Brentford v Arsenal: tackles, fouls, yellow cards and the home v away record




By Bulldog Drummond

Brentford had ok start to the season with one win (and a good one at that, 3-0 away to Fulham) and draws against Tottenham Hots, Crystal Palace, and AFC Bournemouth.   But their last two games have ended in defeats to Newcastle away and Everton at home (and that by 1-3).

That last result was a surprise given that Everton only won two away games last season (at Brighton and Southampton).  So questions may be raised about Brentford’s current situation.  They are 13th,  but already five points clear of the strugglers (Luton, Burnley and Sheffield United.)  Arsenal as we can see are already eight points ahead, although only having scored two goals more.  However Brentford will take comfort in that no matter how they sink down the table, Chelsea are likely to sink further.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
5 Arsenal 6 4 2 0 11 6 5 14
13 Brentford 6 1 3 2 9 9 0 6
14 Chelsea 6 1 2 3 5 6 -1 5
18 Luton Town 5 0 1 4 3 11 -8 1
19 Burnley 5 0 1 4 4 13 -9 1
20 Sheffield United 6 0 1 5 5 17 -12 1


Brentford at home vs Arsenal away

Looking at the home and away form gives us less information than we might like this season since Arsenal have only played two away games, but even so Arsenal have already gained twice as many point as Brentford who have played four games at home.  Thus Arsenal have 3 points per game away and Brentford 0.75 points per game at home.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts PPG
13 Brentford home 4 0 3 1 6 8 -2 3 0.75
6 Arsenal away 2 2 0 0 2 0 2 6 3.00


Because of the lack of data for this season, it is also worth a look back to last season comparing Arsenal away and Brentford at home.    Arsenal come out as the better team but only by two points and with goal difference the same for both teams.


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal away 19 12 3 4 35 18 17 39
7 Brentford home 19 10 7 2 35 18 17 37


Interestingly Brentford have missed as many big chances as Chelsea this season (15 each) a big chance being defined as one from which the attacking player would normally be expected to score.  But they do create chances as they have the sixth-highest total xG in the Premier League.

But of course as we have oft noted, expected goals just defines chances, not the ability of the club to put the chance into the net.   So we can move onto the other statistics.

Last season in the league Arsenal scored 51% more goals per game than Brentford but from 40% fewer shots than Brentford, suggesting that Brentford have a clear “shoot no matter what” policy.   Brentford made more tackles but committed fewer fouls than Arsenal and yet got more yellow cards, which is by and large a set of statistics that can only make sense if Arsenal were worse at tackling than Brentford, but Brentford commit more bad tackles than Arsenal.   Maybe so – but it seems unlikely, so we will compare with this season.



Team Goals PG Shots pg Tackles pg Fouls pg Yellow PG
Arsenal 2.32 9 14.9 9.8 1.37
Brentford 1.53 14.7 15.4 9.3 1.45




Team Goals PG Shots pg Tackles pg Fouls pg Yellow PG
Arsenal 1.83 9.8 15.2 9.7 1.5
Brentford 1.5 13.7 18.5 10 1.83


So the big news is, referees are waving cards a lot more.  To round this off let’s compare the ratios of tackles, fouls and yellows


Club Tackles/foul Tackles/yellow Fouls/yellow
Arsenal 2022/23 1.52 10.88 7.15
Arsenal 2023/24 1.57 (+11%) 10.13 (-7%) 6.47 (+11%)
Brentford 2022/23 1.66 10.62 6.41
Brentford 2023/4 1.85 (+12%) 10.11  (-5%) 5.46 (+17%)


It is early in the season to do a clear comparison of this sort but we can see Arsenal are performing roughly along the lines of last season, except scoring 0.47 fewer goals per game, undoubtedly a reflection of the injuries the club is carrying.  Brentford however are showing a tendency to increase tackling, increase fouling and get more yellow cards per game than they were last season.

Arsenal’s figures thus far are comparable with last season but it is clear that referees are waving yellow cards more readily.  Arsenal get away with fewer tackles and fewer fouls before getting a yellow card.

Brentford this season however are getting away with 12% more tackles before a foul is called than Arsenal and 11% more than they got away with last season.  But they, like Arsenal, are finding that more tackles are being called as yellow card offences than last season.

However while both clubs are finding that more fouls are called as yellow cards this season than last, Arsenal are finding the number of fouls being called as yellow card offences this season has risen by 11%, while for Brentford the number of fouls being called as yellow card offences has risen by an astonishing 17% compared with last season.

We haven’t started checking other clubs yet, but this could be a new tendency: more fouls are worthy of a yellow card than happened last season but fewer tackles are worthy of a yellow card.

3 Replies to “Brentford v Arsenal: tackles, fouls, yellow cards and the home v away record”

  1. Whilst I enjoy these comparisons, they may have become (more) flawed this season since it appears that you count all yellow cards in your analysis, although this isn’t clear.

    (According to Brentford have received 11 yellows this season 9 of which were for fouls and 2 of which were for “other” offences. Meanwhile, Arsenal have also received 11 cards but only 6 for fouls whilst 5 were for “other” offences. As I say, it isn’t clear whether you use the total numbers or the numbers just received for fouls but clearly it will make a huge difference in the ‘fouls per card’ analysis.

    I’m currently looking at the difference in the percentage of cards each team receives for “other” offences compared with last season and will be happy to share those figures later. My thinking is that we need at least a quarter of a season for it to have any vague level of validity but the increased issuing of yellows for “other” offences gives refs even more flexibility to show bias against teams (as we saw with Tommy’s arbitrary second yellow against Palace).

    Just to give a flavour of the differences though we find Liverpool with only two cards this season for (62) fouls and nine for other offences. That’s 18.2% of cards for fouls and 81.8% for other. Meanwhile their local rivals, Everton, have ten cards for (71) fouls and two for other which is 83.3% for fouls and 16.7% for other. I’m not sure what to make of this at the moment but when one includes tackles and fouls in any overall analysis it throws up all sorts of questions since Everton only have a marginally high tackle and foul rate than Liverpool. Strange…….

    It’ll be interesting to delve into this further which I will do. Meanwhile, my thinking is that, with such huge differences, your analysis should really only look at cards given for fouls and not total cards. Apologies if it does.

  2. That is a very good point about the number of yellows given for “other” offences, and I must admit I hadn’t thought about that. The data I use comes from WhoScored and that takes all the yellows together. Some re-thinking is needed; I don’t welcome that, but do look to have errors in data use pointed out, so I am grateful

  3. It has been pointed out hereabouts, by myself for one, that given the extent to which we have reduced tackling, and in its wake fouls, and in its wake yellows, the pigmob was always going to find a way of keeping our booking count up, and so it is proving by the use of these ‘other’ offences.

    I’m not suggesting for a second any of them were not merited 😉 it’s just that where others see latitude we may not.

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