Saturday, 15 March 2014

Is It Mike Dean Or Is It Us?

Well the first week of death run 2.0 is nearly at a close and it’s been a week in which we’ve taken a battering on the media front. So now really more than ever is time for a bit of perspective.

Out of the FA Cup.
Out of the Champions League. 

Oh wait, the former does not apply to us but instead both apply to Manchester City. It’s all gone a bit a shaky at the Etihad in the last couple of weeks since their League Cup triumph. Their back to back defeats has been very Arsenal esque. The usual week of season ending torture has been endured somewhat by City themselves. Yes, the have a decent chance of the league but Chelsea have the points in the bag. The pressure is well and truly on them. 

So what does that have to do with us? Well, if we had suffered the fate of City we’d have dominated the back pages of the press for the last few days. Oh wait, we did. Then on the day following City’s defeat a different slant was taken. Funny that. Only enough room for one team to be shot at? 

But the question is it it them or is it us?

It’s said that our fans are a paranoid bunch and to an extent I agree, especially when it comes to refs, we are extremely paranoid. You need look no further than Mike Dean’s record when refereeing Arsenal. Do supporters genuinely believe we’ve lost games because he is ref? You don’t need to trawl through all of the games but we lost to Bradford of League Two. I remember on the night that Dean was at his finest theatrical best but a ref shouldn’t ever be the cause of a defeat. Yes, they can contribute towards a teams downfall but on that night in particular our first team couldn’t dispatch a side from three divisions lower. Then you have Dean’s showing in the NLD 5-2 Part One. He allegedly celebrated as Saha’s deflected effort made it 1-0 to Sp*rs. As the ball looped up over Szczesny Dean jumped to see if the ball was going into the net and in true Mike Dean fashion he emphatically pointed towards the centre spot to signal a goal. However it was interpreted as him having celebrated a goal. I mean come on, seriously? If you want a ref celebrating than look no further than Norman Burtenshaw in the 1971. A much bigger prize at stake and one that i’m sure it would have Gooners blaming the epic 2 hour scorching heat and relief of game being over (which was actually the truth in this case) but we can’t just take sides as and when we choose. I hate the ref blaming culture and I try to steer clear of it as best as possible, it just makes you focus on the game with a clearer mind. Mike Dean was ref against Blackburn in the FA Cup last season. Was it his fault, of course it wasn't, we were terrible. For those that do point the finger solely at officials how do you ever get over things like Rooney’s dive over campbell’s leg? You don’t get the closure required to move on. So yes we are paranoid at times but on this occasions it was column filing at it’s very worst. I no doubt believe that there wasn’t much of a story in Bayern eliminating Arsenal as it was widely expected. So an opportunity presented itself for  journalists to steal a march on others. Instead of the late goal match report killer, they were faced with 45 minutes that they could dedicate digging the knife into Ozil. It was cowardly at best and I’m glad our supporters when on a bit of a trollfest. It needed highlighting and the point was made. 

Sadly, the unwanted attention that Ozil has attracted has detracted from the fact we make our first Wembley Semi Final appearance since 2009. It’s something that will no doubt be belittled due to us playing Wigan. Poor old little Wigan, the reigning cup holders, the team who have beaten City twice in 10 months. A team that has earned it’s right to be at this stage as much as we have. You can’t help but feel that a nice feel good factor is around the corner. The opportunity of silverware is on a plate for us. I got a little excited on twitter when City lost to Wigan. I said “WE’RE GOING TO WIN THE CUP”, the notable favourites and no doubt screen shots followed but surely there isn’t anyone out there that doesn’t think we won’t win it? We’re a bloody good side, one that has certainly stepped up a gear in the last 12 months and finally we should be getting a reward in the form of silverware. Has anyone considered an FA Cup and 4th placed trophy double? I’ll get the bus ready. 

In all seriousness though, the Everton win was massive. It has completely taken the edge off this run of games that we have an no matter what happens in the next few weeks. Our season will in some form, still be very much alive. The challenge until our trip to Wembley is to forge our way back into the title race. I said in a blog not so long ago that I don’t think we can claim 9 points from 9 but the club has slotted in Swansea at home between Chelsea and City. That said from trips to SHL, The Bridge and at home to City I haven’t seen anything that has led to think that is now achievable. Our trickiest fixture is away to Chelsea. we can ill afford to lose there but a draw would suffice and it would be Mourinho esque in ensuring that the team ahead of you in the table does open up a gap. The gap is 7 points but we need our game in hand to reduce that to 4. Lets hope we can stick around but first up we play Sp*rs. The one game a season you can guarantee they’ll turn up. Tickets for the game in their end were on stub hub for 1k (which is also the price of our cheapest season ticket incidentally). That’s how big this game is to them and we must match their intensity and tempo from the get-go. Our record at SHL has been pitiful and we haven’t won there since 2007, yep 2007. That’s pretty embarrassing but also reflective of how our stock has fallen since the move to our new stadium. I think last years defeat was a big wake up call and it has certainly breathed new life into our side, so now it’s up to those players to get us 3 very welcome points and claim our first season double of Spurs in 7 years. Lots has been made of Sp*rs recent lull but if they get a lead on Sunday they’ll all thrive on it. It would be great if the Arsenal v Sunderland could turn up and have it done by half time. Of course, it wont be that easy and to be honest it doesn’t matter how we get 3 points, we just have to get the 3 points and if that was to come via a Mike Dean decision that maybe he would be classed as a gooner for the foreseeable future. 


  1. I do agree the ref plays a significant part in a game. When Bolton were relegated,the ref was at fault for an error strewn performance.The Norwegian ref who officiated when Chelsea played Barcelona was just as incompetent.How for the life of me Chelsea were not awarded two 100% penalties is indeed shocking.The problem with these refs is they think the powers to be are reluctant to tak e action against them.
    Believe me some of the incompetent and underperforming refs shd be fired.

  2. Bolton were harshly treated on that day but that wasn't the sole reason for their relegation. You're right about governing bodies not taking action and if refs were talked about openly they'd get greater respect and also be more accountable for their decisions. The NFL is testimony to that.