Liverpool v Arsenal: the battle of the giants of the “in form” tables



by Bulldog Drummond

I am not sure I have seen this combination before, but here it is today.  The most in-form of home teams against the most in-form of away teams

Looking at the table built up from the last six home games of each club we see Liverpool outshining Manchester City by two goals in the GD column.  We also see both having five wins and a draw.  Arsenal are three points behind in this table.


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 6 5 1 0 16 2 14 16
2 Man City 6 5 1 0 17 5 12 16
5 Arsenal 6 4 1 1 17 8 9 13


Looking at the table built up from the last six away games we have Arsenal on top and a very unexpected club in second place.  So unexpected I had to go back and check.  But that is true;  just as it is true that in the “last six away games “table Liverpool are a woeful 13th.


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 6 5 0 1 14 5 9 15
2 Aston Villa 6 4 1 1 9 5 4 13
13 Liverpool 6 1 2 3 3 8 -5 5


This shows more clearly than any other statistic just how dependent Liverpool are on the home crowd which can exploit the proven home team bias of referees.  If you are interested in this topic you might be interested in How the elite group of referees always favour the home teams.  Liverpool take that finding and their crowd work on multiplying it by 10.

It really is an interesting psychological and physical conundrum – how can one team be so much better at home than it is away?  And of course they are not.  At home the crowd effect which we have so often explored and reported on statistically, is multiplied by the most fanaticial home support in the country.

This gives us the key issue concerning the forthcoming Liverpool v Arsenal game. For as a result of the home effect and the referees that give into it, Liverpool have by far the biggest disparity between home and away results of any team in the Premier League.

Thus while Arsenal have gained four more points at home than away – largely explained by having played one more home game than away games, Liverpool have got un unbelievable 17 more points at home than away.  Only Manchester United come close with 13 more points at home than away.

Maybe some commentators have mentioned this in detail – and there are a few comments about Liverpool being “urged on by their incredible home support”, but no one explores the true implication or combines it with the behaviour of some referees in favour of the home team..

Here are the top dozen clubs showing home and away goal difference and points difference…


Home Home Home Away Away Away
Pos Team P GD Pts P GD Pts
1 Arsenal 15 24 38 14 19 34
2 Manchester City 14 33 37 14 12 27
3 Newcastle United 14 14 29 14 12 24
4 Brighton and Hove 14 11 24 13 6 22
5 Aston Villa 14 4 23 15 -5 21
6 Tottenham Hotspur 14 13 30 15 -1 20
7 Manchester United 14 17 33 14 -12 20
8 Fulham 14 1 22 14 -1 17
9 Chelsea 15 3 23 14 -5 16
10 Brentford 14 14 27 15 -6 16
11 Leicester City 14 -2 12 15 -9 13
12 Liverpool 13 25 30 15 -10 13


These figures are extreme even for Liverpool, a club which in 2019/20 gained 11 more points at home than away.   So the question arises, how can we explain this difference other than through the crowd influence on the referee, which is statistically verified through the experimentation we have mentioned so often?

Obviously, the reason we all know about is referees.  Some referees use the traditional method of refereeing which means supporting the home team, because of crowd noise.   Some, recognising that this bias has been discovered and explained now try and reverse that.   A few really do try to be even-handed to home and away teams.

But let’s move on and look at the way the two sides tackle and foul, and for comparison Fulham consider – the most carded club, and Manchester City, the least carded side.  Figures throughout are “per game”.

And as a health warning I would suggest you might want to take a few breaths and ensure you are seated securely before you look at the second table.


Team Tackles Fouls Yellows
Arsenal 14,7 9.5 1.38
Liverpool 14.9 10.0 1.39
Fulham 16.1 10.8 2.43
Manchester City 12.9 9.3 1.21


And now the ratios


Team Tackles / foul Tackles / yellow Fouls / yellow
Arsenal 1.55 10.75 6.88
Liverpool 1.49 10.72 7.19
Fulham 1.49 6.63 4.44
Manchester City 1.39 10.66 7.69


Arsenal are more likely to have a foul given as a yellow than either Liverpool or Manchester City.  But Fulham are following a path we see time and time again.  The club that puts in more tackles gets proportionately more given as yellow cards.  Over and over again we see the referee not giving yellow cards for bad tackles, but for the level of tackling – which is not at all what the rule book says.

Arsenal can undertake more tackles before being called out for a foul, than the other clubs in our little sample.  Arsenal can undertake more tackles before they get a yellow card, but bizarrely an Arsenal foul is more likely to be given a yellow than is the case of Liverpool or Manchester City.

Put this lot of findings together and you might well utter the time-honoured phrase… “it’s a funny ol’ game”.

6 Replies to “Liverpool v Arsenal: the battle of the giants of the “in form” tables”

  1. “I am not sure I have seen this combination before, but here it is today. The most in-form of home teams against the most in-form of away teams”

    Well, it would of been just the other day as I pointed out the need to look at home form in isolation because as I showed, Liverpool are a different proposition at home than they are away. Now whether this is down to the crowd and it’s influence on the referee is certainly a question worth asking, but as you say, nobody except untold ever seems to do so.

    Having a ‘home bias’ referee put in charge today is not only a worry, but neither is it an accident. Anyway, as you missed it this is what I pointed out the other, which includes a mention for our other two very tricky away games as those teams are also formidable at home, but of course without that massive discrepancy between their home and away form.

    Nitram says:

    7 April 2023 at 9:25 PM

    I can see where you are coming from with this, BUT, I think there is a crucial aspect of ‘last 6’ form you are over looking, and that is isolating home and away form, or more specifically home form, because we still have to play 3 of the top 6 performing home teams on their own patch.

    This is the current Home Form table as it stands.

    …………………………………Pl W D L F A GD Pts

    1 Arsenal………………..15 12 2 1 42 18 +24 38
    2 Manchester City………14 12 1 1 47 14 +33 37
    3 Manchester Utd………14 10 3 1 25 08 +17 33
    4 Liverpool………………13 09 3 1 34 09 +25 30
    5 Tottenham…………….14 10 0 4 29 16 +13 30
    6 Newcastle Utd………..14 08 5 1 23 09 +14 29

    Yes, we all know Liverpool are not what they were but never the less their home form is still formidable. Not only is their overall home form good but their ‘last 6’ home form is pretty good, as is Newcastle’s and of course Man City’s

    Man City last 6 Homes: W-5 D-1 L-0
    Liverpool last 6 Homes: W-5 D-1 L-0
    Newcastle last 6 Homes: W-4 D-1 L-1

    Excluding ourselves, we still have to visit 3 of the best 5 home teams.

    A loss at City and a drew at both Liverpool and Newcastle would, in any other season, be perfectly acceptable results.

    If we do that this season it will probably cost us the title.

    Of course we could win all 3 but I’m sorry I just cant see it, despite how good we’ve been.

    The fact is, whatever the last 6, last 10 tables show, our run in is tough, very tough.

  2. There is one element that has not really been talked about here, and I saw it mentionned only once. Klopp and Tierney do not see eye to eye. They had a fallout the last time (if I am not mistaken) Tierney refereed Liverpool. Klopp has said some not very nice things to/about Tierney.

    So…this may be an element capable of reducing the home bias slightly in favour of Arsenal. But then again, this is PGMOB, Anfield and Klopp.

    However my take is that this Arsenal team better keep on doing what they are doing best and win. It is not like next year’s CL games are going to be any easier. Their destiny is in their own hands, and whereas Liverpool may find some motivation in trying to derail Arsenal, Arsenal have the crown to play for. It is not the same motivating factor. And as they have shown this season : they are fighting till the end.

  3. By the way, one avenue for thought : PIGMOB is firing people regularly now… which means they are aware that incompetence (be it by not applying the rules or blatant bias) is starting to be a cause for a referee to lose his job. Which can create all sorts of problems in anyone’s life….

    Considering this is the match of the week-end…I’d bet that the referee team will be much more cautious and try to have good performance. That may create an outlier.

  4. The linesman adds a new meaning to the phrase “PGMOL enforcer”.

    With all of the sackings, suspensions, and now this, it is possible that we won’t have enough officials to finish the season.

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