It was an afternoon to forget for Arsenal and a smooth one for Chelsea to bring their title fight back on. But how did it go for the match referee Mike Dean? Certainly, not without scratches but a heavily controversial and criticizable outing for him.
Diego Costa escaped the red card despite catching Koscielny’s face with his arm and chestbutting him down to the ground. Rather, Gabriel was sent off as a victim of Costa’s dirty tricks. Later on, Costa was not shown a second yellow despite doing a bookable offence on Chamberlain. This sort of situation puts the match official’s credibility in question and prompts us to look into his past records. Whether it’s surprise or not, he has been found in the middle of controversies in quite a few matches involving Arsenal’s bitter London rivals.
To start with, we move to Old Trafford, where the potential ‘Title-decider’ match between Chelsea and Manchester United was being played. It did not turn out to be a pleasant experience for Dean, who had been heavily criticized in media for turning down three Manchester United penalty appeals. Chelsea won that match 2-1 and Didier Drogba’s decider should have been ruled out due to offside, as video replay confirms later. Even United’s Macheda scored with his hands later on without drawing an attention from the referee. These incidents drew Alex Ferguson’s discontent over the appointment of Mike Dean in such an important game of the season.
In December 2011, again a Chelsea match and Mike Dean was found in the thick of the things. David Luiz fouled Demba Ba while the Sengalese striker was through on goal. According to the rulebook of football, it is sending off offence preventing a sure-shot goalscoring opportunity. To Alan Pardew’s utter surprise and disappointment, Luiz just received a yellow.
Nigel Pearson, in recent times, has described Dean as “one of the most arrogant people” he had met. This comment was an after-effect of a match between Spurs and Leicester. The Foxes lost that close fight 4-3 as the match saw a highly debatable penalty decision awarded in favour of Tottenham when David Nugent collided with Danny Rose.
Mike Dean’s love for Tottenham is not new. A popular internet video in a renowned Video-sharing site shows that he seemed to be jumping in celebration when Spurs striker Louis Saha scored against Arsenal. Before that match, Arsenal has only won one game out of last 12 games he took the charge.
Now, after Saturday’s match, Arsene Wenger also joins the list of managers furious over the 47 year old English referee. Now, time will tell if FA will take any disciplinary action against him or will he get a benefit of doubt over his imminent preference to Arsenal’s London neighbours?