Arsenal v Tottenham with clubs now getting more cards than they put in tackles!




By Bulldog Drummond

The referee for the Arsenal v Tottenham game is Rob Jones.  Assistants are Lee Betts and Wade Smith, with the fourth official being Michael Salisbury.  Paul Tierney is on VAR and Harry Lennard assisting.

For once this might be a propitious decision for Arsenal since Mr Jones has already seen five games this season, and none of them has been an away win.  Three were home wins and two were draws.

A further insight into his bias (and remember that in the regard of home and away results) most referees still show a distinct bias as a result of crowd behaviour – see our multiple articles establishing this over time – for example here –  or take a look at the whoscored data). 

As we can see that when we consider the referees who oversaw 25 or more games last season in the Premier League, the home win percentage varied enormously.


Referee Games HomeWin% AwayWin% Draw%
Stuart Attwell 25 72.0 12.0 16.0
Robert Jones 26 65.4 26.9 7.7
Michael Oliver 30 60.0 23.3 16.7
Simon Hooper 29 55.2 17.2 27.6
Paul Tierney 30 50.0 30.0 20.0
Anthony Taylor 30 33.3 43.3 23.3


A range of home wins from 72% down to 33.3% is crazy and can only be explained (at least thus far) by how much the referee is influenced by the crowd.

Now we know that Arsenal’s home crowd has been very positive this season, and certainly on Wednesday the crowd was utterly alight and supportive of the team at every move.   So given the referee’s propensity for home wins, we should be ok.  Anthony Taylor on the other hand would of course be most welcome at the Unsponsored Tottenham Staduim for the return match.

Tottenham have been firing on most if not all cylinders this season


Date Match Res Score Competition
13 Aug 2023 Brentford v Tottenham Hotspur D 2-2 Premier League
19 Aug 2023 Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester Utd W 2-0 Premier League
26 Aug 2023 Bournemouth v Tottenham Hotspur W 0-2 Premier League
29 Aug 2023 Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur L 1-1 (5-3) League Cup
02 Sep 2023 Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur W 2-5 Premier League
16 Sep 2023 Tottenham Hotspur v Sheffield Utd W 2-1 Premier League


… and they have 13 goals to Arsenal’s nine, and conceded five to Arsenal’s four.  Of course, they are not playing in Europe this season, and sometimes one might argue that they have a benefit from that, although I suspect at this stage of the season, Arsenal will have the benefit of such a fine performance and win in mid-week, while Tottenham were presumably either watching TV or down the pub.  Or something.

But let us now have a look at the negative issues: tackles, fouls and yellow cards


Club Tackles Fouls Yellows
Arsenal 13.4 9.2 6
Tottenham Hotspur 17.8 11.0 17
Newcastle United 15.0 12.8 17
Liverpool 16.8 10 9


Now you will know if you have been reading Untold for a few years that the first thing Arteta did when he came to Arsenal as manager was cut the yellow card total in half by cutting the tackling, and since then the tackling has stayed at a low level.   Tottenham in fact have undertaken 33% more tackles this season than Arsenal!

However, their fouling rate is only 20% above Arsenal’s but their yellow card rate is running at 280% of Arsenal’s rate.  Arsenal in fact have the smallest number of yellows except for (of course, as ever,) Manchester City, who have one fewer.

So let’s see how the referees are working this…


Club Tackles per foul Tackles per yellow Fouls per yellow
Arsenal 1.46 2.23 1.53
Tottenham Hotspur 1.62 1.04 0.64
Newcastle United 1.17 0.88 0.75
Liverpool 1.68 1.86 1.11


As Goal gleefully tells us, “The 13 bookings in Tottenham’s win over Sheffield United set a new Premier League record for most yellow cards in a single game.”  But perhaps we should not be too surprised, for after all last season Richarlison received more yellow cards for celebrating goals than he has actually scored.  How very Tottenham!

The Tottenham and Newcastle figures showing more yellow cards than tackles are bonkers, and really the clubs ought to sort their relationship with PGMO out.  Arsenal faced a similar attack from PGMO in Arteta’s first year at the club, and sank down to 15th in the league while changing their style of play to accommodate the referees.  Mind you, I only mention this because Tottenham won’t take any notice, and I suspect most Tottenham fans won’t believe it.

But if they want to make progress they are going to have to note how PGMO run things, and change their style accordingly as Arsenal and Manchester City before them, have done.  Here’s the league table…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 5 5 0 0 14 3 11 15
2 Tottenham Hotspur 5 4 1 0 13 5 8 13
3 Liverpool 5 4 1 0 12 4 8 13
4 Arsenal 5 4 1 0 9 4 5 13
5 Brighton and Hove Albion 5 4 0 1 15 7 8 12


Tottenham are of course be above Arsenal by two places in the league with a +3 better goal difference but I suspect they are going to run into trouble if they don’t start acknowledging PGMO manipulations in the way that Arsenal did.   As for Newcastle, we’ll leave that for another day.

More later.

3 Replies to “Arsenal v Tottenham with clubs now getting more cards than they put in tackles!”

  1. It will take a while for Postalcoglu to figure it out. After all, everyone is telling him that the refs are great.

  2. A few words of warning about Mr Jones…

    1) His performance at St Mary’s last season, where as many as THREE Arsenal penalties and THREE Southampton red cards should have been awarded

    2) At home vs Aston Villa, he let a lot of Villa incidents go unpunished

    3) He seems to like Mr Maddison, the new Spurs number 10, judging by what happened at Brentford in August; Maddison shook his hand after playing an advantage leading to a Spurs goal, as well as only getting one yellow card for all his strong fouls

  3. PGMOL’S VAR did not pick up the handball by Odogie shown on Sky’s Refs programme. A raised hand above the head making contact with a crossed ball is a penalty. #ARSTOT #PGMOL

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