester United 22 November 2014 – The Match Officials: Mike Dean, Pilchard or Sardine?

By Andrew Crawshaw

Before I go into this weeks officials, here is the table of wrong Important Decisions extracted from Walter’s referee reviews.

ref decisions pre mu

Three wrong Important decisions from the Swansea game, matching not given penalties and a not given red card to Ashley Williams at the start of the second half, a game changer if ever there was one.

On to this week’s officials

Referee – Mike Dean
Assistants – J Collin and D England
Fourth Official – M Jones

Firstly well done to Walter for correctly predicting this appointment nearly three weeks in advance; we know what the PGMO are going to do before they do (or at least before they formally announce what they have done)!

Arsenal’s history with Mr Dean is well documented and has even been picked up by the lazy journalists working for the UK National Papers as being suspicious.

Here is a table showing the Premier League games he has refereed since 2000/01

dean table


The results split into three distinct phases:-

1. Up to the the end of 2003/4, we never lost a game with him in charge. For this phase of his refereeing career, Mike Dean was certainly a Sardine (see definition below) and was popular with Arsenal supporters
2. From 2004/5 to 2012/13, we won very few games (5 out of 29), certainly far fewer than our average with all other referees. Definitely a Pilchard and unloved by the Arsenal public.
3. From 2012/13 and continuing into last year (and I admit I may be clutching at straws here) I detected a subtle change in his handling of Arsenal games. In 2012/13 his weighted scores were 83% City v Arsenal 23/09/12 (1-1); 80% United v Arsenal (2-1); 67% Arsenal v City 0-2 13/01/13 and 90% Arsenal v Wigan 4-1 on 14/05/13. In 2013/14 we didn’t lose with him in charge (2 wins and 2 draws).

In the time covered above Mr Dean has awarded two penalties to Arsenal; on 19 January 2003 TH14 scored from the spot against West Ham in a 3-1 win to Arsenal and on 13 September 2008, RVP scored from the spot away at Burnley in a 4-0 Arsenal win. Six years since our last penalty and a further five before that to the only other one. A third penalty is overdue.

2012/13 – As mentioned above there were four Arsenal games, all were fully reviewed

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

Overall score 83%, bias against 71/29 but no wrong Important Decisions (second yellow cards, straight red cards, penalties or goals). No wrong decisions at all in the first half 100% a brilliant piece of refereeing. In the second half 6 wrong calls against City and 3 against Arsenal (Podolski should have been given a yellow card in Min 56, the rest were routine missed fouls).

Definitely a ‘Sardine’ performance with neither team having much to quibble about. A rare event with Arsenal having more wrong calls in our favour than against.

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

Overall score 80%, bias against 15/85 and 3 wrong Important Decisions (Minute 44 United awarded penalty for handball – no movement of hand to ball so decision was wrong – Rooney failed to score so justice was done, Min 58 Cleverly should have second yellow card for reckless challenge and in Min Arteta was given a yellow card, he should have had one in Min 30 and so it should have ben his second)

Not a bad overall performance but the wrongly awarded penalty was more Pilchard than Sardine.

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

67% overall, bias against 84/16 and one important wrong decision when Dzeko should have been sent off in Minute 82 for a second yellow card.

This was a far more typical Dean “Pilchard” Performance, City allowed far more licence than Arsenal and minor or phantom fouls being called to break up play when Arsenal potentially having the advantage. A typical Dean “Pilchard” performance – maybe the Sheikh had a word following the reverse fixture where Arsenal had the balance of poor decisions. He did give a correct red card to Kompany in Min 74 as well as the one (again correct) to Koscielny in Minute 8.

Match Review: Mike Dean – Arsenal Vs Wigan Athletic ( – ) [14/05/2013] 90% overall, only 7 wrong calls all game none serious (but all in Wigan’s favour).

One of the best pieces of refereeing we saw all year. Mind you Dean and his team still had the odd “Pilchard” moments – Min 8 he over-ruled his assistant who was far closer to a throw-in and had flagged it for Arsenal and Min 46 Walcott was wrongly flagged offside when he should have been through one on one with the keeper.


22 Sep 2013 – Arsenal v Stoke 3-1 Here is a quote from Walter’s post game report.

“And finally : the last strange fact. When going in front early on I expected some Dean magic. He blew a few things that looked like being Dean-facts. When Stoke equalized I feared he might try something. But again he didn’t or we didn’t provide him with the chance to do it. When we were 2-1 in front I really hoped we would score a third goal because I still wasn’t sure that he would blow his magic whistle and open his red card book to give a penalty against Arsenal for some little foul. Again our players remained calm and didn’t allow Dean any tricks.”

A ‘Sardine’ performance

23 Dec 2013 – Arsenal v Chelsea 0-0 Dean useless as usual, Mourinho still the master in killing football pleasure – Mikel not sent off for an asault on Arteta, A clear penalty to Arsenal not given a few minutes later, A kick from Ivanovic to Özil’s head that should also have resulted in a red card.

A full blooded ‘Pilchard’ performance.

16 Mar 2014 Spurs v Arsenal 0-1 That screamer in the first minute from Rosicky what a glorious goal. This from Walter about Dean “A word about Dean in the first half. Is it our pressure? For it was as if he wanted to prove us wrong. I know that the way Rose went down with no foul at all and which could be labelled as a dive was horrible and was never a penalty. But I have known Dean to give them against us. I couldn’t believe it was Dean……..Arsenal should also have got a penalty when Vertonghen was holding Koscielny with both his arms around his neck and dragged him down after another free kick for Arsenal. Dean being Dean one could say………but he was rather fair in the way he handled the match. And certainly his foul calling was excellent this time. Certainly in the closing stages. But I would like to add that the first assistant certainly gave him a big hand with calling some fouls on his side”

Another ‘Sardine’ performance, albeit with another missed opportunity to end his no penalty streak.

29 Mar 2014 Arsenal v City 1-1 Arsenal – Man City the difference between home and away Opportunities for Arsenal to win the game, minor interference from Dean but nothing too obvious Another ‘Sardine’ performance


1. Mike Dean hasn’t given us a penalty since 13 September 2008 when RVP scored against Blackburn. He hasn’t ever given a penalty to Arsenal at the Emirates, the only home penalty being on 19 Jan 2003 scored by Henry against West Ham.
2. Don’t expect a change in that statistic on Saturday
3. Mike Dean is (honestly!) capable of producing a really good refereeing performance even in a game involving Arsenal.
4. His ‘Pilchard’ performances have been far more prevalent in most fan’s memories, these can be categorised by over officious penalties against Arsenal, sending off Arsenal players for the minutest infringements, allowing our opponents to freely kick the sh.t out of Arsenal and seeking every opportunity to slow down/delay play when Arsenal have an advantage.
5. He does have limits however and is prepared to send off opponents when they cross his line, mind you that line is often far more extreme than one would like to see from a referee.
6. Arsenal players need to be very wide awake and not allow Dean any opportunity to punish them unduly – Flamini – no sliding tackles!, Jack – no rash challenges and keep control of your temper, all defenders need to be wary of any holding or minor fouls in our penalty area, you will be penalised if he can do so. Avoid all possibilities of giving away a foul in a dangerous area, if you must make a foul do it as far away from our area as possible.
7. Fans at the game, get on his back every time he makes a mistake – remember he does know what he is doing, he virtually wrote the book on anti-Arsenal refereeing.

Come on Mr Dean, you know how to do a good game, please show us one on Saturday and it really is time for you to award us a penalty, six years is an awfully long time! Be a Sardine (loved by all) not a Pilchard.



Pilchard – small fish found in large schools along european coasts, smaller and rounder than herring. Once popular, now unloved by the public (in the UK at least).

Sardine – any of various small herring or related fish, popular with the public throughout Europe and widely served in “posh” restaurants (most pilchard are now sold as sardines in UK).

72 Replies to “Arsenal v Manchester United 22 November 2014 – The Match Officials: Mike Dean, Pilchard or Sardine?”

  1. It’s embarrassing to say that on his good days he’s actually adequate!
    but nothing more than adequate.

  2. Strange how the Dean v Arsenal table shows that the results go against us just as Wenger starts to lose his mojo! #PKB

  3. “Mr Mike Dean finds it hard
    Not to ref just like a Pil-chard
    But, as on Untold we have seen,
    He can ref like a Sardine”

    Mr Dean: we’re asking, please, put the Dean back in Sardine !

  4. What happens if we win? Does the Mike Dean conspiracy theory stop? Does Mike Dean suddenly become a good ref. Jeez, it’s like the school playground on untold. Is anything ever Wengers fault?

  5. The Expert troll above is so busy groaning it seems to have forgotten the first 5pur2s game. But then, why would the AAAA want to remember such an event?

  6. The red card against. Mikel and the blatant penalty not given occurred within the same move. That level of tilting doesn’t happen unless someone is taking the Bertie’s, as they used to say. It is, what it is. In yer face, undeniable, unless you are an Expert. Incredible officiating in that passage of play from Smeagol.
    There’s nothing anyone needs to add except a replay of that passage of play. Not forgetting the Grand Total of just two pens in favour? Astounding numbers

    *gollum gollum*

  7. Thanks Andrew.
    Wouldnt bother with them Finsbury, a few groaners are having a bit of fairly harmless fun at the moment. Have seen worse on here, it must be said.
    The #PKB thing – Peter Knows Best…in homage to one of the main authors on their site.
    all very amusing, but is it really Untold that is the playground?
    Mark, Arsenals results with Dean as ref have improved recently, applying the correlation you suggested at 12.59- are you now saying Wenger is regaining what you perceive as his lost mojo?

  8. Not bothered Mandy! Just intrigued by the consistent observation here that the AAAA appear to forget things like Arsenal victories! 😉

  9. PKB?
    He hasn’t been recently hired as Dave Whelen’s PR consultant has he?
    Being an Expert in PR, Football, Finance, physiotherapy (sports) etc…?

  10. The refereeing conspiracies on this site are pathetic, was never a problem when we were actually good enough to win the Premiership.

    Maybe the fact that Wenger went into the season with 6 recognised senior defenders (one of whom was a 19 year old kid we just bought to replace our captain), two 30+ year old CDM’s who’s best days are clearly behind them, 2 senior CF’s including one that has never even scored for us in a competitive match (Giroud was known to be injured in August until the new year) are worth a further look at than how all the refs are out to get us?

    We’re near December and we’ve won 6 match in all competitions this season, wins against Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Burnley, Galatasaray and Anderlecht. That’s not acceptable for a club of our size and it’s not acceptable from a man who’s earning close to £8 million a year.

  11. @Mark, when arsenal play poorly, Untold will usually admit it. When we lose due to ref errors, Untold is THE ONLY ONE that actually says something. In regards to if Mike Dean or Wenger has cost us more points?

    It is definitely Mike Dean over the years, since Wenger is not on the pitch tilting the field!

  12. @Gunz at 2.25pm. Definitely pilchard. Sorry, couldn’t resist taking the shot. Absolute Anti-Wenger Brigade (AAB) is a reality and most on UA refuse to take the bait to join. I guess that would be a cardinal sin in some books. But that’s alright, you can’t win them all.

  13. Jerry,

    I beg to differ. Wengers lack of tactical nouse has cost us many more points than Dean.

  14. @Jerry. Ouch! s-p-o-t on! Thanks a zillion for that link. Now it must be Wenger’s fault that the ref couldn’t contain his joy at Arsenal’s apparent ‘misfortune’? Surely. So much for the ‘straight-as-arrow’ image of an arbiter of the game.

  15. Stan ‘The Man’

    No bait, just outlining some hard truths that most on here would prefer to pretend come down to having a Northern ref on the pitch.

    I’m not a WOB or an AKB, anyone that uses those labels can’t have the brain age of far over 10.

    I support Arsenal it’s as simple as that.

    The real question should be, why is Wenger above criticism on here?

    I’m not saying that you should go out and grab your pitchforks and join in calling for his head but at least criticise him when it’s deserved.

  16. Eagle

    Well put. If Wenger committed murder by strangling somebody the Untolders would blame the victim for putting their neck in his hands!

  17. It’s in a way funny how the people who adore Peter above anyone else come in groups to Untold the last days. Maybe they are getting tired of reading the same shit every day and are desperate for some quality articles.
    Or did you agreed to come over here and teach us a lesson? Don’t dare to say it wasn’t mentioned in the last days/weeks….

  18. @Eagle. Simple answer. There’s more than enough criticism to be read wherever you look.
    Most of the flak thrown at him is unjustified imho. Note the word most, if you please. The man deserves to haveu some speak for him even when he goofs. We all need someone one on our side when we goof, dont you think?
    @Mark, if you happen to be one of his vitriolic critics, and you are content to watch your neck stray into Wenger’s hands, then whose fault is it?

  19. ‘It’s in a way funny how the people who adore Peter above anyone else come in groups to Untold the last days. Maybe they are getting tired of reading the same shit every day and are desperate for some quality articles’.

    LeGrove has amassed 179 posts so far today. Untold has 33. Are we going to blame the referee?

  20. It’s strange that Peter lovers don’t look for other reasons. Perhaps the master forbids them to think for themselves. How was the header again: where you don’t come to get an opinion but can have one…

    Well Untold is full of people who thought that this was real. But from the moment you gave another opinion you were thrown out. Or Peter changed your comment to make you look like an idiot. As he tried to do with me. But I discovered his little trick on how to make people with an opinion look bad.
    And you know what my opinion was that go be banned? Asking for people claiming to be Arsenal supporters to stop using and giving bad names to our own players. I didn’t mind they criticised the players or the managers but just asked to leave the insults behind.

    That opinion got me banned from Peters play ground.

  21. Eagle, if u are a regular reader here on UA, you will realize that A.Wenger is critizied when neccesary like late subs BUT with a loving and understandable tone. This is not like others that you rightly said would carry pitchforks to slaughter him even on things clearly not his fault like injuries, referees, individual player mistakes etc.
    Just watched the Dean celebration, this man is just a disgrace.

  22. Mark,

    Insulting each other is the way to act at Le Grove. Not over here.

    Do you also still do the first, second third, 4th, 5th thing over there? And then the: shit I thought I was first today.

    Or the comment : “first, excellent post Geoff (Or Pedro) as usual. off to read the post now.”

    And do they still count as real comments?

    Anyway what do you think of the article in the link I gave?

  23. Walter,

    I’m not going to defend Peter but a few thought the spuds would do well after investing so heavily. I have questioned Peters views a few times. He responds articulately with a reasoned argument or defends his stance while respecting a different point of view.

    Personally I am fed up of continually finishing third or fourth best with no intention of kicking on. We are always playing catch up where our squad is concerned. I was a staunch defender of Arsene until I saw the light around three or four seasons ago. I really feel the tide is turning and he is running out of time and supporters. Untold will serve as the last bastion of Arsene’s defenders.

  24. Now this actually is partly a good question from Mark: “Strange how the Dean v Arsenal table shows that the results go against us just as Wenger starts to lose his mojo!”

    But Maybe Mark could tell us what could have happened why “Wenger lost his mojo”

  25. So Mark, then why use the p kb thing in your first post?
    so your objective was not to have a serious debate but just to cause shit? And then go back to Le Grove to brag about it? Wasn’t it?

    In fact you are waiting to get banned over here and then you can brag about it some more.

    It’s all about the bragging rights for you I think?

  26. Wengereagle and Mark are the chosen ones from Le Grove to come to Untold today and to teach us a lesson. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  27. Mandy,
    Pedro is an advertising man you know, so his followers are being used to …advertise the man….

  28. In truth I think the table is irrelevant. There are too many variables. Different opponents. Injuries to key players. Generally though we have got weaker. We have purchased a few world class players but, in my opinion, aren’t being properly managed. They are played out of position, with a handful of decent players in a large mediocre squad. There is no ‘style’ of play except the usual ‘go out there and play your own game.’

  29. Mark,
    do you think that even the national press finding something strange about Dean and Arsenal is not something to suggest that we may have been right in calling Dean out?

  30. I actually checked and they still do the 1st, 2nd… thing over at Le Grove. 🙂 🙂

  31. Mark, please watch that youtube linked video and your testimony about Dean will change. Its jut 4mb

  32. Walter

    It’s not about teaching lessons I just don’t get why you refuse to call Wenger out on his mistakes and stoop as low as to blame the Referees for our results. No other site whinges about referees as much than this one.

    That’s why I find it hard to take you seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re being paid by the club. I’m all for being loyal and sticking by the club but there are times when criticism and accountability are needed.

    I’m calling bullshit on your little Le Grove story, what was your username over there?

  33. Eagle,
    Maybe because no other site has a few qualified referees like we do? So unlike most football supporters we do know a bit more about the laws of the game and how you can tilt the playing field? Maybe that is why we focus on that part and nobody else do.

    Oh come on the same old about being paid by the club…. do you really believe that bullshit yourself? Or is it your friends on le Grove who tell this and you believe it?

  34. Eagle,
    If I got the time I will see if I can still lay my hands on the evidence of my ban.

    But for the moment I have to leave as I have to referee a match this evening of reserves of the 1st division over here.

  35. Walter

    Qualified refs? What are these qualifications exactly?

    And when you are suggesting that there is ref bias, against who specifically? Anyone outside of the North or just Arsenal?

    Well as you refuse to criticse anything mistakes that Wenger makes and retort to others criticism with feeble witticisms like ‘why don’t you send your CV into Arsenal’ it does beg the question on whether you are paid by the club.

    What was your username on Le Grove? If your story is true then it will be banned and won’t show up in comments.

  36. The sound lemmings make when the are in free fall and discovere that they are well and truly f*cked !

  37. Eagle,
    Only because you ask about my qualifications as a ref as I am not really one to brag about myself.

    I will only give mine but other referee writers have even more credentials than me.
    Some 6 months ago I still did a match with a Jupiler League team in Belgium. Jupiler league is the highest league in Belgium which includes Anderlecht.
    I can say that I have done matches in all divisions in Belgium. Done matches with fifa accredited referees as an assistant.

    Got to dash now….
    So yes I don’t want to sound pretentious but I do have been around in referee world over here.

  38. I think I’ve seen it all. Eagle, Mark, and others should read aol the work done by the refs and their reviews at untold. Arsenal was not the only team found to have a bias against. Untold just asks for an equal field from a ref perspective. When the team plays bad and loses/draws (not because of ref errors), Untold is the first to admit it. If we listened to these people that spout bs like Peter, we would have lost great players like Wilshire, Walcott, Ramsey, and the Ox. They called for the removal of RVP, then after we sold him, we’re a selling club they claim. Following the delusional, will sink the team.

  39. If we did what some of those guys have suggested, we would have Moyes or Owen Coyle managing us Jerry.

  40. Not on topic, and not a joke (Brickfields is better).

    I am just back from the farm again. Today, among the stuff the CBC (Canadian version of BBC) The Current was talking about, was a movie called “Next Goal Wins”. It apparently played in Halfax, Nova Scotia tonight (or is currently playing?).

    This movie is about the football team from American Samoa, that had lost to Australia 31-0 about 10 years ago. The movie was directed by a pair from the UK (Steve Jamison and Mike Brett), and the manager at the time (Thomas Rongen) was also interviewed by the CBC. The film coverage includes the first game American Samoa won (vs Tonga, 2-1). Where the winning goal was scored by a transexual on the team (born male).

  41. Just in from the Ems – Wenger shot an Eagle with a Cannon and when the feathers settled it was found to have a Mark between its legs!!

  42. While I think most people recognise Arsene wanted an extra defender but missed out, it is a big leap to blame team performances on this alone. Firstly our young recruit has been playing better than last years TV5 and jenks, so the fact that he is young and TV5 was our captain are (to complete the fishy theme) red herrings. While were on facts we have lost more points from winning positions than any other team. This to most people who can look at the finer points of the beautiful game suggest that we are causing problems for teams for large periods of games however when we shape up after being in front the team and I use the the word team team emphatically here are losing concentration. If you look at alot of the goals weve conceded its not the back line that has been at fault. If you also consider Bellerin, Hayden and Ajayi and the fact we have had two major injuries in the back four this only six defenders thing is very weak.

  43. I hadn’t realised that he was LeG*ove, I thought he did an adult club site.

    I find it amazing that anyone should have so little understanding of the negative effect refs have consistently had on our results. Similarly the appalling way the media has treated AW, who is undoubtedly flawed but still the best option available to us (and a man that’s in love with AFC).

  44. I notice both “injured” Spanish players combined to score an offside goal for Chelsea. Cheating all the way….

  45. @Walter, yous are deluded, its so obvious ots not cheating, its Wenger fault. Just like the Ozone hole. All cause of Wenger. 😉

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