Does Mike Dean have something against Arsenal?

For all of their recent problems, it is not the kind of record you would link with Arsenal. Yet the North Londoners have won just one in seventeen that Mike Dean has taken charge of. The latest was the 2-0 home defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.

Many have backed up Dean’s decision to send off Laurent Koscielny. The same websites and newspapers who criticised the decision to award a penalty against Everton earlier this season because of shirt pulling in the area were only too keen to point out that the Frenchman had ‘rugby tackled’ Edin Dzeko to the ground. It was a foul, fair enough. But a red? Really?

According to the Mike Dean of a year ago, no. For it was he, Dean, who did not send off David Luiz for bringing down Demba Ba when he was the last man. The Brazilian yanked Ba to the floor as he raced clear in the Newcastle v Chelsea game, yet Dean decided not to dismiss him as Ba did not have control of the ball. Well, neither did Dzeko. And Dzeko had a lot more to do to beat Szczesny to the ball than Ba did.

So there it is. Inconsistency for one thing. Then there are the other strange decisions that have gone against Arsenal in games managed by Dean. The Birmingham game in 2008 when a penalty was given against Arsenal and Gael Clichy even though the Frenchman won the ball saw a crucial two points dropped which played a big role in the club’s failure to win the league that season.

Dean was also in charge of the Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham and the defeat to Bradford on penalties in the same competition this season. The only win Arsenal have had in Dean’s last 17 games officiating them was a 5-2 win over Tottenham last season. And even then a penalty was given against Arsenal to put Tottenham 2-0 up.

Most bizarre though, is for Arsenal to have won just one game of the last 17 with Dean. It is strange as Arsenal are a team who regularly finish in the top four, and win more games than they lose or draw. You would expect that on average the better a team does, the more games they would win irrespective of the referee in question. Manchester United have won eight of their last 12 games Dean has refereed, three of which have been against Arsenal. Manchester City and Chelsea have won 10 of their last 16 under Dean, and Spurs eight out of 16.

All of this adds up to the question, does Dean actually have something against Arsenal? Of course no one can really say apart from the man himself. Yet the inconsistent and erroneous decision making against Arsenal, and the number of games the club have won when Dean referees, is strange to say the least. You’d imagine the club would be more than justified to question the next time this referee is appointed to take charge of one of their games.