IT ALL EVENS OUT IN THE END…………………….
Following on from the superb special ref review of the Chelski v Spuds game by Usama and Walter, I was prompted to have a basic look at how different teams and players might get treated.
Now before I start, let’s be clear….yet again…..
I AM NOT A STATISTICIAN
I DO NOT PUT THIS ARTICLE FORWARD AS IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE OF ANYTHING
Nonetheless, I do suggest …..as previously…….if you look in enough places and there are enough things pointing in the same direction, there is perhaps more than a 50/50 chance that you’re on to something.
So today following on from the review mentioned above, I took a cursory look at the teams which had committed the most fouls this season to see how the Spuds fitted in and not unexpectedly, we found them in close contention for the most fouls committed this season. The Spuds had committed some 436 (third highest), just 19 behind the leaders Man U with a rather unhealthy 455 (I’ll come back to them).
When looking at yellow cards the Spuds also sat in second place with some 70 – fair enough one might say. Yet I was fascinated to learn that they were only one of two clubs not to have picked up a red card all season. (NB unless I say otherwise, a red card includes one produced for a second yellow or a straight red).
Now that just seemed a little odd to me.
The average number of fouls committed is 391.6 and the Spuds commit way above average but no red cards. So I compared this with the two ‘cleanest’ teams in the league; that’s Everton with only 294 fouls (over 140 less than the Spuds) and Arsenal with 335 fouls (over 100 less). By comparison, to the Spuds lack of reds, these two received five and four red cards respectively. Hmm……
Now bearing in mind there have been 58 red cards handed out so far this season it seems strange that over 15% of those would go to the two teams which commit the fewest fouls.
Strangerer and strangerer when Spurs and Man U (I said I’d come back to them), as two of the worst three teams in the Premiership (the other is Palace), have received the grand total of just one red (Man U got a second yellow once – someone must have used a machete!).
So, that is to say, two teams responsible for 11.5% of the total fouls committed in the EPL this season have received just 1.7% of the red cards. Hmmmm……….
Now there’s obviously an argument that perhaps the Man U and Spud fouls are all minor infringements while Arsenal’s, for example, are more aggressive and pushing the disciplinary boundaries, hence the differential. So I looked at that too and what I found was the following:
|Fouls committed||% of total fouls in EPL||Yellow cards||% of total yellows||red cards||% of total reds|
Arsenal commits 4.3% of the total fouls and receives 3.4% of the total yellows (which might actually suggest the average severity is less than most teams) yet still we receive a disproportionately high number of red cards.
Meanwhile, as we can see, both the Spuds and Man U receive yellows almost directly in line with the number of fouls they commit but even combined they have received between them just a quarter of the number of reds Arsenal have received. Hmmmmmmmmmmm……….ok I’ll stop that now!
So where does this take us?
Well, if we have a quick look at the Fair Play League quite rightly Arsenal is at the top of that league despite the disproportionate number of red cards. (Everton slip down to fifth because of the number of cards they’ve received.)
What is completely ridiculous is when we look at Man U.
Don’t forget, Man U has committed the highest number of fouls in the premiership. This is over 16% more than average and some 55% more than the team committing the fewest fouls (Everton). Yet they are actually in the top half of the fair play league by virtue of the disproportionately low number of cards they receive. Anybody would think Riley was a Man U fan………..
So that all even’s out in the end…………………………………
SO HOW ARE INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS TREATED
It’s also interesting when you look at the individuals who commit the most fouls but not quite in the same way. I have to admit this takes a lot more time to gather data on, so I haven’t gone into this in too much detail (maybe some other time).
However, I did have a quick look (virtue of whoscored.com) at the top six with the highest fouls-per-game ratio. NB this is based upon players who have made at least the average number of EPL appearances – this is how the website records it btw not a contrivance on my part.
Anyway, what I found for starters was that not one of those players had a red card to their name but that wasn’t too surprising really when we find that half of the six played for Man U and the Spuds. What we did find, however, was that yet again, despite being some of the worst offenders in the league Man U players particularly were being cut considerable slack (just like on that famous day when we should have reached 50 unbeaten………who was the ref that day?!!!)
The table speaks for itself really.
|Player||Team||fouls per game||yellows||mins played||fouls||fouls per yellow|
Just for comparison I looked at six of our ‘worst’ offenders all of whom commit around half the fouls of those six above. Just to see what we might find.
Well blow me down, every one of them picks up cards more often than the Man U players and two of them actually pick up cards more often than any of the six worst offenders in the league shown above. Hmmmm…………whoops sorry!
|Fouls per game||yellows||mins played||fouls||fouls per card|
(NB. The Coq has received 5 yellows and a red, which I have counted as 7 yellows)
What’s amazing is that whilst at 0.9 fouls per game Mo and Coq are two of several players with the equal 107th worst record for fouls per game in the premiership yet seemingly pick up a card for just drawing breath! Unbelievable really.
So once again, I reiterate that none of the above is conclusive but yet again it all seems to point in a certain direction.
I hope it frustrates you lot as much as it did me when I discovered it all……….
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