Mike Dean is always the centre of attention so it might not be a bad thing he’s been appointed referee for Arsenal’s trip to Sunderland at the weekend.
The referee has a history of high-profile incidents going against the Gunners, sending off Gabriel and Santi Cazorla at Chelsea earlier on this season despite allowing Diego Costa to get away with an incredible number of bad challenges.
In the past, Arsenal fans have even tried to start petitions to stop Dean taking control of our matches. It’s that bad.
Since the defeat at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, Dean has only been appointed to one Arsenal game: the 0-0 draw with Hull City in the FA Cup. That game was a dull one but Dean still managed to not award Arsenal with a penalty despite a clear handball in the box.
Last season, only Manchester United beat Arsenal with Dean as referee and he even gave us a penalty at Manchester City. Maybe he’s mellowed?
Probably not. Always the most important man on the pitch, Dean has given nine penalties and eight red cards in 29 Premier League games this season. Sunderland were on the receiving end of one of those penalties and, scrapping for their lives in the league, they’ll almost definitely give him big decisions to make again this time around.