For yellow cards Man City and Arsenal remain calm, Tottenham lead the way.



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By Bulldog Drummond

We have for a number of years been comparing tackles, fouls and yellow cards for different clubs in the Premier League in order to get an idea of how clubs play.  But as we have noted already this season, the number of yellow cards that clubs are getting now is massively expanded on previous seasons, because of cards being given for time-wasting and the like.

Unfortunately as a by-product of this, the various sources that we have used in the past in order to find the raw data, are now treating the yellow card situations in different ways, and their numbers do not match with each other.  Therefore it is hard to know exactly how many yellow cards for fouls Arsenal and Manchester City have.  

However Who Scored has given us a breakdown of its own.  It doesn’t match completely with other sources, but it is the most comprehensive set of figures we have at the moment.  WS Total is the column showing the number of yellow cards WhoScored has recorded, and is the total of the previous four columns. 

PL Total shows the number of yellow cards each club has got according to the Premier League’s own site.  Neither organisation is offering any explanation as to why its figures differ from the other,

To see the profound difference these accounting systems have we can see Liverpool at 18 cards in one count and 13 in another.  However, reassuringly both sites have Tottenham way out in front in terms of yellows both recording them as having 26.   So they are running at more than double the number of yellow cards that Arsenal and Manchester City are getting, and if they carry on like this will soon be losing players.

WS = WhoScored.


WS Foul WS Unprof WS Dive WS Other WS Total PL Total
16 Arsenal 7 0 0 5 12 10
17 Luton 7 0 0 6 13 13
18 Bournemouth 7 0 0 4 11 11
19 Liverpool 6 3 0 9 18 13
20 Manchester City 5 3 0 5 13 12


I’ve not previously come across a situation in which there is disagreement between the two prime sources of data on football events (WhoScored for its detail and the Premier League site because, well it is the Premier League site) on something as basic as the number of yellow cards each club has got.

Of course there are not disagreements all the time – Luton Town and Bournemouth have numbers that are identical  (13 and 11 yellow cards), but then WhoScored gives Liverpool 18 yellow cards and the League says it is only 13.

Goal also helpfully tells us that “The 13 bookings in Tottenham’s win over Sheffield United set a new Premier League record for most yellow cards in a single game.”

So until we know what on earth is going on we can’t really do the full analysis that we have done for several years on tackles, fouls and yellows, and be sure it is right.  All we can measure is the proficiency of the tackling – and although overall Arsenal can put in 0.16 more tackles before a foul is blown, when it comes to comparing Arsenal at home and Manchester City away, the gap is so tiny as to be negligible.

  It is in fact further proof if it were needed that Arsenal and Manchester City are working from the same pattern book – as we have noted so many times before since Arteta changed clubs.   And for a lot of things, it is a pattern that is way ahead of most other clubs.  These are WhoScored figures.


Team Tackles pg Fouls pg Tackles / foul
Arsenal 14.9 9.8 1.52
Manchester City 12.4 9.1 1.36
Arsenal home 14.2 9.6 1.48
Manchester City away 13.4 9.2 1.45

Thus when we compare Arsenal at home and Manchester City away we find that Manchester City have the slight edge, by having conceded two goals fewer, but both have scored nine, or 2.25 a game.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts PPG
7 Arsenal home 4 2 2 0 9 6 3 8 2.00
2 Manchester City away 4 3 0 1 9 4 5 9 2.25


We can compare this with last season and see that Arsenal thus far are running just fractionally under last season’s home form, and Manchester City are running slightly more under last season’s away form



Team P W D L F A GD Pts PPG
1 Arsenal home 19 12 3 4 35 18 17 39 2.05
2 Manchester City away 19 11 4 4 34 16 18 37 1.94


Next time: the injuries


4 Replies to “For yellow cards Man City and Arsenal remain calm, Tottenham lead the way.”

  1. I don’t have time to check at the moment but I believe Whoscored used to count a red card as two yellows. That may go some way to explaining the difference. I could be totally wrong though.

  2. Yes I think that is true Mikey but their figures now show red cards separately, and the maths even with that adjustment doesn’t work. So I’m still bemused.

  3. Luton- Spurs cards : Luton 16 fouls 2 yeallows, Spurs 5 fouls, 3 yellows, one of them beinga second thus red….
    Go figure….

  4. Chris

    They do seem odd stats, but to be fair the 2 yellows leading to a red were ‘stone wall’ as they say. The first was more a rugby tackle. Nothing dangerous just a clear yellow. The second a blatant dive. There was no argument from the player, his team mates or the manger for either, at least not from what I saw. Spurs merited all 3 yellows. It’s just very reasonable to argue that Luton certainly could of had more.

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