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October 2016
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The five ways in which the media are treating us like idiots when they debate football.

By Tony Attwood

There is an article in the Daily Telegraph that says, “This is no blip – the Premier League has changed forever” by Jason Burt, the Chief Football Correspondent.

It is in fact primarily a report of a natter with Slaven Bilic, and the claim to the portentous title comes down to the well known point that lots of smaller clubs now have more money because of the new broadcasting deal, so they can buy better players.  “Changed forever” as a concept isn’t actually considered or analysed at all in the article.

There is, for example, no thought about what subsequent changes might happen – whether the prices paid by the media can rise forever, whether the phenomenal amount of money pumped into research programmes will give the top few an edge again, where Chelsea’s experiment with 35 loan players will take us, whether the changes to the emergency loan rules will have an impact, whether football might go into the sort of decline we saw in the 70s and 80s…

No, it is just a statement of certainty, with only one of many factors called in evidence.  Simplicity is the name of the game.  It is fostered by TV, radio and the newspapers, particularly their on line edition.  Everything reduced to a single point, the last match, one simplistic idea.  For example…

1: Get Wenger out

As a thorough debating point it isn’t very profound, but the Guardian has now told us that Arsenal is in a state of Civil War, although it is interesting that while they like to feature and give huge publicity to the anti-Wengerian groups and individuals, they have no real interest in the pro-Wenger lobby.  Nor do they ever seriously analyse the achievements of Mr Wenger against other managers.

And I suspect that the reason for this is that the Wenger out message is much simpler than one that involves debating the structure of the club, the evolution of players, the financing of a stadium, who we might get as a manager, whether the “civil war” portrayed by the Guardian is dissuading managers from looking elsewhere, whether it is harming the players…

These are all complex points, and so not really meat and drink to most commentators.  Best not get involved.

2: If we can’t beat Watford at home we are clearly useless

Relating things back to one game is something that the newspapers, radio and TV like.  You can imagine someone trying to get on a phone-in and saying, “I think the issue is complex and there are at least eight factors involved.”  He wouldn’t get past the receptionist.

Keep it simple is fine if the “it” being debated is simple.  If it isn’t, well, then the argument has to be complex.  And the running of a Premier League club and attempting to win the league is complex.

But we live in a society that doesn’t like complex.  I have now heard someone say that Wenger should go, because he’s useless.  “It’s not rocket science.”  The fact that “he’s useless” could do with some evidence and comparison with the achievements of other managers is only part of the problem.  As I suggested in the commentary on the anniversary of the first flight of the liquid powered rocket, rocket science is just about the simplest science there is.

“It isn’t rocket science,” really means, “this is phenomenally complex” but I don’t think most people who use the phrase understand that.  (Rocket science using liquid fuel was invented in a garden shed without any grant or financial support by any institution and was rejected by the US government because it was too basic.)

3:  You are spoiling the good name of Untold with this rubbish

Some people have been trying for the past three or four years to be a little bit cute by suggesting that they have loved Untold for years, but this latest article (whatever it is) shows we’ve lost the plot.  The problem is we’ve been getting comments like this for years – and indeed all publications get them.  It’s a bit like protesting that lots of away fans are disenchanted and want Wenger out, in response to an article about how BT Sport managed to get those pictures in the way they did at the time they did.  It’s just changing the subject.

Changing the subject and debating something different, doesn’t actually make a point.  It just changes the subject.  Anyone can change the subject of course, but it doesn’t mean they are going to be listened to.

4.  You can prove anything with statistics

After simplistic statements with no back up (1), reducing everything to one point (2), and changing the subject (3), the next most common way of dealing with arguments one doesn’t like these days is arguing against the whole concept of debate and analysis.

No, you can’t prove anything with statistics.  You can draw lots of odd conclusions with bad statistics, but if you think the person making a point is using bad statistics then it is not a bad idea to bring forth your own stats, and show why the others are wrong.

If I say that Giroud is the top scorer in English football, and you think he isn’t you might present an authoritative chart, ideally quoting a source, and then we have a debating point.  Calling me an idiot is not a debate, even though I might well be one.

The fact that I haven’t provided evidence isn’t really here or there.  You are challenging me so you put up the evidence.  It really doesn’t help if you just say I’m wrong – that’s a bit like little children arguing.  You need evidence if you want to contradict a point made here, or come to that anywhere else.

5:  It’s a conspiracy theory

Just calling a point of view a conspiracy theory doesn’t actually develop the point – and yet something like one third of people who argue against the views expressed on Untold claim that whatever we have said is another “conspiracy theory.”  (I stopped publishing most of these a long time ago, but they still roll in).

The phrase “conspiracy theory” is generally used to mean explanations that invoke conspiracies without evidence of who the conspirators are or that they even exist.  The hypotheses they produce contradict the prevailing understandings of historical events or simple facts, and are provided with little or no evidence, and rely on assertion.

The USA never put men on the moon, President Obama has ordered the mobilisation of the National Guard ready to attack the south and introduce Sharia Law, water fluoridation is all part of a mind-control scheme run by the government, US government officials were actively engaged in bringing down the twin towers on 9/11 to reign in the powers of big business.

So if I say, “the Premier League is fixed” you could call that a conspiracy theory.  But if I present an analysis that shows that there are some odd goings on in the way refereeing is organised, that is not a conspiracy theory – that is an analysis of some undisputed facts, with the suggestion that what is happening is very unusual in world football.

This doesn’t mean that I have proven that there is something unsavoury going on, but that (in the case of refereeing in England), there are some strange things happening, and it is a little curious that the media never picks up on the matter – not even to deride the notion as a conspiracy theory.

If we then present evidence that Arsenal have one of the highest possession and highest pass completion rates in the league, but commit one of the highest numbers of fouls, that’s not a conspiracy theory, that is a presentation of some figures from which anyone can draw an opinion.

Dismissing a whole presentation as a “conspiracy theory” is a way of avoiding debate – it is a dismissal of debate.  Just as “you can prove anything with statistics” is dismissal.  Just as saying, “Wenger is a rubbish manager, everyone can see it” is a dismissal.

It is the opposite side of the invented stories – such as Arsenal get more red cards than any other team, or Arsenal get more injuries than any other team and it is all Wenger’s fault.

This is where football has got to, largely because the newspapers, their websites, the radio stations and TV stations have all found it to their advantage to reduce debate in football to one line assertions and name calling.  When someone does try to expound a more complex explanation, it is derided.

There is precious little debate or proper analysis that takes into account more than one or two simplistic things.  Football isn’t rocket science. It is far, far more complex than that.

The Untold Books

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65 comments to The five ways in which the media are treating us like idiots when they debate football.

  • Brian Nye

    Have u also noticed the number of times we’ve had our games moved to accommodate TV compared 25 compared to Leicester having less than 5 games shown live seems even Sky an BT are doing all they can to help “Little Leicester” win the title

  • Usama Zaka

    You got that right Tony, the “Rocket Science”. As someone who has studied and worked in the aerospace and aeronautical technological fields, I can surely say that Rocket Science is really simple. The basics for any non-aerospace related is that each main rocket contains 2 or more than number of boosters (small bottle shaped tanks) attached to it. After the rocket is launched the most important aspect of it is the speed. Boosters are there to keep on increasing the max speed of the rocket. Just as when one of the boosters are used up, they are detached in mid flight. Simple as a pie. 😀

    “Journalism” “Journalists”. I am not even sure whether these two words really apply to these people in the media nowadays, such is their state.

  • James

    God you’re boring. Write something interesting and unbiased for once.

  • Ian Smart

    Thank you for some intelligent analysis i can hardly read much written about football these days as you say it is so simple. Although wenger does frustrate me at times and one or two additions could have helped us win more, if you support a club as i have for sixty years its for better or worse. People come and go but its Arsenal for ever.

  • colario

    Yes James we know that for the likes of you truth is boring.

    If you want truth about Arsenal and what the club stands for take a look at this.

    Even this, though positive for once is an example of shallow reporting.

    Like Tony and others I am ashamed of the English media. Its pathetic fix on sensationalism as news has gone beyond the point of being boring.

  • Saadman

    What decline are you talking about tony when you said “whether football might go into the sort of decline we saw in the 70s and 80s”?

  • Hello to the authors of ‘Untold Arsenal’.
    As a life-long Arsenal supporter, I am fascinated by our journey from Woolwich to Islington, and everything that has happened within that.
    There have probably been about five pivotal moments in Arsenal’s history that have influenced who and what the club represent now.
    1. Forming of the club, by workers in the Woolwich munitions factory, originally called Dial Square in 1886.
    2. The move from South of the Thames to North London, and the building of Highbury.
    3. Henry Norris’ ownership incorporating Herbert Chapman as manager.
    4. WWII and the major paradigm shift in club philosophy instilled by the Hill-Wood’s and Bracewell-Smith’s.
    5. Stan Kroenke’s new model Arsenal at The Emirates.
    I think it’s fair to say there is much confusion when discussing ‘The Arsenal way’, because there are two very different Arsenal’s.
    The Arsenal that Henry Norris controlled was completely different in philosophy and character to the Arsenal taken over by the Hill-Wood’s after WWII.
    Norris’ Arsenal were all about reaching the top and being the best, regardless of financial cost. But the effect was that with the help of Herbert Chapman, Arsenal became the biggest and wealthiest club in World football. Arsenal ‘the Bank of England club’. Having won three titles in succession with Huddersfield (who have not won a thing either before, or since), Chapman revolutionised Arsenal in a way we have never seen again. The Board had the opportunity to make it happen as recently as 1986, when Alex Ferguson agreed terms to become Arsenal manager, but they refused to wait a fortnight to allow Ferguson to oversee Scotland’s World Cup campaign in Mexico. And these people don’t apologise to fans for getting things so fundamentally wrong because their wealth and position put them above accountability. It has to be said, they are not the brightest sparks.
    World War II was terrible timing for Arsenal, because it brought a very abrupt end to our momentum and an incredible decade of success. More crucially for the club, it meant new owners, an eclectic mix of Aritocrats, Freemasons and Old Etonians. The Arsenal built by Norris and Chapman was gone forever, never to return. The drive and desire to be the best was replaced with sanitised conservatism and a huge lowering of expectations.
    Arsenal aren’t honest enough as a club about what they can or can’t achieve, and they have been that way since 1946.
    You are right, we are treated like sycophantic idiots by our club’s, and football in general.

  • Brian Nye

    As opposed to the unbaised an interesting “Wenger out boys” blogs

  • colario


    I suggest you ask the ‘experts’ your question. 🙂

  • Notoverthehill

    With China and India developing their own football dynasty, there will be no need for those countries to pay to see the English Premier League matches.

    The United States of America are still dithering, hiring past their prime European footballers.

    Kroenke will be stirring the waters, with the visit of the Arsenal.

    We are all doomed, to watch Chinese football clubs compete against each other.

    Keep up the good work, Tony. Mr Wenger is now Mr Arsenal!

  • omgarsenal

    James… insightful of you…………if you want stimulating shite to read go to LeGrovel and swallow their BS lock,stock and barrel….it is perfect fodder for your simplistic brain!

  • Paul the gooner

    I wish others would listen to other ex Managers and even some supporters of other Clubs.Many of them think it is total stupidity to sack AW.If you have time, go onto the Everton fans forum, Toffee Chat.On their, you have Toffee Tv video.This guy speaks about the recent match.It is one of the best reports I have heard.

  • Josif


    “If we then present evidence that Arsenal have one of the highest possession and highest pass completion rates in the league, but commit one of the highest numbers of fouls, that’s not a conspiracy theory, that is a presentation of some figures from which anyone can draw an opinion.”

    I don’t know if you have read the comments under the article you are referring to but I have presented statistics that prove Proud Kev’s article was based on a mistake as he has completely mixed up the stats. Therefore, any conclusion based on those statistics is not valid.

  • upp

    It’s funny that a site that makes so much noise about facts and logic refuses to acknowledge an obvious misrepresentation of the facts and instead of doing the right thing has gone hyper defensive.

  • Josif

    And, after I had presented Squawka’s stats, I give a further proof: stats of fouls and fouled per game.

  • abd

    Finally, a ‘Civil War’ article with some substance…
    Thank You Mr. Attwood!

  • upp

    @tony, if you make an analysis based on erroneous predication. It’s valid debate to simply point out the error of the predicate upon which your deduction is made. I’m sure you know that. The burden of proof lies on you. That’s why suspects(pgmo) are presumed innocent until proven beyond reasonable doubt that they aren’t. But sometimes you can’t even present anything resembling facts or even logical conjecture to back your claims (like when you accuse BT of the banner stuff), reminds me of when you guys tried to sell the theory that rvp didn’t send out that msg on his twitter account that he wasn’t gonna sign a new contract with us

  • upp

    @tony, recent posts on this site have been poor . sounds like you guys have gone into overdrive to protect the Lord wenger. Backfiring badly.

  • Pat

    What, only five ways, Tony? Pretty well in every way, I think.

    One further way is the way sub editors do the headlines. They frequently have no relationship to what the journalist has written in the article. A person just reading the headline goes away with a completely different idea.

    By the way, the people attacking Tony because of the debate about Proudkev’s statistics can’t have been following this web site for long. Untold has carried many, many articles proving how Arsenal is cheated in so many different ways.

  • dan

    Torygraph at it again, May be their beloved overlord Cameron is going take over from Wenger!

  • Al

    Thanks Tony. Insightful piece. The journos are partially correct to think we’re stupid (see some of the comments above). Their bigger mistake though is to think everyone is stupid.

  • To those having their childish digs at Tony and Untold, why come on this site if you think so badly of it.? It must be so good that it keeps you coming back for more all the time. The people on here do. great job not only in the writing but all those hours they put into their work.

  • Josif


    I don’t attack Tony, I’m just presenting evidence on the evidence based journalism site that the recent article on the number of fouls was based on COMPLETELY mixed up stats. Some Untold regulars even questioned the stats instead of doing non-biased check.

    Sadly, number of dislikes on my posts is a proof that blindness and selective vision is not reserved for PGMO employees.

  • Gunner6

    Upp, Josif

    Firstly, it is easy to rebut than present a case. You only have to find a chink in the reasoning and you attack it. Maybe that one point is wrong but it doesn’t mean the other arguments put forward as wrong.

    Further, that article was posted on Sunday. It has only been 2 days since you provided a contrasting set of facts. Ever occurred to you that PK may have gone back and reviewed his source. Or even typing a proper response? Knowing how this site works, I am sure a response is on the way. But it will be a measured response rather than the curse and swear you see elsewhere.

    I am sure PK and Tony can defend themselves. But it irks me to see you crowing about your facts being correct and instead of giving the author of the piece to respond you keep harping on it.


  • Mandy Dodd

    James, try practicing what you preach maybe.
    However you add the stats up, watching the games, we get a shit deal with the refs compared with the likes of Spurs and Leicester.
    A few years ago we got a shit deal with the refs compared with fergies Utd…..So did others.
    Rotational fouling is allowed by English refs, , since Wenger does not appear to school our players in fouling… some managers……our fouls look more obvious, and the players get punished….as opposed to rotational fouls off the ball as practiced on us by Spurs, Leicester, utd, Watford, Swansea, west brom, Norwich….and others.
    But, aside from all of this, how can an organisation ….potentially affecting….hundreds of millions per game in illegal betting be as unaccountable, as unaudited, and as seemingly incompetent as the PGMOL, with their employees given fifty grand at the end of their contract if they keep their mouths shut.
    I know they have their faults…..but would it be right to expect banks, councils, governments, schools, hospitals , accountancy firms, the national lottery to be given similar privilidge without public outcry in this day and age?He admits that his squad aren’t playing for him and he dismantles it and starts again. At 67, the chances of that are very slim.
    He resigns, accepting that he’s taken the club as far as he can and he moves upstairs.
    Sad thing is, for me, I have my doubts he’ll do either. He’ll be praising the spirit and the mental strength of the squad long into the summer, he’ll not add anyone of note and we’ll be here cursing him again next season.

  • Gunner6


    You talk about burden of proof. Plenty have been presented here over a range of arguments. Thing is, you don’t even bother to present your counter argument. Instead you rely on innocent until proven guilty. Thing is, this site have provided a lot of facts to warrant a debate. Do you even bother to question some of the things that are happening in football?

    Never mind against Arsenal but also other teams – be it to their benefit or not. If not, then go on with your merry ways and swallow all the media has to offer.

    To accept “the burden of proof is on you to show something is not right” is a blind way to live your life. The responsibility should also be on the so called innocent to show what they doing is right. In this case, allowing debates about refereeing decisions and to talk about it.


  • Saadman

    Colario, I asked that question because I am not knowledgeable about what happened during the 70s and 80s. It was simply a question I asked out of curiosity.

  • upp

    @gunner 6
    When you make accusations as untold always does, the burden of proof is on you (as it is on prosecutors). The defendant only needs to find a fallacy in your argument and it falls flat on it’s face. Untold gets a great deal of pass, as 99%of it’s posters don’t question posts or research further as has been shown on proudkevs article, but it gets worse when the the article is then found to be entirely based on bad facts (I wonder how many evidence the site gives fall under this), and gets “worst” when instead of the site’s publishers and commenters instead of apologising and correcting stuff go into hyper defence mode

  • para

    I wonder if the media ever listens back to their programs. Obviously not, as they continue to spout such rubbish.

    Maybe it from shame they do not listen, as they know they are not giving “their own” opinions on the game.

    Sad also that their relatives do not tell them they are spouting rubbish.

    The Job Description for media broadcasters clearly states that: “a candidate will have to be always in the state of delusion, that is, to imagine they are always right. WE cannot allow the callers to get an opportunity to state any views that differ from ours.”

  • upp

    @gunner 6
    You say the site has provided lots of evidence. Well, my argument is that the so called “evidence” upon which your argument is built has just been questioned, and all you can come up with is “well we got many more”. Many more what? Biased, cooked up “evidence”?
    That’s why lots of good folks keep urging the site to try it’s best to be unbiased, but the site refuses. I don’t know anyone that takes the site’s ref reviews seriously, when people debate and someone says refs are biased against arsenal, I’ve heard someone ask sarcastically if he got that view from untold followed by a round of derisory laughter

  • Josif


    “Firstly, it is easy to rebut than present a case. You only have to find a chink in the reasoning and you attack it. Maybe that one point is wrong but it doesn’t mean the other arguments put forward as wrong.”

    It’s not a chink in the reasoning, it’s half of the equation that Proud Kev got wrong and based his whole result on. If you have read closely what I have written, I haven’t disputed that we have been fucked up by PGMO, I have disputed that one bloody article that was based entirely on completely mixed up data.

    “Further, that article was posted on Sunday. It has only been 2 days since you provided a contrasting set of facts. Ever occurred to you that PK may have gone back and reviewed his source. Or even typing a proper response? Knowing how this site works, I am sure a response is on the way. But it will be a measured response rather than the curse and swear you see elsewhere.”

    From what I’ve seen, the only measured responses here have been given by me. I have presented evidences, stats from TWO most quoted web-sited that have been collecting stats from Premier League games that the whole premise of that one concrete article was wrong.

    “I am sure PK and Tony can defend themselves. But it irks me to see you crowing about your facts being correct and instead of giving the author of the piece to respond you keep harping on it.”

    Actually, I have never said anything against Proud Kev as a person or as an author. He has made quite a few exceptionally good articles before making a poorly written one under a pretentious headline (that one may be down to Tony though).

    I don’t attack Proud Kev, not just because I rate him highly. From where I stand, I only defend Untold’s credibility.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I enjoy reading the evidence and fact based articles on this supreme site.
    I enjoy reading and inter-reacting with like minded intelligent posters on here.
    I appreciate the effort and time taken to produce such high quality articles.
    I appreciate the camaraderie and bonhomie that always exists here.
    I look forward to the positivity and exuberance that permeates here.
    I look forward to the humour and hilarity that extrudes on here .
    I understand the great support given to the club and board.
    I support the understanding afforded to AW and the players .
    I am undivided and loyal in my love for this club , AW and this site .

    Why are YOU here ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    From Warren Buffet –

    1. Spend wisely – If you buy things you don’t need, you will soon sell things you need.

    2.Saving: Save for the unexpected- Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.

    3. Think long-term and be patient- No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.

    4. Borrowing- Limit what you borrow.

    5. Risk – Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing. Never test the depth of the river with both feet.

    6. On expectations – Honesty is a very expensive gift , don’t expect it from cheap people .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ” People may not remember exactly what you did , or what you said , but , they will always remember how you made them feel .”

  • Polo

    Tony, PK, and the rest of the authors on here have posted articles to argue their point of view as to why AW should stay, irregularities with PMGO’s, and media bias. Whether their point of views are right or wrong is up to each individual to decide. Now instead of coming on this site whining or saying they are wrong, why don’t you write an article to counter what these authors are writing? You will get more respect that way.

    My understanding is that ‘bad news’ sells and the media thrive on it, so the more they beat up a bad situation, which causes more bad reactions from readers, the more stories they get to write. and in turn they get more clicks or sales. They don’t care whether it’s right or wrong. They are like sharks, if they smell blood they will attack at full force.

    If you look on the Internet, a lot of the media are mixing rumours and opinions as facts, for an example is AW has £200 million to spend on transfers, the media then keep pushing that line until people think it’s facts. The sad thing is that certain part of society believe a lot of these rubbish.

  • Polo

    There’s an article on The Sun saying the Board tell AW he must spend big next season, but there are no evidence just hear say.

  • Al

    The PK mixup was a very simple mistake to make. Take for instance if one confused the goals for and the goals against column in a league table they’ll no doubt come up with an incorrect goal difference, wouldn’t they? It’s a bloody obvious mistake to spot, and easy to make. So this business of continuing to point at that article as a basis of saying perhaps the articles published on this site are also wrong is starting to look a little silly. It’s not like someone made an outrageous allegation, like say Blatter siphoned £100m out of Fifa, which story is then found to be untrue. I think there’s a huge difference there.

    PK’s article was NOT entirely based on incorrect data; that’s simply not true. His data on other stats such as possession stats and pass completion stats is correct, as far as I’m aware, and those arguments are true. I could sit down, switch round the figures in that final collumn regarding the fouls committed v awarded, in that article, and it still would make sense.

    Tony said if we present evidence that Arsenal players are adjudged to commit one of the highest number of fouls despite having the highest possession and pass completion stats, and I say yes it’s true we’re punished more than our rivals. A side that enjoys the kind of possession that we do and make successful passes as we do need not have such a huge number of fouls, be it 100, 200 or whatever the actual number is. How many times have we sat here after a match asking ourselves how Arsenal players ended up getting 3 yellow cards or so in a match where the other side was literally using illegal means to get the ball away from us finish with no yellows? Happens all the time. I don’t know the Barcelona stats but would be surprised if they didn’t have the lowest fouls committed in la liga, simply because they have the lion’s share of possession and passes in each match. I’d very much expect them to have the lowest, as I’d Arsenal here too.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the side that has the highest number of fouls in the league, ended up with lower fouls the day they played against Arsenal.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Polo – March 22, 2016 at 7:21 am – A very good suggestion , but lost on these fools . Too much thinking , too much research , too much work and chances of having the rest of their brain cells fried !

    I’ve yet to read one of ‘them’ post something of substance and fact or in any way having us ponder upon . A lot of garbage and abuse is more likely. Maybe many don’t understand English well ?

    Here is an easy test for you simpletons – try to get it right .

    Fill in the blanks with ‘YES’ or ‘NO’.

    1.______I don’t have a brain .

    2.______I don’t have sense .

    3.______I am stupid .

    Remember , no cheating !

  • Josif


    No, it doesn’t make sense. Even stats that were put in correctly were used in the context of fouls committed and suffered which makes their use irrelevant.

    There is no point in defending something that was a complete mistake. Just like Tony’s reference to it in this article was a mistake.

  • Fishpie

    Here you go Brickfields, I think this is what you wanted from one of “them”

    1._YES_____I don’t have a brain .

    2._SO, YES_____I don’t have sense .

    3._AND THUS_____I am stupid .

    I’ll try and remember this when I offer an opinion which is the opposite to yours next time I post a comment. I am inherently wrong. You are inherently right. I am inherently wrong. You are inherently right…..

  • norman14


    “Keep it simple is fine if the “it” being debated is simple.”

    ..perhaps you should have added “or the people debating are simple” That would just about sum up the UK media! (Though I only have opinion, not statistics to support that suggestion).

  • upp

    @Al, no sir it wasn’t a simple mistake. The whole essence of PKs post was that arsenal suffered most from refs based on the stats and despite having the best possession numbers. While in essence the stats were saying arsenal got the best deal as they were adjudged to have committed the least number of fouls and adjudged to have been fouled much more

  • upp

    So in PKs terms, we’d say the stats showed arsenal with a corrected +88, benefitted most from foul calls rather than the least as the article says. Now how should that not be considered a significant statement, especially on this site? I’m certain if PK understood the import of the data he misrepresented, he wouldn’t have even written that article, because it would have gone against the point of view he so verbosely espouses and which is extremely popular on this site

  • upp

    Lol @ fishpie. Now that’s humour. BG take note

  • Al

    Ok, lets go back and take a look at the article again. We can see that everything PK said up to the sub title Fouls by Team was correct. If you can’t be bothered to go and take a look he talks of possession stats and pass completion, which Arsenal tops both tables. And PK says ‘so logic would suggest that fouls committed and fouls received would show a direct correlation to whether or not a team has much of the ball..’. He then gets T3 and T4 mixed up, making any conclusions drawn from that calculation invalid. So I’m not going to waste my time arguing about a figure that was arrived at through an error.

    If we stop at that point, and go and search for the correct figures, we find Arsenal ‘committed’ the second lowest fouls, after Everton with 276. They were awarded the joint 4th highest number of fouls, with west ham. Teams such as Palace, Chelsea (surprise surprise) and Swansea were awarded more fouls. Now, this mioght be deemed to be a little subjective but who can doubt that our players get carded at their first offence, while other players seem to commit 9 fouls before a card is produced? Just over the weekend we saw Clatternbiurg talk to an Everton player on 3 occasions without brandishing the card. So it shows that if the refs were to even the levels of punishment then Arsenal would be bottom at the list of fouls committed, and by a big margin, noone should be below us. Likewise we have seen people climb all over Ozil in each and every game for the last 3 or 4 matches, with nothing done. If those fouls were called we would be top of fouls awarded, and by a huge margin. As is 3 other sides were awarded more fouls than us. When it comes to red cards Arsenal are 2nd joint with 4 (from 33 yellows) after only Southampton with 6, other teams like Spurs with nearly double the number of yellows Arsenal have have a total of zero (0) reds…

    So let us go back to the example I gave in my earlier post, regarding Barcelona; a team who like Arsenal top their possession and pass completion stats in their respective league. Barcelona are the team with the highest % of time spent in the opposition 3rd, and lowest % spent in their own 3rd, in la liga. From that we can see Barcelona committed 287 fouls, the lowest in their league. They suffered 451 fouls, only 3rd in the league. They conceded 50 yellow cards, the lowest in the league, and 1 red card, again the lowest in the league. So as we can see, in terms of correlation, does Barcelona possession stats correlate to number of fouls conceded? Yes. Do they correlate to yellows conceded? Yes. Do they correlate to red cards conceded? Yes. Do they correlate to fouls awarded? Yes. The only other 2 teams (Sociedad & Valencia [not sure if G Neville has anything to do with that 🙂 ] to get more fouls awarded at least have over 50% possession stats.

    In terms or Arsenal, do their possession stats correlate to fouls conceded? No, Everton have a lower number, despite not featuring anywhere near the top of the possession league. Do they correlate to yellows conceded? Yes, its the lowest in the league (although I could even argue our players usually get carded for their first offence). Do they correlate with red cards? No, a massive total of 15 other sides have less reds despite all having more yellows. Do they correlate to fouls awarded? Perhaps. Why? 2 other teams awarded a similar number of fouls or more (West Ham & Palace) don’t even hit the 50% possession mark.

    So whats the point of all this? It shows had PK got the tables right, i.e., not mixed them up, he would still have come to the same conclusion, albeit with different margins. So my point is lets not dwell too much on a wrong figure that was quoted, leading to an incorrect calculation. Yes the incorrect figures skew the figures by a huge margin, but even when we correct them the opposite doesn’t necessarily become true. We still find ourselves on the same side of the axis on the graph. There isn’t a direct correlation between stats and punishment in Arsenal’s case, as can be seen in Barcelona’s case.

    Since the honest mistake by PK doesn’t take us away from the inescapable conclusion we reach either way, I don’t see much point in continuing to hammer that point home.

  • Al

    And the table that shows the la liga stats can be found here

    The other stats are available on the links Josif has already provided…

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Fishpie March 22, 2016 at 9:37 am – It was a very simple YES or NO test . It was rhetorical of course , but having decided to partake in it and having adjusted it to your liking, I do hope that your conclusion drawn is to your very liking . Apparently it is to another’s .

    And I don’t think that I will have to grade other further entries it on a curve* !

    (* In education, grading on a curve (also referred to as curved grading, bell curving, or using grading curves) is a statistical method of assigning grades designed to yield a pre-determined distribution of grades among the students in a class.)

    Now , that IS humour !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And for some reason this old joke comes to mind .

  • Josif


    If he had had, it would have been a completely different article as he would have used different evidences, presumably the ones you have disclosed. 🙂 That’s my point from the beginning. PK didn’t do the job properly, not for an article with a headline like that and most certainly not for the site that has “evidence based journalism” as its motto.

    Sooner it gets removed, better.

  • Al

    Your 10:22am post is wrong. Arsenal are not the team that conceded the least number of fouls, nor are they the team that was awarded the highest number of fouls. You’re wrong on both counts… refer to my post above.

  • Al

    But I just used the same evidence that you supplied to come to that conclusion 🙂 I only went and dug a little bit about barca after my post this morning; I had not even done any research on that previously… but logic told me to expect to find such numbers, and so it proved. As regards the title I am sure you can understand the WTF! when you think you have spotted such a huge anomaly 🙂

  • Tony you are flogging a dead horse with gripes about the media. Most of the commentators are looking for sensationalism and soap opera drama. There are a few worth reading or listening to but the vast majority i can take or leave. I have taken to watching other PL games with the sound turned off, makes for much better watching than having viewing interrupted by the inane drivel of so called experts. It says it all when we have to put up with the likes of Robbie Savage.

  • Polo

    And people believe this crap? Didn’t the media say AW has full confidence and backing of Stan last week? So what changed in a week?

    These type of agenda seeking article tries to stir up more anti-wenger sentiment. The standard of journalism has really hit rock bottom.

  • Bard I disagree with you. Since we started highlighting the media and the way it portrays football there has been slight movement by the media. We have not reformed them but there most certainly has been change and I do have a little info from the inside (which of course I can’t reveal in detail) that some of our points are discussed. Occasionally when we have highlighted some of their more outrageous activities there really has been some backing off.

  • rich

    Didn’t want to say anything more about the PK article but can’t help it at this point.

    First, I hope to see PK back posting again soon. An excellent contributor here and it was simply an honest mistake.

    I can understand any disappointment, but it could so easily be me who did it. One of my first contributions to the site featured incorrect penalty stats.

    In my defence, they make these things surprisingly hard to find, and the real stats were still pretty damning, but still, my figures were wrong.

    I respect Al’s efforts defend what happened but the right thing for me is surely to tidy it up and move on.

    It did make a huge difference to the articles conclusions- that’s why i was so excited; the figures given were tantamount to proof that pgmol are behaving indefensibly; the real ones don’t show that.

    I think I found them believable, though surprising, because it came immediately on the back of that joke performance from Clattenberg.

    He was nothing short of ridiculous as the game progressed, with most of the classics thrown in- fake corners, talking to instead of clear bookings, another talking to soon afterwards, a disallowed goal, a clear penalty, a clear foul on the edge of the box, constantly letting their players leave a foot in.

    I don’t remember too much of the other side of the coin, where we are pinged virtually any time it is halfway feasible to award a foul against us, but it would be a surprise if there wasn’t some of that.

    Anyway, fresh from that game i was prepared to believe those outrageous stats.

    But, if they are in fact very different stats, we have to look elsewhere (for statistical support of the wrongs we should all be able to see very clearly), simple as that.

    Al’s use of Barcelona stats is a brilliant example. I hoped to see that sort of thing but believed it would be too difficult for a non-spanish speaker to dig them up. So good work there.

    I still think one of the best avenues is if anyone could put together the normal links between possession, goal scoring, points total, etc, and penalties awarded. Across all leagues the relationship should be high: the best teams tend to have most possession and attack most, they’re in the opposition box most, and over time they should consistently get the most penalties in the league.

    Maybe if we have any readers from Germany, Italy, France and Spain respectively, or elsewhere for that matter, they could chip in and unearth the penalty stats for their respective leagues : every one should show the long-term top four sides having very good penalty stats over each, say, 5 year period.

    A last word on the article in question. What it seemed to provide was the essence of what we search for here with statistics to back up our conviction things are very wrong. Unfortunately it eluded us that time.

    But to remind ourselves why we do it just look back at a couple of notorious games this year. That Southampton defeat- 10 fouls for them, 9 us; West Brom away- 14 fouls them, 10 us; West Ham at home 12 fouls us, 9 them. Phhhhhhhhhhhh

    In each case, these are bogus figures, utter nonsense which is barely connected to the truth of each game in terms of foul play.

    The real stats might not look anything like as damning as PK’s incorrect stats did, they might not look damning at all in fact, but they are damning; they do not reflect the reality of what occurs in almost every single game we play.

    We should clear it up, move on and keep trying to do any little thing we can to make it even a little bit more awkward for these crooks to keep doing what they do.

    Sooner PK is back doing his good work the better.

  • Andy Mack

    Tony, I haven’t red the article in the torygraph but have to agree on the point that the vast increase of money across the PL is changing the PL forever. In the same way goal-line and video tech has changed it, and the same way the serious sugar daddy money changed it. Across the years we’ve had people spend loads on their club (including ourselves – Norris), all the way through to Jack Walker at Blackburn, but the Russian money completely changed the figures involved out of all proportion, and changed the PL forever.

    Without the new TV deal we all know that Bournemouth wouldn’t survive in the PL for more than a few seasons (and they’d only survive more than 1 season through a large dose of luck), but if they survive this season then their PL income should put them in a position where even if they go down in 2 seasons, they’ll have enough money to keep a squad to bring them back up very quickly.

    I don’t like Mike Ashley but he’s put a fair wedge of money into the toon club and there aren’t many people that can do that. With the TV deal the little clubs aren’t relying on finding a sugar daddy. Although it will probably make the PL a relatively ‘closed shop’ far more than the FFP ever would have.

  • Al

    Agree with you completely. The sooner we move from this the better for all.

    Like you, I was initially very excited about the stats, but when it turned out they were wrong I was like oh well…maybe not as damning but still damning. A quick perusal of the figures showed we still didn’t get as much justice as we should, and I was ready to move on.

    Unfortunately it did appear some (and this isn’t Josif, btw) were now trying to seize that and use it as an attempt to discredit all the hard work that’s been done on this site. So I thought hang on, even though PK’s stats might have come to the wrong figures still they would show there is something wrong, even though the margins would be much smaller. We all did admit as soon as possible that the stats had been mixed up. But why should we allow that to be used against the argument we get a raw deal, and possibly allowing at the same time to let people dismiss all the ref reviews and other articles, when in essence the conclusion we arrive at will still be that Arsenal get a raw deal, which is what PK set out to prove. And to borrow your line ‘The real stats might not look anything like as damning as PK’s incorrect stats did, they might not look damning at all in fact, but they are damning’. That’s the point.

  • Al

    And one other interesting observation I made while looking at the la liga stats is that their discipline table almost mirrors their league table. While ours is completely random, everything is all over the place. I mean a team that’s second on the league table is second from bottom on the discipline table in the PL! In short teams that are in the top 6 in la liga appear in the top 8 on the discipline table. In the premiership teams that are in the top 6 appear in 1st, 4th, 18th, 11th, 15th, while Stoke are 3rd… you get the idea. No discernible pattern whatsoever.

    It appears in Spain the ‘natural’ selection follows the logic; there is a logical pattern. Meanwhile in the PL…. looks like someone attempted to manipulate things and did a terrible job at that 🙂 Maybe I will dig deeper and write an article one day on this. Anyway, think that’s enough said from me on this topic 🙂

  • It must be nice to live in a world were you never make mistakes, Neverland comes to mind. Why if people are so anti Untold do they still come on this great site, Tony Walter PK and all Untold writers you must be doing something write when people keep coming back in the knowledge that this is a pro Arsenal and Wenger site. Keep up the good work as we appreciate what you are doing and PK my friend we all make mistakes and this is what they wait to pounce on.
    Brickfields Gunners I could not agree more with your posts .

  • thierryhenry22

    This site has regular haters now? Well done Untold you made it!

  • hilbert

    Well put together al. Your comment at 7.57am was what could be expected of true untolder.
    Though i think it’ll always be darn hard to make sense to someone who’s already firmly set on what to believe or not

  • Brian Nye

    Would love to knw what someone disagrees with as those are facts not opinion

  • Zedsaunt

    Let’s get the perspective.

    Arsenal have been awarded 8 penalties this season.

    Leicester City 1.

    Sorry. Try again. And again. And again.

    Incontrovertible – Leicester 8 penalties. Arsenal 1.

    Where do we get an explanation for this?