Wolverhampton: the mind-numbing club
By Bulldog Drummond
As we saw in our opening article on the final game of the season, Wolverhampton are a club in the lower reaches of the league, but not a club in danger of descent into the darkness. So we can take a look at their tackling and fouling record knowing that they perhaps won’t approach the game with any sense of desperation (which can lead to more and more fouling as a match progresses). If they do it will be just force of habit.
And I will add in a couple of other teams for comparison – although after this weekend we’ll take a look at the whole league in terms of tackling etc, to see if any other clubs have started to produce the weird and bizarre figures of the type that we spotted at Leicester a few years ago. We’ll also be looking to see if any club has followed Arsenal’s obviously successful (but in terms of journalistic comment, non-existent) approach to cutting yellow cards in half.
All figures are “per game”.
|Arsenal||14.9 (19th)||9.9 (17th)||1.41 (17th)|
|Wolverhampton Wand||17.6 (7th)||12.2 (2nd)||2.71 (1st)|
|Manchester City||12.4 (20th)||9.2 (20th)||1.19 (19th)|
|Leeds United||22.1 (1st)||12.4 (1st)||2.19 (3rd)|
So Arsenal and Manchester City tackle less than any other teams in the league – exactly as we predicted would happen when we first started tracking Arteta’s revolution in his early days – a revolution which in terms of yellow cards took Arsenal from being the most carded club in the league down to the 17th.
Wolverhampton Kickemout as they might be better named have the most yellow cards in the league – a total of 84 in fact, just a couple of cards under double the amount West Ham got. They might well get those in this final game.
Comparing Arsenal and Wolverhampton we find as expected Arsenal tackle less, foul less and get fewer yellow cards than Wolverhampton.
And we really should notice that now Arsenal have only Manchester City below them in terms of the number of tackles being put in. Indeed it seems tackling is changing.
So we can do the regular cross-reference table…
|Club||Tackles per foul||Tackles per yellow||Fouls per yellow|
And as often happens with this table it shows us where a team has a problem. In terms of fouling Wolverhampton are not that far off from everyone else in the table in terms of the number of tackles that they can dish out before a foul is called. But when it comes to the next stage, that level of tackling leads to yellow cards.
Then where they go spectacularly wrong is that while the notable tackling team of Leeds United can put in 10.09 tackles before a yellow is waved around, with Wolverhampton it is only 6.49 tackles before one of them gets rewarded by waving ref.
Which is why they are top of the yellow card table after coming second in the fouling table. It may seem obvious that the two should be linked but it is not always the case. Some of those fouls must be truly awful for the referees to be so vigilant on this score.
You would think that the club might have realised this by now. But it was probably the fact that on 14 October the foot of the league table read…
that the club decided the only way forward was the kick its way up the table. After all, after nine games they had only scored three goals.
And sadly we must note that with them now 13th, as a tactic it has worked. For once we can say PGMO are, at least to some degree doing their bit, although whether that bit was enough is a matter for debate.
But where we have a club that has played 37 and scored just 31 goals and yet is only slightly under halfway down the table – and has the highest number of yellow cards in the league – it is obvious what is going on.
They score fewer goals than anyone else, so they have, more than anything, to make sure that the opposition are not going to score against them. They have played four goalless draws in the league this season, and an utterly staggering 13 (yes thirteen) games in which only one goal has been scored. So just under half of all their games had one goal or none at all!!!
Mind-numbing hardly seems the word. OK two words. But it still hardly seems it.
- Arsenal continue to make more progress than the rest of the big seven
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t
- Arsenal v Tottenham: different clubs, different managers, different successes