by Andrew Crawshaw
Well the PGMO are certainly ensuring that they do everything in their power to ensure that we remain well out of the Champions League places. After Martin Atkinson on 22 December, Michael Oliver on 28 December we have Mike Dean on the 31st. And in case you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Anthony Taylor for Chelsea next Wednesday.
- Referee – Mike Dean Age 49 from Mersyside
- Assistant Referee 1 – Simon Long from Suffolk
- Assistant Referee 2 – Darren Cann
- Fourth Official – Lee Mason Age 45 from Lancashire
This will be our third match this season with Mr Dean. Surprisingly we have won both of the previous two
Arsenal v Leicester 11 August (4 – 3) An excellent start from Arsenal Lacazette with his first club goal inside 2 minutes bur Leicester make it one all within five. Vardy making it 2 – 1 to the Foxes on the half hour mark. Dean then intervening to deny Arsenal a penalty following handball by Ndidi but Arsenal equalise on the stroke of halftime through Wellbeck. Vardy restoring Leicester’s advantage early in the second half. Arsenal bring on the entire attacking force and Ramsey makes it 3 – 3 with 7 minutes to go. Giroud then puts us in front for the first time since the 5th minute with a header in the 86th minute. We should have had a fifth but for another intervention by Mr Dean inventing a ‘phantom foul’ when Smeichal was out of his goal and we could have had a shot into an empty net.
A win despite interventions from Mr Dean who probably cost us two goals.
Arsenal v Tottenham 18 November (2 – 0) Kane not given offside in the first 15 minutes but couldn’t convert that advantage into anything concrete. Xhaka getting a justified yellow on the half hour mark. Arsenal make it one nil when a Mustafi header loops over Lloris in the 36th minute. The TV crews trying very hard to prove that Mustafi was a millimetre offside but this was not visible to the naked eye of the linesman so the goal rightly stood (and no, it didn’t in any way compensate for the offside goal that City scored). Dean supporting Tottenham with minor decisions or by getting in the way. in Min 42 Bellerin finds Lacazette level with the last Tottenham defender, his cross found Alexis in the centre who duly makes it 2-0 at half time. Again no question of offside – Lacazette’s arm doesn’t count, his torso, legs and head were all onside.
In the second half Kane gets a yellow card for a tackle from behind on Xhaka. Arsenal defending well and Spurs offering little attacking threat. Kane and Alli both substituted before the end. Llorente should have had at least a yellow and probably a red card for a studs in challenge on Bellerin (a really dirty snide foul and missed by the match officials). The ubiquitous non-awarded penalty to Arsenal when Alexis is fouled by the last defender.
This was a match where we gave Mr Dean little opportunity to influence the result and were justifiable winners. The minor interventions that Mr Dean was able to make were really of no consequence.
As with Thursday’s Match preview I am not inclined to go over our entire back history with Mr Dean. I covered that pretty well in my previous of the Spurs match in November.
Do I trust Mr Dean on Sunday?
Not as far as I can kick him but of the four referees I mentioned in my opening paragraph this is the game I am least worried about. If we turn up and play anywhere near our capabilities it is a game we really should be able to win. Probably not comfortably but at this point we need the three points.
Mr Dean is always capable of turning an Arsenal game upside down and we shouldn’t expect to be given any help in the way of penalties or free kicks in dangerous areas without our players being decapitated.
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