Arsenal v Man Utd. How the ref has behaved so far, and the teams fouled the most



Please join our supporters’ association: it’s free!

If you enjoy Untold Arsenal please do show your appreciation by becoming an associate member of AISA – Arsenal Independent Supporters’ Association.  Untold is quite separate from AISA and our views don’t always coincide exactly, but AISA is a valuable way of communicating your thoughts and feelings to the club.   Joining AISA is completely free, and being a member does make a statement that you value the idea of being positive about Arsenal and working positively with the club.   You can join for free at

By Bulldog Drummond

And so a quick summary of what happened in the transfer window… Arsenal bought in Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, Jurriën Timber, and David Raya and saw Nicolas Pépé return with nowhere else to go.

Out on transfers went Folarin Balogun, Granit Xhaka, Matt Turner, Auston Trusty, Pablo Marí, Rob Holding, Ben Cottrell, and Nikolaj Möller.   16 players went on loan while Matt Smith and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were released.  In particular with the loans Marquinhos went to Nantes, Charlie Patino to Swansea, Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson to Cardiff City, Tyreece John-Jules to Derby, Albert Sambi Lokonga to Luton Town and Kieran Tierney to Real Sociedad.

And so back to the match.  The officials are according to VBet

  • Referee: Anthony Taylor.
  • Assistants: Gary Beswick, Lee Betts.
  • Fourth official: Darren Bond.
  • VAR: Jarred Gillett.
  • Assistant VAR: Simon Bennett.

In the table below we show Anthony Taylor’s record this season for home and away teams.  In each regard he is a typical referee when it comes to dealing with the home and away issue.  Far from treating each team equally, he has favoured the home team.  And for comparison, I’ve added the figures of another referee who has taken three games


Referee Fouls pg Fouls/Tackles YelLOWs
Anthony Taylor home 7.67 0.68 7
Anthony Taylor away 11.33 0.71 10
Peter Bankes home 7.67 0.50 3
Peter Bankes away 12.67 0.53 7


What we can see is that our referee for this match against Manchester United is favouring the home team, giving fewer fouls to the home team, fewer fouls per tackle to the home team and fewer yellows to the home team.   And to show he is not alone in this approach we can take a look at the record of another referee who has taken three games this season, Peter Bankes.   The fouls details are simliar, there is some variation with the fouls per tackle data, but when we come to yellow cards there is a huge difference.   17 by Taylor 10 by Bankes.  It is reasonable to ask, what on earth is going on?

Of course it can be argued that unfortunately Taylor has seen three games in which the players were a bunch of hearty roughs who liked to kick each other, but a difference of seven yellow cards across just three games is quite large and needs watching.

And that alerted us to what else is happening among the referees this season, and looking more closely we found that so far this season we have had Tim Robinson award 29 fouls in one game while Jarred Gillett awarded just 13 fouls in one game.  OK games do vary, but do they vary that much?   I doubt it and again we’ll need to keep watching to find out what curious tricks PGMO are up to this season.

Plus while we are at it, yellow cards are varying too.   Andy Madely has given out 8.5 yellows per game, Michael Salisbury 2 per game.   But still, perhaps it will all balance out in the end like they say… although actually they don’t say this about referees, since the media never comments on referees – and looking at these figures we can see absolutely why.  If they did, the upsurge in feelings against PGMO would be huge.

There is one other interesting referee statistic while we are at it – which clubs are fouled the most.  This is a table that consistently puzzles me because I can’t quite see why one team should be fouled so much more than others.  As you can see from this chart, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City are close to each other in the lower part of the table.

Last season Arsenal were the team fouled the fourth most while Manchester United were fouled the least.   And the range is huge; Brentford are fouled twice as much as Sheffield United.

Here is this season’s table…

Team Fouled pg
1. Brentford 13.7
2. Newcastle 13
3. Crystal Palace 12.3
4. Chelsea 12
5. Aston Villa 12
6. Tottenham 11.7
7. Luton 11.7
8. Brighton 11.7
9. Wolves 11.3
10. Nottingham Forest 11.3
11. Liverpool 11
12. Bournemouth 11
13. Manchester City 10.3
14. Arsenal 10
15. Manchester United 10
16. Fulham 9.7
17. Everton 9.3
18. West Ham 8.8
19. Burnley 8
20. Sheffield United 6

It’s a funny ol’ game as someone once said.

4 Replies to “Arsenal v Man Utd. How the ref has behaved so far, and the teams fouled the most”

  1. Whenever you talk about fouls you appear to start from the assumption all fouls are the same, they aren’t. Some players are downright obvious in their fouling and some are much much cleverer. Similarly some teams are clever at rotating the fouling while for others its always the same few players which makes a yellow as the ref tots up the number of fouls much more likely. Its easy to to come up with numbers but unless you can show that you are comparing similar situations the numbers are worthless.

  2. A good example of a clever foul is the foul on Gabriel Jesus in the lead-up to United’s disallowed goal. Everyone in the stadium saw it, apart from the officials. Worse still, GJ got a yellow card for it.

Leave a Reply

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