Blaming the referee is always tempting when a game doesn’t go your way. Every club has their most hated match official, and Mike Dean has certainly been singled out by Arsenal fans as a traditional scapegoat.
Over the years, Mike Dean has officiated some of Arsenal’s most forgettable performances. Examples that spring to mind are the bitter defeat at Spurs in 2011, and more recently, crashing out of the Capital one Cup against Bradford.
“On that day, a seed of hatred was planted by all Gunners for Mike Dean…”
However, more notably, in 2008, Arsenal fought a heart-breaking battle away at Birmingham, with striker Eduardo breaking his leg in the process. Arsenal got their noses in front via Theo Walcott, but in the dying moments, Mike Dean incorrectly awarded Birmingham a penalty, and McFadden slotted the ball home to make it a draw.
The result at Birmingham proved to be the undoing of Arsenal that season. They dropped from the top of the table, ending yet another season – trophyless. On that day, a seed of hatred was planted by all Gunners for Mike Dean, and after last weekend’s performance against Manchester City, that hatred seemed to have fully blossomed.
But are the outbursts against Mike Dean justified? Our interactive Infographic below paints a vivid picture.
Blame Where It’s Due
Before I continue, I’d like to point out that I’m very much in favour of highlighting poor refereeing. Statistics will never be able to portray the level of incorrect calls made by Mike Dean, and we know that he has made many. However, the facts undeniably show that Mike Dean doesn’t in fact display any bias against Arsenal.
“Mike Dean is certainly no lucky charm for Arsenal, but he’s no foe either.”
With that being established, we need to concentrate our energy on blaming those who truly deserve it, to aid improvement.
Individuals making costly errors will easily lose you games, and Mike Dean is no exception. However, I’d much rather see us scolding the players who are at fault, rather than the official’s decision.
Of course, the most recent example is Laurent Koscielny against Manchester City. But unfortunately, his case is one of many.
If we want to see Arsenal improving, we have to be ready to dish out criticism to our players when necessary. Mike Dean is certainly no lucky charm for Arsenal, but he’s no foe either.