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Football is changing… Fouls and Cards awarded by the referee.

Fouls and Cards Awarded by the Referee

 

by Andrew Crawshaw

Some of our readers have noted that there seem to be some anomalies this season between the number of fouls committed by teams in the Premier league and the numbers of cards issued.  I have looked at the official web site of the Premier League and abstracted the relevant numbers for each season back to 2006/7 and will be seeing what sense (if any) I can make of the numbers.

Now we all are aware from the work by Walter and his team of referee reviewers over the past few years that the number of fouls and cards awarded by referees does not necessarily bear any resemblance to the numbers that should be awarded and I will try in future articles to compare Walter’s figures with those actually given.

For the first 9 games of the season here is the table of referee awarded fouls and cards :-

 

Team Fouls conceded (as awarded by Referee) Yellow Cards Red Cards Average fouls per card
Arsenal 91 24 0 3.79
Chelsea 104 20 2 4.73
Sunderland 100 21 0 4.76
Liverpool 93 19 0 4.89
Man City 106 20 1 5.05
West Ham 101 19 1 5.05
Everton 83 16 0 5.19
Stoke 119 22 0 5.41
Hull 99 16 2 5.50
Man United 112 18 2 5.60
Burnley 90 16 0 5.63
West Brom 102 18 0 5.67
Aston Villa 93 16 0 5.81
Newcastle 101 16 1 5.94
Spurs 111 15 2 6.53
Swansea 106 13 2 7.07
Crystal Palace 126 14 2 7.88
QPR 81 10 0 8.10
Leicester City 117 13 0 9.00
Southampton 111 12 0 9.25
All 2046 338 15 5.80

The average number of fouls committed per card awarded across all games is 5.8.  In the above table all teams from Aston Villa downwards can be said to be doing better than average, the further down the table the better they have done.

Teams from West Brom upwards can be said to have done worse than average, the further up the table the worse they have done.

Clearly Arsenal have been treated more harshly than any other team this year, Leicester and Southampton noticeably more leniently.  The real question is are these numbers statistically meaningful or not?

I am not a expert in statistics, but have had occasion to use such analysis many times in my career.  My understanding is that within a number sequence a particular value is likely to be “NORMAL” if it lies between the 5 and 95 percentile values for that sequence.  If a value lies outside those values it is statistically unlikely.  I am assuming that the numbers can be said to have a normal distribution.

I am sure that there will be someone better at Statistics than I am reading this so if I have got it wrong then I’m sorry and will be glad to be corrected.

So what are the ‘magic’ numbers :-

Average number of Fouls per Card 5.80
5 Percentile value 4.68
95 Percentile value 9.01

I would contend that statistically speaking the Arsenal value of 3.79 and the Southampton value of 9.25 are both “odd”, the Leicester City value of 9.00 is just within normal limits.

What is also apparent is that all teams are being carded more than in previous years, again something I want to look at further.

Untold Arsenal is here

31 comments to Football is changing… Fouls and Cards awarded by the referee.

  • franck

    Well it seems we have been awarded the most yellow cards….we are not a team that usually fouls opponents that much,but why i am not surprised by this is the fact that we have had to play a make shift defence all season,and inexperienced Chambers picking up 5,if Debuchy were available to play all the games,i doubt our yellow cards would have piled up to 24.

  • finsbury

    Er…Chambers played 22 times for Southampton last year.
    0 yellows.

    Nice try, but one again it’s back to the Groaning Board.

  • finsbury

    I suppose that when you are determined to try and ignore the numbers staring you in the face, at all costs, that such unfortunate accidents will happen…

  • Tasos

    The consensus amongst those “in the know” is that Arsenal are in need of a physically strong/powerful defensive midfielder who can impose himself on the game, at least more than the current crop of week midfield midgets, they tell us.

    Judging by the stats above you’d have to be fearful if this type of player would spend more time in the stands serving suspensions than on the pitch. Let’s be honest Arsenal are’nt a dirty team by any standards and yet they find themselves top of the yellow card table. Disgraceful, dishonest, scam of a league.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    It, indeed, seems that the best researches in the blogs and the worst, most banal babbles are in the papers.
    It seems also that the more eyes looking at these issues, and heads pondering on them, fewer the places or means to hide the systematic bias against some clubs and in favor of some other clubs, in EPL.
    Keep plugging away at these issues please.

  • Micko

    I think if you go back over the last few years (since MR became head of the PGMOL) you will find a similar pattern for Arsenal but not necessarily for any other team.

  • seydlitz

    Arsenal are a target for the the refs which to me have been ascertained for years by untolds cover of the refs reviews,it comes as no surprise that we suffer injustice . I have supported Arsenal for over sixty years but have never noticed any refs bias until the game against the Mancs 49 game for me it has gone down hill from their on .

  • Nekuhan

    Andrew,

    Nice instructive work and good post. To make your table look even better, I suggest to add one more bottom line, just before ‘All’, labeled ‘All without Arsenal FC’.
    The reason is that if you include Arsenal FC average, it is influencing overall numbers. Therefore, for better understanding, two lines i.e. ‘All’ + All without AFC’ will give you and your readers more accurate insight. I know that this might take you some additional work, but according to my opinion, that line will highlight even more the bias against AFC. Thank you once more for your past, present and future efforts to help the readers of Untold looking differently at today’s football in EPL.
    Best regards. N.

  • AB

    See the Boss has been defending the ref’s today !

  • seydlitz

    Maybe this is a change of tack if you cannot beat them then join them!i.I do not believe ,this Wenger has more integrity he would in my opinion he will explain his argument and expect the pgmol to respond in a civilised fashion. I have little hope this is the case, but one must live in hope!

  • 4evered

    could it mean we cant tackle properly ? (reaches for kevlar onesie and awaits incoming)

  • finsbury

    AW also clearly said this season after one game in the post match presser that he expects referees to be: “professional”. You can try to ignore what is being said but there hasn’t been much room left between the lines. Not enough for any squirming.

  • finsbury

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/southampton/11199367/St-Marys-is-the-perfect-academy-for-youngsters-at-the-Southampton-dream-factory.html

    apropos
    October 31, 2014 at 1:41 pm
    A ood read about Southampton academy for those who are interested and some time to spend. Some of our players are mentioned.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/southampton/11199367/St-Marys-is-the-perfect-academy-for-youngsters-at-the-Southampton-dream-factory.html

    Just an interesting bit from the article:

    “Hunter’s expertise is so respected that he was recently asked to talk on the art of defending at a seminar organised by the Professional Football Coaches Association at West Brom’s training ground; it drew an illustrious gathering including the likes of Martin O’Neill.

    “Tackling is going out of the game so it’s more about interception,’’ said Hunter. “We give our players clips, showing them about timing. We still want players to tackle – in the right way. Clyney can tackle. Matt Targett can tackle. Ryan can. We have to produce a modern defender. We want defenders to sense danger. With a 15-year-old full-back now, we’d expect them to have a grasp of 1 v 1 defending, deal with a winger, stop crosses, block crosses, intercept the ball and spring counter-attacks.’’”

    The AAAA troll above may be a self-declared expert in football finance and physiotherapy (sports), but as we can see, it unfortunately seems to be struggling with the football part.

  • finsbury

    Oops, excuse the copy and paste link to this article, and the double post if not deleted. I suppose if you can’t beat ’em, you can join ’em 🙂

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/southampton/11199367/St-Marys-is-the-perfect-academy-for-youngsters-at-the-Southampton-dream-factory.html

    Just an interesting bit from the article:

    “Hunter’s expertise is so respected that he was recently asked to talk on the art of defending at a seminar organised by the Professional Football Coaches Association at West Brom’s training ground; it drew an illustrious gathering including the likes of Martin O’Neill.

    “Tackling is going out of the game so it’s more about interception,’’ said Hunter. “We give our players clips, showing them about timing. We still want players to tackle – in the right way. Clyney can tackle. Matt Targett can tackle. Ryan can. We have to produce a modern defender. We want defenders to sense danger. With a 15-year-old full-back now, we’d expect them to have a grasp of 1 v 1 defending, deal with a winger, stop crosses, block crosses, intercept the ball and spring counter-attacks.’’”

    The AAAA troll above may be a self-declared expert in football finance and physiotherapy (sports), but as we can see, it unfortunately seems to be struggling with the football part.

  • finsbury

    It would be interesting to compare the card/foul numbers with the physio room log going back before ’04.

    But then, it’s no mystery why Reyes and others (do i need to mention any bruised or broken bones?) left the Arsenal: zero protection.
    A parody of Maradonna vs. Goikoetxea.

    It’s Football Jim, but not as we know it.

  • 4evered

    finsbury

    Maradonna vs. Goikoetxea. Wow the beast of Bilbao, that Finsbury is most impressive – that guy amongst others of the time is the reason why I tell everyone who had not seen him play that Maradonna was head and shoulders above Messi and Ronaldo – they dont get tackled -but he got assaulted during every game but was still brilliant if a bit bonkers – excuse the digression to football – back to those riveting stat’s fellas !

  • jambug

    4evered

    So all these players come to us from where ever, over a period of over 10 years *, and suddenly, A La Chambers, forget how tackle.

    You post rubbish like that then wonder why you get ‘incoming’

    * I say 10 years but I haven’t got it in black and white, but I’ve done these figures off and on in the past using the Suns fair play table before I stopped buying it and we nearly always had the worst ratio, so I await with interest the results of Andrews research.

  • finsbury

    Still struggling I see. I suppose that is not a surprise. Crazy things are stats. Goals, points scored. Etc. All clubs study them, and use them, but the AAAA find them useless. I suppose that is why they are self-declared Experts.

    The Goikoetxea tackle was also a statistic. And, as everyone knows, except it seems the Expert, it was a statistic that changed Spanish Football, because their football suffered afterwards. Until star players were given the same protection as in Italy. Took a little while but they won won the World Cup in the end.

    If the troll is trying to imply that there was no tough play in Serie A during the era of Baresi, Maldini etc. what can we say?

    DNFT VIllage Idiot

  • 4evered

    finsbury

    why so hostile ? not sure what the whole troll or AAAA thing is about but anyway I was actually just enjoying the memory of a great player and making a wider point about the lack of tackling in the modern game not sure why you mention Italy ? or why you post sounds like that serial killer in silence of the lambs ” it puts the lotion on or it gets the hose ” ha ho

  • 4evered

    Jambug

    The only thing you should believe in THE SUN is the date so if your basing your stats on that chip wrapper thats a worry – anyway im sure you will take great offence to my pointing this out and I wouldn’t want to disappoint you – off trick or treating now – chin chin . x

  • If these figures give a true representation of what happens on the field, then how come Arsenal are not one of the most feared teams in the entire league? Like in the same ‘league of kickers’ as Stoke FC? Not a chance! Rather, teams plot to kick our players to pieces, get away with it, while we pick up the cards and get ‘photoshopped’ to look like the ‘dirty’team of EPL! Meanwhile some so-called fans think we are actually deluded by claiming that we are being unfairly targeted by the refs, and that there is no such thing as a conspiracy against Arsenal FC. What better evidence can you put forward? Does Arsenal strike people as a ‘dirty’ team? I mean, do people perceive Arsenal as even remotely as dirty as the stats suggest? No way! Only another stick to beat us with and make our players look like they are incompetent and clumsy oafs.

  • AB

    4evered you should realise by now your dealing with terminal depressive’s I think they get bullied at home, and release pent up anger on site. People think beautiful thoughts , football back tomorrow I will be thinking of you all at the game whilst your pushing your trolleys round Aldi

  • Gunnerbgood

    What’s the phrase they say we always use?
    Oh yes,we were robbed.
    Looking at the stats, the saying is not wrong WE WERE ROBBED and will continue until someone with hefty pair does something about it

  • Oluwatoba

    Assuming these stats are real one would easily think Arsenal generally turn football to a machete wielding competition

  • jambug

    4evered.

    As I said, I stopped reading the Sun a long time ago because of the garbage they write.

    All I referred to was a factual table of fouls committed, Red and Yellow cards issued.

    It’s almost certain they just lifted there stats directly from the PL figures that I and Andrew used to compose our tables.

    How is that ‘believing’ the Sun?

    I mean they also used to print the league table along side the fair play table. Is that also to be treated as made up by the Sun?

    I know the Sun is a shameful excuse for a ‘newspaper’ but even they aren’t able to make up these tables.

    AB

    Smart arse comments like that are usually indicative of someone who cant put up a reasoned counterpoint or argument.

    A well thought out response as opposed to sarcastic glib remarks such as yours may prevent the likes of yourself and 4efered having to dodge the ‘incoming’ as he put it.

    Just a thought.

  • Quincy

    Hear, Hear, Stan The Man! Nearly an entire foul less per card than Chelsea! CHELSEA! One of the dirtiest clubs I have yet had the displeasure of watching!

  • Menace

    From the Stats it is obvious that we don’t understand the finer points of officiating. Cards are issued to those that impact the game in a manner that will upset the gambling lords of China. They are the winners in this game.

    Professional Gambling Match Officials know what they do.

  • Questioning Arsenal’s tackling credentials based on the club’s unfair treatment by the refs by a so called Gooner is still a dick move no matter how nicely it is presented or any preemptive moan of victimisation in parenthesis.

  • Sav from Australia

    Nice article, Andrew.

    I think we need to consider that the statistics are not showing the entirety of the truth, as what is and what is not a ‘foul’ or ‘card’ is something that changes from team to team, as the EPL referees show vehemently display week after week, year after year.

    I have noticed its gotten worse this year. Wonder if that has anything to do with the very strong Arsenal team that is slowly gathering momentum.

    The Premier League/PGMOL/FA/Fixers are obviously quoting from Bob Marley when they look at Arsenal: “Kill them, kill them before they grow.”

    Btw, trolls need not respond to above – you know who you are.

  • Menace

    The points probability is not really an exact science but it gives us a truer feeling of being cheated.

    We know there is cheating going on but say nothing because we have this fear of proof. I don’t fear anyone or anything but I do have a level of respect for the truth. An officials decision may be honest but wrong. How many of these can true sportsmen stomach before they explode? Alexis has taken more kicks than the ball in some matches but is mentally strong. Wenger is also mentally strong but his patience is wearing thin and if he explodes there will be a media scrum for sound bites & photos.

  • jambug

    Menace

    Statistics are not infallible, but to coin a phrase they are what they are, and what they are a pretty fair reflection of the truth.

    Especially when taken over a period of time. By and large, the longer the time, the more accurate they are.

    With that in mind, seeing statistics like we are seeing for both ‘foul to card ratios’ and ‘penalty awards’ over a period of 8 years and more, is simply unbelievable, and for people to dismiss them as irrelevant is mind boggling.

    I also believe that having these 2 tables showing what a raw deal we get from the refs, in a purely statistical format, simply adds credibility to Untolds Referee reviews, that show an almost identical bias against us.

    I believe these stats are proof positive of Untolds Revues credibility, impartiality and accuracy.

    We are well and truly screwed by the PGMOL and the statistics prove it.