Community Shield: Arsenal and Man City moving in completely different directions




Manchester City go fouling

By Tony Attwood

I am not sure it made many headlines elsewhere, but the fouling figures from yesterday’s game were rather unexpected, although none of the mainstream reporters seem to have noticed.  Or if they did, maybe they didn’t mention it as it doesn’t quite fit their agenda.

And given the unusual nature of the fouling figures, it is a shame that the figures for the number of tackles has not been released from the normal sources at all, for yesterday’s game.   Indeed even the normally very reliable WhoScored has on its reporting page for the match a space for “tackles,” but no information is filled in.

However the one bit of data we have got is fouls in the game, and very interesting reading it makes indeed.  Data for the game can be found here, and last season’s data here.   And here is what happened yesterday, compared with last season…


Team Fouls per game last season Fouls in Community Shield game Difference
Arsenal 9.8 6.0 61%
Manchester City 9.1 11.0 121%


The differences are remarkable.   Last season Arsenal and Manchester City were both at the low end of the list in terms of fouls per game, Manchester City being the least fouling team in the league and Arsenal just three places below them.  But while Arsenal seemed either to treat the game as a friendly (by not fouling) or have a new tactical plan when it comes to wrestling control of the match away from the referee, Manchester City traveled in the opposite direction – fouling at 121% of last season’s average rate.

Now to be fair if we had only seen the Manchester City figure it would have not caused much comment – we are comparing the average across 38 games last season with one match at the start of this season.  So this doesn’t mean that suddenly Manchester City have decided to kick the opposition of the park.  But Arsenal, despite having this increased number of fouls from Manchester City took their fouling rate down to under two thirds of last season’s average.

These are both unexpected figures, and it will be fascinating to see what happens with next weekend’s opening league fixtures.  Not only to measure what happens in terms of Arsenal and Manchester City, but also to see if the tackle total then turns up.  If not, that would be highly suspicious, given the amount we have written about tackles in the past 12 months.

But we do have a hint for Who Scored has published a tackles table for players who committed most tackles.  The problem is we don’t know if that is complete or not, so we can’t really draw conclusions, but the top tackler from this snippet of data was Bernado Silva with four, and Rodri with three.   The top tackling Arsenal players each made two tackles (Saliba, Rice and Partey).

What we do know is that referees are acting differently this season.   Apart from the Arteta card near the start of the game, Gabriel was booked for getting in the way of Ortega when the City keeper was trying to take a goal kick while Partey was booked on five minutes.   These cards however are not carried forward into the rest of the season so everyone starts again with the blank sheet next week.

Elsewhere there is talk of taking the Community Shield to the United States next season.  The legal case against Fifa’s ruling that league matches can only be played in the country of the league (which is to say Arsenal v Tottenham could not at the moment be played in the United States) is still ongoing, but that does only include league games.

The Athletic has reported however that the clubs fear too much of a backlash at the moment if any league matches were to be moved to the United States, which again would make the Community Shield a prospect for moving.    Especially as it is the FA that arranges the game not the League, and they have shown that they will do anything for money.

The Athletic is also quoting Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin as saying that it is “possible” that Champions League fixtures “could be staged in the United States from 2026 onwards.”  With Cerferin in charge we know already that anything is possible, and certainly the big clubs like Arsenal, now spending ever greater sums on transfers, are looking for every source of income they can find.

Ceferin is also talking about “two single-leg semi-finals and a final into a Champions League “final four” week,” again according to the Athletic.  A further possibility is that the Europa semi-finals and final could also be taken to America to give a bumper week of “soccer” in the United States.

And there is a further worry.  For if the United States don’t get such matches soon, there is every chance that Saudi Arabia will bid double the price to have the Finals Week staged in their country – in the heat of May.   Just part of the fun that is to come with this bunch of people in control.

15 Replies to “Community Shield: Arsenal and Man City moving in completely different directions”

  1. Tony, the figures for this game do not allow for the differential refereeing. For example, the first foul awarded against Partey, linked to his yellow card early in the match was a complete nonsense. He had won the ball cleanly and the free kick was given because the Manchester player fell over.

    On a general point, I believe that Man City are under-penalised. They are practitioners of rotational fouling and are helped by the knowledge that referees are not inclined to issue yellow cards to them, (as was the case yesterday). Rodri, in particular gets away with bad fouls in most games. Haaland commits a lot of fouls as well, but these are often disregarded and attributed to the fact that he is simply bigger than the majority of other players.

  2. Arsenal are a joke club populated by delusional fans that don’t understand football. The way you clowns celebrated a flukey win yesterday was hilarious. You’ll win no important games this season.

  3. One of the many enjoyable things about running this site and reading the over a quarter of a million comments we have received over the years, is the way supporters of different teams respond to articles here. What makes it so interesting is that each different club seems to have supporters who write in using a different style – and Manchester City is no exception. The approach (and we have seen it quite a bit of late) involves just making the statement that Arsenal supporters are delusional, don’t get football, clowns etc etc.
    No evidence is ever presented that is worthy of name, and yet as an approach it goes on and on.
    Let me try to explain Mr Trent: support is about celebrating the victory of your club – especially if it is a club that you have been with since childhood, and doubly so if it is a club that has sunk down the league table in order to change its entire style of playing and rebuild its whole approach.
    We were of course celebrating winning the shield, but much more, the continuing re-birth and subsequent growth of the club including in part through the development of players who have come up through Arsenal’s youth system and those brought in from elsewhere, early in their career.
    I am sorry you cannot appreciate a broader picture, but more than that, that you have a view of life which suggests that a match can be described totally in around 30 words, and that the entire fan base of one club can be lumped together as being the same. That is the way racism began, and it is sad to see that style of thinking still prevelant.

  4. @ Trent,

    well, as far as I am concerned, looking at City’s history, before it became a subsidiary to an oil emirate, you, as a fan, were then totally and utterly delusional, celebrating mid table league results or relegations and pretty much never celebrating a trophy.

    What goes up must come down.

  5. I have no problem with cautions for Partey and Havertz. Partey’s was a wasted caution. I would fine any payer who is cautioned for kicking the ball away. However Rodri is immune from cautioning. We were led to believe that shirt pulling is a mandatory caution. Attwell appears to be in awe of Guardiola in the same way Riley was terrified of Ferguson. Guardiola is no doubt upset as he cannot now employ his “game management” strategy.

  6. IMHO, what we saw yesterday, is a young team that for many of it’s players was quicker then their opposition, weathered the initial onslaught brilliantly (how many shots on goal in the first 25 minutes with 80% possession ? zero or maybe one ….) and then took control of most of the game.

    The positioning onfield, did not allow City to do much. They were slower, did not function as a unit as well as Arsenal. How many balls did Haaland touch ? Talk about good defending.

    So what happens then ? They go for tackles and fouls. They saw what United did and resorted to copycat behaviour the more so that the referee was all on their side.

    City are a team getting older. I don’t see many youngsters coming from their academy. Arsenal have managed to make their team even younger this season.

    City are going to have a hard time coping this season. The more so if a couple more players decide to change clubs as this could end up being the case.

    Arsenal have raised their battleflag yesterday. And I can bet you Guardiola and others are worried. Because in spite of playing the so-called best team in the world with the best manager in the galaxy and one of the worst referees in the PL on their opponent’s side, they did not let doubt creep in and prevailed in the end.

    And Arteta and Edu were able to keep the team together and get players who fit in and mae the team better. All credit to them.

    There is no better statement of intent then this game. Now comes the hard part… 38 more games to go. None will be easy. It will be a roller coaster. But frankly, mr Trent, I’m much more happy to be watching Arsenal then you’ll be this season watching City.

  7. Arsenal

    The club has won 13 league titles (including one unbeaten title), a record 14 FA Cups, two League Cups, 17 FA Community Shields, 1 European Cup Winners’ Cup, and 1 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

    Meaning in terms of trophies won, we are still the third-most successful club in English football.

    Man City

    The club has won 9 league titles, 7 FA Cups, 8 League Cups, 6 FA Community Shields, 1 UEFA Champions League, and 1 European Cup Winners’ Cup.

    That’s 32 trophies.

    But the thing is, prior to the arrival of the Mansours in 2008, or more accurately before the arrival of the Billions of un earned money, Man City managed to win a poultry 11 trophies over 114 years.

    That means 21 of their trophies have been attained since the arrival of that un earned money back in 2008.

    That’s 33% of their trophies during 10% of their existence. An existence entirely funded by Arab Sports washing.

    Nobody except Man City’s fans take anything they do seriously. Anybody, and I mean anybody could win what they have, given their wealth. Not only that but on the back of that extreme wealth they threaten anyone who has the temerity to challenge their business model.

    A badly run club yo yoing between divisions, hardly capable of winning an egg and spoon race for donkeys years are bailed out by a Nation state using them, and others, to sports wash their disgraceful human rights record and you call us deluded.

    You couldn’t make it up.

  8. Noting the predictable negative responses from the ex Man.Utd “experts”: –

    Roy Keane considers that Arsenal paid far too high a price for Declan Rice. Really?

    If this is the case, how does he rate the £80 million which his favourite club paid for Harry Maguire?

  9. For those who watched the ceremony who was the guy Pep blanked when he went to get his medal?

  10. And how much did ManU pay for the goal-plundering Antony? The figure escapes me just now but i’m sure Roy Keane knows.

  11. @mike,

    I find it amusing that for so long Arsenal were lambasted for not spending. Now they spend, and as seen last year, pretty wisely, and they get lambasted again for spending.

    Damned if you do…damned if you don’t. These guys, will always find some negative angle. The Arsenal hatred they have just colours any comment. Let them do their crap…in the meantime we can enjoy our 17th Shield, our positive transfer window, the fact that visibly the new players are already capable or playing in the new system, the fact that the owners have decided to put the money where their mouth is, the fact that many a young Gunner has signed a new long term contract…and on and on I could go.

    They are jealous. They can’t believe they did not see it coming like Untold has been telling them for a couple of years. They cannot find any rational negative. So they just say crap.

    The french idiots commenting the game yesterday kept saying that Arsenal were afraid…it was so clear, they had not even 20% possession in the first 25 minutes. Poor Arsenal..afraid of big wolf City…and on and on… and City so superior, just deserving the win for showing up and showing Arsenal that there was no way the new season would not give them the title. My guess is they were not watching the game but listening to themselves. Or how do you explain 25 minutes with no real shot on goal ? It was an Arteta/Arsenal masterclass in how to shut down City and Haaland. As I said…when you can’t face reality, say crap and build an alternate reality.

  12. Nitram,

    Whatever you say about MCFC and its Abu Dhabi owners, in a pure sports washing sense, they can’t hold a candle to Dubai.

  13. The amazing truth that seems to slip our minds as we respond to idiotic comments is the PGMOL apologies for cheating (they call it mistakes), In the Community Shield programme on page 25 there is a snippet titled Brentford Error. It is not an error but a specific PGMOL cheat to rob Arsenal of points. These points equate to hundreds of thousand pounds each. The value must be fought for in the courts and repaid to the clubs hard done by.

    The early goal scored by Arsenal against Manchester United at Old Trafford was docked off by VAR for an incident on the M1. They apologised for the cheat as it was in close proximity to their collection point of brown envelopes. There are other incidents that influenced the flow of games that are a specialist system of officiating to interfere with the game.

    As good a squad as Arsenal have and no matter how many games we win, there will always be a PGMOL official that has been selected by dark racist arts and appointed by evil to deliver results to profit those in control.

  14. Lee Mason has been re-hired by Howard Webb to train referees!!!!!

    You couldn’t make it up.

    At best, it’s cronyism. It would certainly seem to be indicative of poor governance within PGMOL and/or the Premier League. Remember FIFA?

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