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By Bulldog Drummond
One of the many problems with changing managers regularly is that it can be hard for clubs to adopt a consistent policy in terms of issues such as avoiding yellow cards.
As you may have noted (since we often mention it) Arsenal were kings of the yellow card charts in 2019/20, and I bring this up again because that season Tottenham Hotspur were second in the yellow card table.
But let us now track what happened subsequently and for simplicity, we’ll just focus on the yellows
*Assuming the current rate of cards per game continues to the end of the season.
Obviously, it is unlikely that Tottenham really will knock up 129 yellow cards, because they surely must eventually see the sense in stopping doing things that induce referees to give them yellow cards. And here I am not suggesting that referees are acting reasonably, fairly or in a balanced way. We know they don’t when overseeing Arsenal games so there is no reason (without any evidence to the contrary) to assume they are doing so with Tottenham games.
But the fact is that at the moment Tottenham don’t seem to be considering what to do about the issue. On the contrary, Tottenham seem to be taking their season 2019/20 as a blueprint rather than as the warning, that Arsenal perceived it to be.
Part of the problem of course is likely to be managerial. Between November 2019 and today Tottenham have had seven permanent and temporary managers (although the difference between permanent and temporary seems a bit arbitrary since most of them turned out to be in effect temporary). They are / were, Mourinho, Mason, Espirito Santo, Conte, Stellini, Mason and Postecoglou. Arsenal over the same period have had two managers: Ljungberg and Arteta.
Of Tottenham’s recent managers two of them got win percentages of over 50%. Conte with 53.95% and Mourinho with 51.16%, each managing between 76 and 86 games.
Arsenal in this period have had three managers. Unai Emery came to the end of his 78 game tenure with a win rate of 55.13% – notably above Tottenham’s two best managers and far above some of the other poor fellows who took on the job. (And yet Arsenal gave him the chop; good enough for Tottenham perhaps but not for Arsenal).
Sadly Freddie was a disaster as a temporary manager across his six games winning just one, drawing three and losing two, but Mikel Arteta, who took over on 22 December 2019 has, as of today got a win rate of 58.14% over 172 games.
In fact looking at Arsenal managers who have managed over 25 games Mikel Arteta has the best win percentage ever. Better than Wenger, better than Chapman, better than Emery.
And yet Arsenal faced a major attack on Arteta as manager during his time in office from the usual collection of newspaper idiots and those blog writers who think that calling for the manager to be sacked all the time is a good idea. See for example Seven Reasons Why Arteta Must be Sacked Now. Or Process without progress is nothing, Mikel Arteta must go … from TNT Sports, your friendly Champions League channel. Or “Mikel Arteta has made more mistakes in 11 months than Arsene Wenger in 22 years and could get us RELEGATED” as Talk Sports ran.
But to be fair to Tottenham they are on a decent run, as can be seen by the last six games table…
|5||Brighton & Hove||6||4||0||2||16||9||+7||12|
But what becomes particularly interesting in our usual look at these matters is the home v away form across the last six games.
Here we can see that the two clubs are indeed very close. Arsenal have won one more than Tottenham, but the goal difference is only +1 in Arsenal’s favour. But in terms of trophies, there is a bigger gap. Just restricting it to the 21st century (as we don’t want to rub it in too much) Arsenal have won the league twice, and the FA Cup seven times. Tottenham have won the League Cup once in 2008 and, well, that seems to be about it. I am sure there are some other trophies in there somewhere, I mean there must be because their supporters and indeed the club make so much noise about their stadium, and, well, their stadium, and, well…. But just for the moment I can’t find those other trophies. Just a stadium.
Anyway for this match it is looking as if the odds are tilted in Arsenal’s favour but we will have a look in the next article at the injuries and other such matters, just to check to loopholes in our argument.
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