GARTH Crooks branded Mike Dean as ‘a petulant schoolteacher’ and accused the referee of ‘sucking the life out of games’ after his display in Chelsea’s London derby victory over Arsenal.
Dean sent off Gunners defender Gabriel for apparent violent conduct at the end of the first half but was widely criticised for failing to dismiss Blues striker Diego Costa, who raised his hands to Laurent Koscielny before clashing with Gabriel.
The official also gave Santi Cazorla his marching orders for two bookable offences in the second half as Arsene Wenger’s side ended the Premier League game at Stamford Bridge with nine men.
BBC pundit Crooks, though, felt neither Costa nor Gabriel needed to be sent off and that Dean wants to be the ‘the star’ on too many occasions.
“If no-one had been sent off in that situation, no-one would have screamed,” the former Tottenham striker said on Final Score.
“The only people that were interested in sending Gabriel off were the officials. The fans weren’t, the players weren’t. We all want to see 11 v 11.
“Don’t look for excuses to send players off. That’s not your job. Just do your job.
“I think Mike Dean’s a really good referee but he’s got one fault. He wants to be the star too often, and it’s really getting on my nerves because he’s spoiling great games.
“It’s not about you, Mike. It’s about the games. People come here and pay good money to see football. Not to see you get over officious like a petulant schoolteacher.”
He added that referees should be more ‘sensible’ in situations and treat the players ‘more like men’.
Former Premier League whistler Howard Webb believes Dean should have nipped the incident in the bud when he saw Costa and Gabriel involved in a spat and used the two captains to defuse it.
He told BT Sport: “I’m not going to say it’s easy….but Mike Dean will be thinking to himself when he’s going home up the motorway tonight ‘could I have done something to stop it from happening’ because he won’t get a lot of pleasure from sending off Gabriel in that situation.
“The initial stuff was off the ball so he was relying on information from his team so I can absolutely forgive him for not seeing quite seeing all of that.
“But I think his undoing was he allowed it to rumble on and rumble on as Diego Costa and Gabriel continued towards the half-way line.
“At that point, Mike Dean should have stepped in and maybe used the captains. I think a good captain would have stepped in like John Terry and Rio Ferdinand.”
Wenger waited to speak to Dean at half-time but didn’t even manage a word with the Wirral official, who headed straight down the tunnel.
In his post-match assessment, the Gunners boss said he was ‘very disappointed in Mike Dean’s performance’ and referred to the referee as being ‘naïve’.
“I invite Mike Dean to watch well what Diego Costa did before he [Gabriel] got sent off and I think it’s a disgrace he got away with that,” Wenger told BBC Sport afterwards.
“Costa is always involved in provocation and he used the naivety of Mike Dean well. It is nothing to do with the strength of a referee. You expect him to make the right decision.
“I would not like to be Mike Dean tonight.”
The Frenchman thought Dean was ‘very harsh’ in dismissing his captain Cazorla for a late tackle on Cesc Fabregas which earned the midfielder a second yellow.
Arsenal have now been shown more red cards than any other top-flight team and it was the third time in the Premier League era, the first since 1999, they had two players sent off in a single game.
Wenger also referred to Costa’s behaviour as ‘disgusting’ and ‘absolutely unacceptable’ whilst calling for the Football Association to take action against the Spaniard.
The FA have since confirmed they will wait for Dean’s report before deciding whether Costa will face retrospective action.
Last season, then Leicester boss Nigel Pearson said Dean was ‘one of the most arrogant people I’ve ever met’ and that his arrogance was ‘frightening at times’ after the official gave a penalty against his side in a 4-3 defeat at Tottenham.
Two years ago, this fixture was also shrouded with refereeing controversy following Andre Marriner’s mistaken identity episode when he sent off Kieran Gibbs instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in Arsenal’s 6-0 defeat.
SOCIAL MEDIA REACTION….
One fan posted a short video clip of Dean supposedly ‘celebrating’ Chelsea’s winning goal against Manchester United at the Bridge last season.
And another of Dean reacting to a Tottenham goal in a north London derby at the Emirates Stadium in 2012.
Others pointed out viewers of French TV channel Canal+ awarded Dean their man of the match.
Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson was not the only one to be strongly critical of Dean and his officials.
One Twitter user showed their sense of humour by using David Cameron’s quote this week after Jeremy Corbyn’s appointment as Labour leader.
One Gunners supporter summarised the controversial first-half incident in 140 characters.
Even one Chelsea follower admitted that Dean had a day to forget.