#RefWatch: Mike Dean – Manchester City vs West Ham

Author: . Published: at 8:35pm

Written by @SamRoyden

Last season, I described Mike Dean as ‘oozes arrogance and his admiration for the spotlight’ and my opinion has not changed. Mike Dean continues to frustrate me with his game and player management. I completely appreciate that Mike Dean is a seasonal pro in the Premier League and was on the FIFA list between 2003–2013 until he turned 45 and was retired from international duty, but confidence is completely different to arrogance.

It was a first half to remember for West Ham and David Moyes: Drilled, hard to break down and breaking with the ball – not consistently but it’s a platform to build on. It could have been a nightmare opening 70 seconds for West Ham when in-form Raheem Sterling went down inside the West Ham penalty area. Mike Dean, who was officiating his first West Ham Premier League game this season, was in the perfect position to wave away appeals from the Manchester City players. This decision was actually quite straightforward for Mike Dean, Sterling felt the slightest of touches and hit the deck, a blatant attempt to deceive the referee. No free kick nor punishment from Mike Dean and play continued.

With West Ham defending extremely well against a petrifying Manchester City front three, Declan Rice was the first player to receive a caution after bringing down Leroy Sane who was 10 yards into the West Ham half. It was the correct decision from Mike Dean and with 73 minutes left on the clock, Rice had to watch his challenges for the rest of the game.

Consistency is huge for referees and it’s something that is widely discussed, especially at elite level. Nicolás Otamendi was the wrong side of Arthur Masuaku when he cynically tripped the West Ham man. Mike Dean was spot on to award the foul but there was no further punishment for the Man City defender. Mike Dean cautioned Declan Rice earlier in the half for tripping Sane in a similarly promising position, so why didn’t Dean caution Otamendi? It’s a lack of consistency and it wasn’t for the first time during the game, this season or in fact as long as I’ve been watching Mike Dean.

Throughout the second half, West Ham had their backs to the wall defending well and Mike Dean continued to be frustratingly wrong with his decision making. The Manchester City players are known for their theatricals and this was proved with Sterling diving in the second half, with playmaker Kevin De Bruyne and overrated Fabian Delph, both who also embarrassingly deceived Mike Dean. The free kick, which infuriated me the most, was Fabian Delph’s dive when Declan Rice committed himself into a sliding challenge 20 yards from goal. It was such a clear and blatant dive, I cannot come to grips on how Mike Dean came to that decision when he was behind the play and took up a good position. It’s the theatricals that Mike Dean failed to judge and the second phase of that free kick led to Man City’s equalising goal.

I do welcome a review from The FA and wonder whether they will take any retrospective action on either Raheem Sterling or Fabian Delph, a stronger case on Delph as the free kick subsequently lead to a game changing moment. Everton’s Oumar Niasse was banned for 2 games after deceiving the referee vs Crystal Palace under new laws that began at the start of the season. The incidents are subsequently reviewed by an independent three-person panel which when reviewed, they decide whether the match official had been deceived by an act of simulation.

Mike Dean continued his inconsistency when Manual Lanzini was completely clattered by Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala. Dean was visually telling the West Ham players that it was a coming together between two players, but in fact Mangala jumped into the back of Lanzini when the West Ham playmaker was accelerating on a counter attack.

There were a couple of cautions in the final quarter of the second half with Kevin De Bruyne hacking down Arthur Masuaku which was a relatively easy decision to make as well as in the final stages when Adrian, who was impressive throughout the game, came rushing out his 18 yard box and caught Gabriel Jesus.

Overall, I have a prolonged issue with Mike Dean and the way that he handles himself throughout the game. My advice to any up and coming referee to watch only a handful of referees: Howard Webb, Mark Clattenburg and Michael Oliver, these referees were and are at the top of their game and as a role models for future referees. Human error is inevitable, I make mistakes and I referee youth leagues in Kent, and you need thick skinned. I put my hand on my heart and say that you have to be personable as a referee, it’s not about getting on with people, you’re in a cordon of emotions with players, managers and fans, but you need to earn that respect.

On a number of occasions, Mike Dean has been so arrogant with his decision making, even when his decision is wrong and continues to act in the same way every game, it my way or no way. Game management is incredibly important to a referee, it’s understanding the best position and almost preempting the play. Player management is, for me, one of the most important part of your artery. When I referee, I talk to the players, I explain why I have given that decision. When Mike Dean makes a decision, he shuns the players which shows a lack of respect in my opinion.

A note on West Ham, I was fearing the worst coming into the game and thought Man City would put six or seven past us after the diabolical performance against Everton on Wednesday. With Chelsea and Arsenal coming up in the next ten days, I hope that Moyes can continue to work on the defensive side and work on breaking on the counter attack.


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