Stoke v Arsenal. Mike Dean is the referee. A note about what that means.

By Tony Attwood

Unfortunately Andrew is away on holiday and can’t do his normal referee preview, and I certainly don’t feel qualified to stand in his shoes.

So all I can do is pick a highlight or two from the fact that the referee is Mike Dean.

As you will probably know the Untold team of three reviewed each and every game from the point of view of referees for the first 160 games of this season in the Premier League.

Here is a summary table showing the breakdown by referee and type of decision for all 543 decisions (the Right decisions are shown in Green, those we adjudged to be wrong are shown red) :-

Ref Games All Decisions 2nd Yellow Cards Red Cards Pens Goals
Right Wrong R W R W R W W
Andre Marriner 12 20 24 0 7 1 7 19 9 1
Anthony Taylor 14 18 26 0 5 3 8 15 10 3
Craig Pawson 11 12 26 1 3 0 11 11 9 3
Graham Scott 3 7 8 0 0 1 4 6 3 1
Jon Moss 12 11 23 0 7 2 7 9 6 3
Kevin Friend 8 8 13 0 3 0 6 8 3 1
Lee Mason 8 8 15 1 2 0 4 7 6 3
Mark Clattenburg 11 24 23 2 7 0 9 22 6 1
Martin Atkinson 11 8 22 0 6 0 10 8 5 1
Michael Oliver 14 13 32 0 7 0 11 13 12 2
Mike Dean 12 19 26 1 5 0 9 18 8 4
Mike Jones 9 16 18 0 6 0 6 16 4 2
Neil Swarbrick 9 14 8 0 1 0 3 14 3 1
Paul Tierney 4 7 4 0 1 0 2 7 1 0
Robert Madley 13 20 32 1 4 0 15 19 12 1
Roger East 5 9 15 0 2 2 3 7 8 2
Stuart Attwell 4 7 7 0 2 0 3 7 2 0
TOTAL 160 221 322 6 68 9 118 206 107 29

So you can see Dean part way down.  12 games, 19 big decisions right and 26 wrong in the first 160 games of the season.  1 second yellow offence right and five of them wrong.  No red card offences right, and nine of them wrong.

On penalties as with most referees he got most right – largely I suspect because he had the support or direction of an assistant – he got 18 right and 8 wrong.  He got four goals wrong.

So when it comes to making decisions, if Dean was replaced by a computer which handed out decisions at random each time there was a major incident, the computer (getting 50% right and 50% wrong) would do better than Dean.  Only on penalties would Dean beat the computer.

Back in 2013 we did an analysis of refereeing at that time on a club by club basis and this is what we found for Stoke…









% games


















So Stoke has a win percentage of 30% of their games overall.

Dean was one of the referees who came in the average range of refs which meant Stoke did no better or worse that the norm when Dean was in charge.   There were seven refs who can be classified in the average category.

At the time we noted that the good refs did around 38% of the Stoke games. So was not all that bad for Stoke.   We spotted worse numbers in our reviews of other clubs. With more bad refs per team and a higher influence of those refs.

So Dean and Stoke: no complaints.

But back in October 2015 we did another special on Dean and noted at the time that we have by then published over 100 articles linked to him.  In most of these articles we showed that Mike Dean is costing Arsenal lots of points most of the time.

We then noted an independent analysis of Mike Dean posted by Professor Andy Field, Professor of Child Psychopathology at Brighton (where I studied in fact – a very long time ago) and author of (among other things) of ‘An adventure in statistics: the reality enigma’ and ‘Discovering Statistics’.  I have an empathy with this guy as he lists in his interest section “Playing Guitar, Music, Football.”  Good man.

We published a link to a fascinating blog that the Professor had published and which cast Mr Dean in a most dubious light.  And what do you know?  That blog was then removed.  I am sure that it was just a coincidence of course.

In the article (before it was removed) the professor took into account the different opponents to see if there is something wrong with Dean in Arsenal matches or not. And to no one’s surprise he came to the same conclusion as we did: Mike Dean in charge of an Arsenal match brings strange results.

If I may quote little bit of this article the Professor said at the end:

“I’ll admit that to the casual reader this blog is going to be a lot more tedious than 7amkickoff’s. However, what I lack in readability I gain in applying some proper stats to the data. Whatever way you look at it, Mike Dean, statistically speaking does predict poorer outcomes for Arsenal.

“There could be any number of other explanations for these data, but you’d think that the FA might want to have a look at that. Arsenal’s results under Mike Dean are significantly different to under other referees, and these models show that this is more than simply the random fluctuations in results that happen with any sports team.”

Remember, that was the Professor, not us.

But alas the PGMO and the FA don’t to any statistics.  Unless of course they persuaded the professor to take his blog down, but they wouldn’t do that would they?  Or maybe leaned on the university?

The point is, when he gets a Stoke game, other than when they are playing Arsenal, Dean does them reasonably accurately (or at least what passes for reasonably accurately in the odd world of the PGMO.  But when he gets Arsenal…

Well it is a different matter.

There are a lot of articles around today about Stoke and Arsenal, with two Stoke managers (one past and one present) complaining about Arsene Wenger.  In amongst those there are comments of course by Pulis who says in passing,  “In London 48 hours later and 150 miles away from Stoke-on-Trent, Mr Wenger changed tack and has tried to rewrite history. Remember there was only one red card on Saturday and the last time I watched the game it certainly was not a Stoke City player who received it.

“As for Rory Delap’s challenges on Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna, Rory is as honest and committed as they come. They were free-kicks, but Rory would never purposely go out to injure a fellow professional, it’s just not in Rory’s nature.”

In another interview Pulis said, “”I know Shawcross, he has no bad blood in him whatsoever. It is a desperately sad day for football, for Aaron and for Arsenal. I accept that.”

Now let me take you back to the notion that Mr Wenger is playing fast and loose with reality.  And the fact that this accusation is made by the man who last year lost a High Court case and was ordered to pay £3.7 million damages to his former club Crystal Palace for playing fast and loose with reality.  Among the many comments made were those by the judge to the effect that Pulis had “deliberately misled” Palace chairman Steve Parish.

The court added, ”By any standards his conduct (prior to and during the litigation) has been shown to be disgraceful.”

Sadly, such matters are not mentioned by newspapers who simply publish Pulis’ complaints against Arsenal.  And of course those of the current Stoke manager.

Mark Hughes has, I believe, not been hauled up before the courts although did get an £8000 fine for misconduct earlier this year.  Also this year (in February) Hughes revealed that Pulis left a voicemail on his former captain’s mobile phone calling him a ‘loser’ for alleging that West Brom had leaked details of Saido Berahino’s failed drugs test.   Berahino was sold by Pulis to Hughes in the January transfer window.

They are all such jolly fellows aren’t they?

Sorry this isn’t all about the ref, but as I say, I don’t have Andrew’s knowledge or skill.  But what you could do is watch this video instead.  It has nothing to do with Stoke, and thus is much nicer.

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18 Replies to “Stoke v Arsenal. Mike Dean is the referee. A note about what that means.”

  1. Referee Mike Dean is too average and well below the endured level in correct decision making and at a high level in wrong decision making in his PL matches referring this season for my liking according to the statistics provided in this article posting.

    Therefore, Let the Gunners prepared themselves mentally and physically to deal with any unintentional and intentional wrong decisions making which ref’ Mike Dean may or could make against Arsenal in the game during the entire course of playing the game and come out from the match with all the essential 3 points at stake in the match.

  2. OT.
    Today being Friday and we play against Stoke tomorrow Saturday, I’ve surfed the net all day but I’ve not yet been to but I cannot see to read the usual pre game Le Prof’s press conference from any media outlets I’ve been to.

    It’s on the rumour mill in the media again that Arsenal want to sign Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid again, again again, again and again – 5 seasons, in this coming summer window. But I asked myself, for how long will Arsenal be making attempts to sign Morata? For eternity? If at all the media reports are correct.

    For his quality to efficiently plays in all front 4 positions, I am one Arsenal die hard supporter that agitated for the signing of Morata by Arsenal when the news first emerged that he was going to be signable. But on the condition that no buyback clause of after a 2-3 year spell with Arsenal be written into the transfer document transferring him to Arsenal. And I still stand by my stance.

    But if at the long run we managed to get a 4th place table finish this season to play in the CL next season and if it’s true Arsenal want to sign Morata and guarantee him a starting role, but Le said he doesn’t do that but if he won’t in the case of signing Morata, I perceive the transfer will fall through because that’d what reportedly stopped Vardy from signing for Arsenal this season.

    If Arsenal Signs Morata, will he be used to replace Lucas Perez who from all indications has fallen out of Le Prof’s favour?

  3. A man is served whisky on a Flight….

    The Flight attendant asks the Priest seated next to him, whether he would like a drink too?

    Priest: “I would rather be raped by a dozen prostitutes than let liquor touch my lips”.

    The man returns the drink saying:”Me too, I didn’t know we had a choice”

  4. Brickfields, are you saying the priest would rather “licker” touched his lips, than liqour?

  5. Wins for today: Everton to beat Watford, WBA to beat Chelsea at home.


    Did you know that Watford (Hertfordshire) predates USAians saying “What Ford should I buy?”.

  6. I fear as to the reason why Dean has been given this match.
    He comes from the Wirral. Yep next door to Liverpool.
    Who are Arsenal hoping to knock out of the top 4 ?
    Well well well it’s Liverpool.
    Dean has previous with Arsenal, expect nothing different.

  7. Stokies hate Dean at least as much as we do, I’m expecting an awful performance against both sides.

  8. I bet within 5 minutes of the start, he’s made it all about him!

    Could be cards, but he could swing either way – or maybe both 😉

  9. Say whatever you like about Dean but he knows the rules – forwards, backwards, sideways and inside out. He knows the rules. The problem comes with his often baffling interpretation of the rules at times.

    For certain we are most unlikely to get a penalty, I think he has given one in the last 8 years. One against us is quite possible though.

    Mind though the one Arsenal game he has done so far he was as good as gold and he gave us no problems at all.

    Difficult to predict but years of his odd refereeing make me very fearful, particularly with the recent history between the clubs.

    Could do with an early Arsenal goal to calm nerves!


  10. Half time at Everton. Watford picked up an unsportmanlike yellow, and as a result of that, a dissent yellow for complaining. No score. Everton have 3 on target, Watford has 1.

    Approaching half time at WBA. WBA have 2 yellow cards, no score, shots on target even (2).

  11. The most interesting part of this is that the blog, which went into considerable detail and was unequivocal in its findings, has been taken down. Now that I find both sinister and frightening.

  12. So I withdraw the frightening and sinister piece.
    However, read the article. Doesn’t matter if you’re not a statiristicale pert you can get the point – that The results iof Arsenal games with Dean in charge show some very, very odd characteristics.

  13. Thanks for the link, nice article.

    Everton won, 1-0.

    Chelsea got a goal (who is Batshuayi?) with 7 minutes left. Now 3 minutes into time added on for stoppages.


    But Santi Cazorla is still out injured. 🙂

  14. It might be one of those games, but players have got to learn to deal with it. I noticed they seem to get up more quickly when they get kocked down.

    Hope Santi can play some role next season though. A talent not to be thrown away really.

  15. Para

    But how do you ‘Learn to deal with it’? I think that is far too simplistic.

    You try to stand on your feet. You don’t get your foul/Penalty.

    You go down. It’s waved away, or worse you’re booked for diving.

    You don’t complain about the hacks. They carry on unabated.

    You do complain. You’re waved away, or worse booked for dissent.

    That’s the problem Para. When a team is cheating and the ref is allowing it, there’s not much you can do.

    If a ref is determined to ’tilt’ the game in favour of our opposition, winning is almost impossible.

    I have one hope for today, and that is the fact that with the title decided and most of the relegation issues too, what is there left for SKY/BT’s final day bonanza except the ‘battle for 4th’ ?

    It’s surely in their best interests to keep that battle alive until the final day, and that means us winning today.

    Yes hope, but I must admit a pretty forlorn one.

    But I fully expect the absolute worst of Dancing Dean today. I expect to get beat. 3-0 is my prediction.

    We will end up with 10 mean. Xhaka.

    We will not get a penalty.

    Stoke will.

    Sanchez will be kicked with impunity.

    I cannot watch today as I am working, and I’m sad to say, I’m not that fussed because Dean will turn it into a farce.

    I just hope I end up with egg on my face. It wont be the first time that’s for sure.

  16. I think on Untold, we should adopt the term “Hazarding”. This will save writing “the player cleverly tripped himself, and got a free kick by bluffing the referee”.

    It can apply to any player, not just the diving little fella at Chelsea!

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