The London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea was a huge disappointment. Not just the goalless draw, but poor officiating, possibly even bias, from Mike Dean, allowing Chelsea players like John Obi Mikel to tackle harshly all match long without penalizing anyone, and ignoring a clear penalty by Willian on Theo Walcott.
After the match, Arsene Wenger couldn’t hold back from speaking about the referee. He mentioned he did not see the two incidents on TV yet and only has his view from the pitch to guide him, but he was quite right in saying he felt Dean got those decisions quite wrong.
Jose Mourinho? He seemed happy with the draw. His players parked the bus in the second half, although Mourinho would prefer calling it playing with caution and counter attacking. The football we saw from Chelsea in the first half was counter attacking, and it also what almost brought them the goal. The second half? Just passing time until the match was over. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to play for a draw, but it just doesn’t feel right when a team that’s spent so much money on attacking talent plays in such a cowardly manner, ignoring the talent it has.
Mourinho obviously didn’t see things the way Wenger did, referring to Arsenal players as cry babies. Being a foreign manager in England didn’t stop him from saying that Arsenal foreign players like to complain, and that it’s in their blood. His foreign players? Very different I suppose.
So Mike Dean got his big decisions wrong, but not just that. A referee sets a tone with his consistency and inconsistency; the way he handles early situations. Dean came into the match not wanting to whip out the cards, preferring to waste time with meaningless lectures. Goalless draws are often blamed on the players and managers, but referees who slow down the match with their lectures, not to mention terrible eyesight, are just as much to blame.
Arsenal can look to the past and confirm Dean has it in for them. A top 4 club since the phrase was coined, they’ve been terrible when Dean is the official in their matches since the 2009-2010 season. How bad? One win in 15 matches.
Arsenal have won two more matches and drawn one more since this chart was created, but it’s still an appalling record considering how well they do most of the time. Maybe it has something to do with Dean being the official in many of their big matches. You can take that to either direction – either Arsenal suck in big matches, or it has something to do with the man holding the whistle.