There are a number of referees who strike fear in Arsenal fans hearts these days for more reasons than just their general incompetence.
Mike Dean, Jon Moss and Anthony Taylor are three of them in recent years, but which is the worst?
Most supporters seem to believe these three have it in for the Gunners.
So we’re going to take a look at a few different statistics to see which one fans really should worry about.
A good place to start is with the record Arsenal have under each of the three referees.
Here’s the overall record and win percentage for each official:
- Jon Moss – 15 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss (88% win rate).
- Anthony Taylor – 14 wins, 6 draws, 2 losses (64% win rate).
- Mike Dean – 27 wins, 21 draws, 16 losses (42% win rate).
So the Gunners have the worst win rate under Mike Dean, and the best under Jon Moss.
However, there are other factors in play here.
For example, Moss has never refereed Arsenal against any of the big six clubs. So you’d expect the Gunners to win most of their matches under him.
Anthony Taylor and Mike Dean have refereed more matches against the big clubs (27% and 39% of their matches respectively). So the win rate under each referee is roughly consistent with the difficulty of the matches.
Another factor to consider is whether the record has changed much over time.
For example, even though Arsenal have only dropped points under Jon Moss three times, all of those were in the last seven games. The previous 11 were all wins.
Looking at just the last three seasons (2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18), here are the adjusted results:
- Anthony Taylor – 8 wins, 2 draws, 0 losses (80% win rate).
- Jon Moss – 6 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss (67% win rate).
- Mike Dean – 3 wins, 4 draws, 1 loss (38% win rate).
Clearly Arsenal have done much better with Anthony Taylor recently, much worse with Jon Moss, and roughly the same with Mike Dean.
Dean is the front-runner for worst Arsenal referee at this stage.
Moving onto penalties, we’ll look at how many penalties each referee gives Arsenal, how many they give their opponents, and the difference between the two numbers.
Penalties for and against your club should vaguely balance out over time, that’s why the difference between the numbers is key to establishing which referee is harshest in the box.
Finally, we’ll look at the difference-per-game:
- Jon Moss – 3 penalties for Arsenal, 1 against. That’s 2 more penalties for the Gunners overall, or 0.11 for the team per game.
- Mike Dean – 3 penalties for Arsenal, 7 against. That’s 4 more penalties against the Gunners overall, or 0.06 against the game per game.
- Anthony Taylor – 2 penalties for Arsenal, 4 against. That’s 2 more penalties against the Gunners overall, or 0.09 against the team per game.
Anthony Taylor edges this one, and Jon Moss actually has a very favourable record for the Gunners compared to the other two.
Lastly, we’ll look at red cards in a similar way to penalties.
Again, red cards for and against your side should vaguely balance out over time.
You’d actually expect Arsenal to receive fewer than their opponents, given their less aggressive play-style.
Here are the results:
- Jon Moss – 2 red cards for Arsenal, 2 for opponents. It balances.
- Anthony Taylor – 3 red cards for Arsenal, 3 for opponents. This one balances as well.
- Mike Dean – 6 red cards for Arsenal, 5 red cards for opponents. That’s 1 more red card for Arsenal, or 0.02 per game.
Unsurprisingly, none of them favour Arsenal, even though they probably should.
Jon Moss has the best record, since he’s given the fewest red cards to the Gunners, and the fewest per game as well.
Jon Moss is the best referee for the Gunners of the three, and Mike Dean is by far the worst, even taking into account the fact he referees more big games.
Arsenal’s record shouldn’t be as bad as it is in every aspect, and certainly not significantly worse than other referees notorious for being harsh on the club.
But don’t worry, Arsene Wenger has been banned for questioning Dean’s integrity while Dean carries on unimpeded.
It’s all good.