Mike Dean will take charge of our trip to West Ham on Monday night as we move back into our rotation of regular refs with just three taking charge of 60% of Arsenal’s games this season.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 21: Match Referee Mike Dean shows the Yellow card during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Arsenal FC at Bramall Lane on October 21, 2019 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 21: Match Referee Mike Dean shows the Yellow card during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Arsenal FC at Bramall Lane on October 21, 2019 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

This season, Arsenal were given little variety in the refs appointed to take charge of their games until the Wolves match recently when Michael Oliver broke up the Martin Atkinson/Mike Dean/Anthony Taylor monopoly on Arsenal games.

Monday night will be Mike Dean’s third Arsenal game of the season meaning he will have taken charge of 20% of Arsenal’s league games so far by the time Arsenal have reached 10 games without a win.

Given that Martin Atkinson has refereed four himself and Monday will be our 15th game, that’s 47% of Arsenal’s matches run by just two officials.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Danny Rose of Tottenham Hotspur speaks with referee Martin Atkinson during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on September 01, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 01: Danny Rose of Tottenham Hotspur speaks with referee Martin Atkinson during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on September 01, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Add in Anthony Taylor, who has had 13% of our games, and that’s 60% of Arsenal’s Premier League matches this season officiated by just three men.

How can that be right?

Don’t believe me?

home/away opposition result score referee
away Newcastle win 0-1 Martin Atkinson
home Burnley win 2-1 Mike Dean
away Liverpool defeat 1-3 Anthony Taylor
home Tottenham draw 2-2 Martin Atkinson
away Watford draw 2-2 Anthony Taylor
home Aston Villa win 3-2 Jon Moss
away Man United draw 1-1 Kevin Friend
home Bournemouth win 1-0 Martin Atkinson
away Sheffield United defeat 0-1 Mike Dean
home Crystal Palace draw 2-2 Martin Atkinson
home Wolves draw 1-1 Michael Oliver
away Leicester defeat 0-2 Chris Kavanagh
home Southampton draw 2-2 Stuart Atwell
away Norwich draw 2-2 Paul Tierney
home Brighton defeat 1-2 Graham Scott
away West Ham Mike Dean

 

There are 18 Premier League referees this season, enough for Arsenal to have a different one per-game and still not have seen used them all.

It is impossible for referees not to form biases, conscious or unconscious, when they are in charge of the same players so often. It simply cannot be fair. I don’t know if the same thing happens with other teams and referees, but it shouldn’t.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Arsenal is shown a yellow card by referee Martin Atkinson during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on September 01, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 01: Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Arsenal is shown a yellow card by referee Martin Atkinson during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on September 01, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

It is perhaps, then, no coincidence that Arsenal sit at the top of the yellow card table, and have done all season, receiving more per game than any other side. They also need fewer fouls to pick up a yellow than everyone else, too.

It’s worth noting that before we got a better mix of referees, Arsenal were some distance clear at the top in both categories but that gap has narrowed over recent weeks with new faces put in charge.

Of course, Arsenal’s woes are not down to the officials, no matter who they are, but as I mentioned post-Brighton, Arsenal being are crap doesn’t mean we have to stop discussing other things, too.

Monday night’s officials vs West Ham

  • Referee: Mike Dean
  • Assistant: Ian Hussin
  • Assistant: Dan Robathan
  • Fourth official: Lee Mason
  • VAR: Kevin Friend
  • VAR Assistant: Andy Halliday
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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.