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Saturday’s referee: Mike Dean

What could possibly go wrong?

Stoke City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Moaning about referees is a hallowed tradition in pretty much every sport. There’s always an element of blame, of course, to be given to a referee - particularly in a subjectively judged sport like soccer. There’s a fair amount of interpretation a referee must do of the rules in order to call a foul (or not), and invariably, that interpretation isn’t going to sit well with one set of fans in any given match.

I try really hard not to blame referees for the outcome of a game. Often, the one call that people moan about, that they swear cost their team the game, would have been made irrelevant if that team had scored earlier, had defended better, or had otherwise done things in the game to make one refereeing event like that not matter.

That said, though, there are some refs that just set one’s teeth on edge. I have a whole list of MLS refs like that, but my list like that in the Premier League is basically one name long. What’s that name?

That’s him! That’s the guy! Mike Dean is the center ref this weekend, which...ugh. From the incident where he was sorta kinda maybe celebrating a Louis Saha Tottenham goal against Arsenal to the fact that Arsenal’s record in all games with Dean as center ref is, well, not great, let’s just say I’m now looking forward to this game slightly less than I was before. Which, let’s be honest, this is not a north London derby I was eagerly anticipating anyway, so.