Plenty of chat this week about Mike Dean being appointed to oversee the North London Derby this weekend, with many Arsenal fans having the perception that Dean is biased against Arsenal and/or towards Spurs. Maybe he is, I have no conclusive proof either way.
What I do know is that of all the refs who have officiated at a minimum of 8 Arsenal league matches since the start of the 2007-08 season, Mike Dean is almost at the bottom of the points-per-game table. Only Michael Oliver has seen less success for the Gunners.
At the other end of the table, Chris Foy (now retired), Jonathan Moss and Mike Jones have all proved twice as beneficial as Mike Dean. Here’s the full table, with current refs in black and those now retired in brown.
This does not of course mean that Mike Dean is biased or hates Arsenal (though both are clearly possible). Also he may or may not be a poor ref, though if he were poor and unbiased then he’d make mistakes both ways and the average points would probably be unaffected by his actions.
What we need to take into account is that Dean often gets given the big games – you may think he’s rubbish, but the Premier League and PGMOL don’t. So of Dean’s 38 Arsenal games in this period, 20 have been against other members of the Big 6 – Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea and the two Mancs. By contrast, Jonathan Moss and Mike Jones’s combined 36 games featured only two against Big 6 opponents, both of which were drawn, for an average of one point per game.
Also bear in mind that Arsenal’s average points per game against the others of the Big 6 in this period is not good. Not good at all:
- v Man Utd – 0.78
- v Chelsea – 0.95
- v Man City – 1.15
- v Liverpool – 1.52
- v Spurs – 1.22
Four of the five averages there are lower than the average Arsenal get with Mike Dean; the tally v Man Utd is frankly pathetic. Even if you look only at Mike Dean matches against the other Big 6, Arsenal still average 0.955 points – higher than the overall averages against Man U and Chelsea.
I’m not saying Mike Dean is a great ref, or that he won’t give some bizarre decision this weekend that leads to a Spurs goal and possibly a victory; I’m just saying he’s clearly not Arsenal’s biggest problem when it comes to winning big matches.