Mike Dean 2-0 Arsenal: By the Numbers


I’m going to be asked repeatedly and with demand for greater and greater detail so I’m just going to give you data on Mike Dean. This site called football-lineups.com has the most accessible stats for Dean so I am using that for most things and transfermarkt.co.uk for some others.

There is an image from 2 years ago floating around Twitter which shows Arsenal with a 7% win rate when Dean is the official for an Arsenal match in Premier League play. I went ahead and added in the last two years of League matches and as you can see Arsenal have done slightly better since that nadir.

DeanArsenal’s win% in the Premier League since 2009 is 57% so a 24% win rate is quite anomalous.

That’s just Premier League games. In all competitions Dean has refereed Arsenal 30 times total since the start of the 2009/10 season and in that time has refereed 18 “big matches” between Arsenal and Chelsea, Man City, Man U, or Tottenham. As an odd side note, Dean has never refereed an Arsenal-Liverpool match.

If we split his record into two categories — big matches and regular matches — we get two different win%’s over this time:

  • big matches 3/18, 17% winning
  • regular matches 5/12, 42% winning

If we put Tottenham in the “regular” group, then Arsenal have won 1/15 times (Man City, 2-0) against top four rivals when Mike Dean is the referee and there’s your 7% win rate. But even adding those two wins into the regular group (raising it to 7/15) only gets Arsenal up to a win% of 46% which is far below Wenger’s career winning rate of 58%. Note that Wenger’s win% since 2009 is basically the same as his career win rate. Wenger’s great strength as a manager is that he’s remarkably consistent.

Let’s put those big matches in context. Arsenal have played Chelsea, Man City, Man U, and Spurs 49 times since August 2009 and won 11 times (Premier League only). That’s a win rate of 22%. However, we already know that Dean is dragging Arsenal’s win% down so, if we remove the Dean effect, Arsenal have won 8/31 for a 26% win rate.

 Premier League Since 2009 p w win%
Matches against Chelsea, Man U , Man City, and Spurs 49 11 22%
Matches against (CMUMCS) no Dean 31 8 26%
Matches against (CMUMCS) with Dean 18 3 17%

One major reason why Arsenal haven’t been able to win those games is that of those 30 appearances, Dean has given 7 red cards in 5 matches (he’s given 2 red cards in 2 different matches). Those red cards have almost always come in the big games (Chelsea, City, United, Spurs, and Newcastle) and they have almost all gone against Arsenal (5/7). Red cards almost always mean a certain loss for the team that goes down a man so it’s no surprise that Arsenal have lost all but one, the Spurs match where he awarded a red card to Scotty Parker. The only other time Dean has awarded a red card to the opposition was after Arsenal had already had a man sent off and gone down 2-0 to Man City.

Penalties are a similar situation. Dean has awarded 6 penalties in the last 30 Arsenal games he’s been in charge, 5 have been for the opposition and one for the Arsenal. Arsenal have only won 2 of the games in which Mike Dean awarded a penalty: the 2-0 win over Man City and the 5-2 win over Tottenham. It’s also a fact that the pens he awards almost always come in the big games with 5 of them in the matches against big teams and just the one he awarded to Burnley.

The Match

Chelsea dominated every aspect, as you would expect against a 9 man Arsenal. When the end of the season rolls around and we are compiling the data this match will certainly be the anomaly. Unless we see another match where Arsenal go down to 9 men.

It’s deceptive to talk about individual players stats in the context of playing down two men because it artificially makes the opposition’s numbers higher and the red card team’s number’s lower. So, yes, Hazard was a star dribbler and playmaker, Fabregas a pass master, Zouma a defensive beast, etc. But it’s the red card which changed the match.

The one stat that did strike me like a push to the face, followed by a backhand to the face, followed by a chest bump which knocked me over, followed by a little fracas, followed by lots of name calling, followed by me complaining to the official when I was slightly touched, was the fact that Diego Costa wasn’t called for a single foul in this game.


All data from Football-Lineups.com and transfermarkt.co.uk


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