View on the Nini-Man in the Middle: Mike Dean

This weekend sees Tottenham Hotspur take on Cardiff City at the Bluebirds’ home-away-from-home; Wembley Stadium.

On the face of it, it appears to be another away defeat for Neil Warnock’s beleaguered Bluebirds, but when you consider this week’s Nini-Man in the Middle is none other than dancing queen Mike Dean, things all of a sudden take an interesting turn. Let’s take a look at the last time he oversaw the Bluebirds.

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It’s the 6th April 2018 and Cardiff City take on Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Cardiff City stadium. It’s a potential titanic clash to decide the Championship title winner. What’s needed amongst the waves of emotion emanating from the terraces and dugouts is a cool head; step up Mr Mike Dean.

A dodgy free-kick decision and two dramatic hand gestures later and one of the most spectacular finales the South Wales capital had ever witnessed was over. It culminated in a legendary Neil Warnock rant at Wolves head coach Nuno Esperito Santo’s perceived lack of class and defeat for Cardiff City, ensuring the Bluebirds’ slim title hopes were over.

It must be said that on the whole, Dean managed the occasion and the teams extremely well and you won’t find many Bluebirds complaining about the penalty decisions themselves. More the woeful finishing of Gary Madine and Junior Hoilett, who both wilted under the Canton End stare.

That aside, Dean is still perhaps the most high-profile referee and despite having been hit by a thrown coin aimed at a certain Swansea player from the Bob Bank, he can be seen as a safe pair of hands. See below for an overview of his Premier League stats in their entirety:

• 458 games refereed
• 1655 yellow card issued (an average of 3.61 yellows per game)
• 46 straight red cards
• 151 penalties awarded

The last game that Mike Dean oversaw was Bournemouth’s late, late win over Crystal Palace, which saw a mass brawl and an 87th minute penalty awarded to the Cherries, duly despatched by Junior Stanislas. Once again, another late penalty awarded by the experienced man in the middle but interestingly, not a decision that was disputed by Roy Hodgson.

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Mike Dean can bring an added dimension to what should be a routine win for Spurs. This coupled with Tottenham’s monstrous injury list means things may not be as straight forward as they seem this weekend. One thing’s for sure, it should be interesting.