Arsenal and Leeds: tackles, fouls, yellow and how the referee will see this


Arsenal v Leeds: a warning note

By Bulldog Drummond

Here is the regular tackles, fouls and yellow cards comparison between the two clubs, and now we have added an extra line showing how far above Arsenal, Leeds are in each regard.  Figures from WhoScored.


Tackles Fouls Yellow
Arsenal 14.7 9.5 1.43
Leeds United 22.7 12.3 2.15
Difference % Leeds +54% Leeds + 29% Leeds +50%


So as we can see from the final line in the table above Leeds put in 54% more tackles than Arsenal, but only get 29% more fouls against them than Arsenal, but then get 50% more yellow cards than Arsenal.  It’s typical of lower-league teams, but still curious.

The explanation seems to be that referees are hesitant to call persistently tackling teams out for fouls at the normal rate, and so let them get away with more and more tackles that are not called as fouls.  But then, in the end, they punish the club by increasing the number of yellow cards at the same rate as the tackles increase.   Thus Leeds do 54% more tackling than Arsenal and get 50% more yellow cards as a reward.

So even though the refereeing is bonkers, the result works out.


Tackles/Foul Tackles/yellow Fouls/Yellow
Arsenal 1.55 10.28 6.64
Leeds United 1.85 10.56 5.72
Difference % Leeds +19% Leeds + 3% Arsenal + 16%


Leeds as we can see put in 19% more tackles than Arsenal, before they get called out for a foul, 3% more tackles before they get shown a yellow card than Arsenal and Arsenal are allowed to commit 16% more fouls before they get shown a yellow card.

So overall, as with other high-tackling teams the whole process simply isn’t very successful.   And indeed this is emphasised with the comparison of Arsenal at home and Leeds United away:

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal home 14 11 2 1 38 17 21 35
16 Leeds United away 14 2 3 9 17 26 -9 9


Arsenal have won 11 of their home games against Leeds’ two victories.  One of Leeds’ away victories came in the early part of the season against Liverpool 1-2, and the other was in their last match 2-4 against Wolverhampton.  Although to explain this a little only Leicester, Bournemouth and Southampton have a worse home record than Wolverhampton.

So looking at that comparison above, a home win looks a dead cert.  Arsenal’s average home score is 2.17 goals for Arsenal and 1.21 for the opposition.   Leeds’ average away score is 1.21 goals for Leeds and 1.85 for the opposition.

Put that together and we ought to see a 4-1 win.

Indeed against the teams who might consider themselves top-four contenders this season, Leeds have managed just one win – that 2-1 away win at Anfield.  Otherwise, it has been defeats to Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United, and draws with Newcastle and Manchester United.

But here is a warning note.  Leeds have only lost one of these games (at home to Manchester City in December) by more than one goal.  That result was 1-3.  Which suggests that their approach of tackle, tackle, and then for fun tackle, is actually paying off.  It might get them lots of fouls against as we have seen, but tends to put the classier opposition on the back foot.

One more thing… we usually associate Leeds with a fight against relegation, and although a cursory glance at the league table might suggest this is not the case this season, what with Leeds being in 14th, the fact is that Leeds are only two points above West Ham United.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
14 Leeds United 27 6 8 13 35 44 -9 26
15 Everton 28 6 8 14 22 40 -18 26
16 Nottingham Forest 27 6 8 13 22 49 -27 26
17 Leicester City 27 7 4 16 38 47 -9 25
18 West Ham United 26 6 6 14 24 34 -10 24
19 AFC Bournemouth 27 6 6 15 25 54 -29 24
20 Southampton 28 6 5 17 23 46 -23 23


Now West Ham are interesting as before the season started Sports Mole, in common with a number of commentators said, “With West Ham’s squad looking in better shape than the previous year, Moyes will be optimistic about his side’s chances of competing on all fronts this term, with success in the Europa Conference League and qualification for the Champions League via their top-flight position high on the agenda.”   They predicted West Ham would finish 7th.


Anyway, any of those teams could go down.   And as the media are saying, if Everton go, they could also go bust.

More shortly….


6 Replies to “Arsenal and Leeds: tackles, fouls, yellow and how the referee will see this”

  1. Hey! gooner72

    Showing your age there my friend 😄

    But as you say, fantastic prediction Bulldog 👍

  2. 4th is not a trophy place and St Toteringham’s day are coming closer by the matchday-
    And we’ve got a deeper squad as everyone has been given Arsenal credit for.

  3. Fascinating what the deadwood scriblers can come up with in terms of total BS….

    Taken from the web, a comment on the coming Liverpool game published after Arsenal’s victory…

    “The Reds have struggled in the campaign, but have got themselves back in the hunt for top four and could cause plenty of problems.”

    Yeah…losing 4-1 at the Ethihad is exactly what he wrote : got themselves back in the hunto for top four…

    And the comment on the next 4 games tell us Arsenal are doomed anyway.

    That level of stupidity deserves a price

  4. Nitram,

    Thanks for catching the reference my friend. No one usually does!

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