Tackles, fouls and yellow cards. Arsenal v Brighton




By Bulldog Drummond

Arsenal have played 35 games and Brighton 33 and as we come to the statistics, this is taken into account in these figures on tackles, fouls and yellow cards.

Also included by way of comparison are Crystal Palace (35 games) and West Ham (35 games).  Positions for tackles and offences start with the club that does the least tackles or gets the fewest fouls against or cards in the 1st place.  The worst offenders is thus in 20th.  Figures derived from WhoScored. (These were correct before this afternoon’s games).


Club Tackles Fouls Yellow cards
Arsenal 14.9 (2nd) 9.7 (2nd) 1.40 (4th)
Brighton 16.6 (10th) 10.7 (10th) 1.36 (3rd)
Crystal Palace 18.3 (16th) 12.0 (18th) 3.36 (20th)
West Ham 16.2 (15th) 9.7 (4th) 1.20 (1st)


And now the ratio


Club Tackles / Foul Tackles / yellow Fouls / yellow
Arsenal 1.54 10.64 6.92
Brighton 1.55 12.20 7.87
Crystal Palace 1.53 5.45 3.57
West Ham 1.67 13.5 8.08


As we can see Arsenal, Brighton and Crystal Palace each commit about the same number of tackles before a foul is called.  Best West Ham can commit two and a half times as many tackles before a yellow is drawn than Crystal Palace.   In this regard, Brighton are also like West Ham, being allowed to commit more tackles before a yellow is waved.

This then means that West Ham can commit 16% more fouls than Arsenal before a card is waved, while West Ham can commit more than double the number of fouls that Crystal Palace commit before a yellow card is waved.

Now I mention these West Ham and Crystal Palace figures because they show the extreme oddities there are in the whole foul and card system.  It is of course quite possible that Palace are awful at tackling and yet should Brighton really be getting away with two and a half times as many fouls as Palace before a yellow is waved?  It seems an awful lot.

Or do referees in general think that somehow Brighton’s fouls are always simply not as bad as those committed by Palace?  Some perhaps, but all of them?

Anyway, Brighton can get away with more tackles before a yellow is shown and commit more fouls than Arsenal before a yellow is shown.   We are asked to believe therefore that Arsenal’s fouls are worse than Brighton’s fouls all the way through the season.  Again, it seems rather unlikely to me.

When Arteta took over at Arsenal, Arsenal were the most yellow-carded club in the league.  Now we are the 16th yellow-carded club.  In 2019/20 Arsenal got 86 yellow cards.  This season, if current trends continue through the last three games Arsenal will end up with 53 cards – around about a 40% drop since 2019/20.

And it is worth noting that at first the approach of not getting yellow cards in itself worked, but didn’t actually help Arsenal climb the table, since the defenders we had didn’t quite know how to cope with the new approach of the club.   It took two seasons for Arsenal to reduce its yellow card total AND climb up the league table.  

It is in fact this delay in finding the benefits of the move away from fierce tackling as the prime way of defending that prohibits most clubs from making this change.  Hence the fact that Leeds were the most carded team last season with 101 yellow cards, but are on course to slip down the charts only a fraction this year.

However, overall the number of yellow cards being handed out by referees is dropping and I am hoping to do a review of this across recent seasons, once this season is concluded.

Brighton meanwhile do have a hope of playing in the Europa Conference next season as their league position shows… but they could also dream of the Europa League proper…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 34 26 4 4 89 31 58 82
2 Arsenal 35 25 6 4 83 39 44 81
3 Newcastle United 35 18 12 5 63 31 32 66
4 Manchester United 35 20 6 9 51 41 10 66
5 Liverpool 35 18 8 9 67 42 25 62
6 Tottenham Hotspur 36 17 6 13 65 59 6 57
7 Aston Villa 36 17 6 13 48 44 4 57
8 Brighton and Hove Albion 33 16 7 10 63 45 18 55


But they have a problem with their remaining fixtures after the Arsenal game, which are 

  • Thursday 18th May: Newcastle away
  • Sunday 21st May: Southampton home
  • Wednesday 24th May: Manchester City home
  • Sunday 28th May: Aston Villa away

Newcastle look dodgy because of this insane vision their manager and supporters have that the club is being unfairly hurt because of time wasting by other teams, when in fact it is their own time that is the worst timewasters in the league.   That level of delusion is never helpful for a club.

Southampton are down.  Manchester City look impossible to beat, even with European engagement continuing, and Aston Villa themselves want that 7th spot.  Brighton might just do it, but defeat to Arsenal, could make it look very hard indeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *