Mike Dean is set to referee Arsenal’s trip to Sheffield United on Monday and, say it quietly, that hasn’t been a terrible omen for the last few years.
The Premier League has confirmed Mike Dean will take charge of refereeing the match, with Andre Marriner on the VAR.
As unbelievable as it might seem, Arsenal’s record in matches refereed by Dean has actually been very good recently. In the Premier League, the Gunners have won all but one of their eight matches since the start of 2017, and they’ve also won both cup games in that period.
The major caveat to that stat is the one game Arsenal didn’t win, a 1-1 draw with West Brom, which was heavily impacted by Dean’s refereeing. A dodgy penalty gave the hosts a last-minute equaliser that day.
Dean has given two penalties for Arsenal and two against them since the start of 2017, and no red cards in any of those games.
You’d expect a big-six club to win more penalties than they give away, on average, but to be fair Arsenal may understandably be the exception.
None of this changes the fact that Dean’s refereeing style still appears attention-seeking and inconsistent. You never know what’s going to happen when he’s officiating, and the players certainly don’t seem to enjoy having him in charge.
I’d prefer to have a different referee for Arsenal matches, but whilst the Gunners are winning, the justification to complain is lessened somewhat.
When he sends three Arsenal players off on Monday normal service will resume.