Not for the first time, Mike Dean will have to endure the (rather sizable) wrath of Arsenal fans, after the referee’s decision to give West Brom a penalty late on at the Hawthorns helped the hosts to a share of the points.
The game itself, which saw Arsene Wenger oversee a record 811th Premier League fixture, had been a dull and dour encounter for the most part, with Arsenal looking limp and lacklustre.
However, late on, Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick put the visitors ahead, via a deflection from James McClean.
That goal looked to have sealed a barely deserved three points for the Gunners. But with just one minute of normal time to play, the Baggies were awarded a very soft penalty, after Kieran Gibbs’ attempted cross hit the arm of Calum Chambers.
With both of his arms in front of his body, Chambers was extremely unlucky to concede the spot-kick, with the closest West Brom players only looking for a corner, not a penalty. However, Dean was in no doubt.
Jay Rodridguez stepped up and fired home the penalty, with Petr Cech yet again, failing to keep it out.
The game would end 1-1, probably a fair result considering the poor quality football from both sides.
However, the Gunners were unsurprisingly livid with Dean, a referee who has form when it comes to punishing the north Londoners in questionable circumstances.
At the final whistle, Cech was carded by Dean for challenging the decision and the Arsenal ‘keeper was furious in a post-match interview, saying:
First I got a yellow card for saying this is not a penalty.
Every time we meet with refs prior to season and it comes to the point about when the player is close to the ball and has no chance to react it is never a penalty
I asked the referee why he changes this decision.
I was not rude, I just asked the question and it disappoints me even more that he said nothing when I asked him.
I’m disappointed by the penalty situation and I expect when I walk to the ref with respect and ask a question I would like if he answers in a normal way, not (for him to) give me a yellow card and say nothing.
If only Cech could channel all that passion into saving the odd penalty every now and then?
Alas for the north Londoners, all the vitriol and outrage can’t mask another flaccid display.
The result sees Arsenal stay fifth, three points behind Liverpool in fourth, while Alan Pardew’s Baggies move off the bottom.
So the year in football ends with everyone talking about one Michael Dean of Heswall, the Wirral. Just the way he likes it!