Arsenal v Chelsea. Chelsea tackle more, foul more, get more yellows



The forthcoming games

By Bulldog Drummond

Ahead of this game against Chelsea, Arsenal have played 33 games, Chelsea 32.  Chelsea have consistently put in more tackles than Arsenal, committed more fouls than Arsenal, and got more yellow cards than Arsenal.  Figures here are per game.


Tackles Comparison Fouls Comparison Yellow Comparison
Arsenal  14.8 9.6 1.45
Chelsea 20.0 +35.1% 10.6 +10.4% 2.06 +42.1%


That all seems quite logical – the club that commits lots more tackles (Chelsea) than the other is most likely to commit more fouls, although as you can see above the number of extra fouls seems suspiciously small.   Chelsea commits 35% more tackles than Arsenal but only gets given 10% more fouls against them and yet get 42% more yellow cards.  It is indeed a funny old game.

It seems, as we have seen with other clubs, referees are willing to let clubs commit fouls by the score, but once they get to a certain number their players start getting the yellow cards.  Indeed Chelsea have 66 yellow cards to Arsenal’s 48 this season – and they have played one fewer game.

It rather looks as if no one at Chelsea has studied referee behaviour as Arteta did when he was at Manchester City.  Indeed as soon as he came to Arsenal he immediately started work on reducing the number of tackles in order to take control of the team away from the PGMO men and give it back to him, the manager.

Anyway, that is not our problem.  But let us move on to look at the ratios.  And we can see Chelsea can put in a load more tackles before a foul is called, but balancing this up they put in fewer fouls before a yellow is given.   It is all very curious, but it is exactly what we have seen with other clubs.


Tackles/ foul Comparison AFC: CFC Tackles/ yellow Comparison AFC: CFC Fouls/ yellow Comparison AFC: CFC
Arsenal  14.8 10.2 6.62
Chelsea 20.0 +35% 9.7 -0.5% 5.14 -22.4%



The decision on the referee has come very late – most websites at the moment of writing this have no confirmation.  But it appears to be  Robert Jones so let’s have a look at how he has done.

He is the third-highest yellow carder of all the referees who have done 10+ Premier League games, and he is the third highest awarded of home wins among the referees with 20+ games this season.

So why have the PGMO been so slow to make this appointment?  Of course, it could just be raging incompetence – they forgot there was a game and so didn’t appoint anyone.  Or it might have been that they were looking for the right sort of referee for their needs.

Obviously, we don’t know, and of course if there was the rule we keep asking for, of no referee being allowed to oversee any team more than twice, it would be fairly simple to make the choice.   But without that rule, all attention is bound to focus on this referee’s performances so far.

Once again looking at this table we can see the insanity of PGMO refereeing – PGMO have Taylor with a home-win percentage this season of under one-third and Pawson with an away win rate of 45% of all the games he oversees.  It is crazy.

But Jones it is, and Jones gives 59.1% home wins – the third highest among referees who have overseen 10+ games in the PL this season. But with 9.1% draws he is the lowest overseer of draws in the league aside from time Robinson who has only done two games.  In terms of away wins he is halfway down the charts.  Mr Average in fact.


Referee Games HomeWin% AwayWin% Draw%
Anthony Taylor 26 30.8% 42.3% 26.9%
Simon Hooper 25 60.0% 16.0% 24.0%
Robert Jones 22 59.1% 31.8% 9.1%
Craig Pawson 20 35.0% 45.0% 20.0%


But what about the fouls?   Here the referee  is not very relaxed in terms of the number of fouls players commit before a yellow pops up.  In fact, only Michael Salisbury gives out a yellow for a smaller number of fouls.   So with a bit of luck he will keep the Chelsea fouling down.

We’ll take this further in the next article.



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