- Mirror and Guardian attack on Arteta takes war against Arsenal to new unedifying level
- How different referees respond. Who wins is as much a case of who is the ref, as anything else
- Arsenal’s protest over VAR shows club have had enough, and the disgraceful bias of much of the media
By Tony Attwood
Discipline – that is a key theme in the media at the moment, although its related topic of “decent behaviour” doesn’t seem to walk alongside it any more.
Thus we can read a statement such as, “On Saturday, a man who bears a close physical resemblance to Arteta but is clearly in no way related to the Arsenal manager, spat his dummy out and went off on one in his post-match interviews because the curtain-twitchers in Stockley Park had arrived at a conclusion that wasn’t necessarily wrong but just happened to be one with which he disagreed,” isn’t worthy of the Mirror let alone the Guardian wherein it appeared in a piece from Barry Glendenning.
And indeed you wouldn’t know from the wild ravings in the media today (because it doesn’t fit with the narrative) but Arsenal are out in front in terms of good behaviour on the pitch.
So since they won’t publish the facts, here they are and in this regard we are considering just the big seven clubs, in relation to their own discipline on the pitch. And what we can is something that the media in its current state of excitement most certainly will not tell you. That Arsenal are top, or perhaps that should be bottom, in the yellow card table, with the lowest number of yellow cards.
It is something that will undoubtedly bring the club benefits as time goes on, and the other clubs start picking up more and more suspensions as a result of their indiscretions and associated poor behaviour.
Indeed the game between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea tonight should be one of the dirtiest games of the season and could see a record number of yellow cards in one game. And that would be something because Tottenham Hotspur already hold that record for being in the match with the most yellow cards. That was 12 yellow cards in their match against the mighty Sheffield United.
We might also note in passing that Newcastle have had twice as many yellows as Arsenal this season already!
Indeed as the table shows when it comes to yellow cards for fouls Chelsea are way out in front but just behind them is Tottenham on 16.
|Team||Games||Yellow Total||Yellow for fouls||Red|
Given that Chelsea and Tottenham are playing each other tonight it is quite possible they could go on further and overtake Newcastle in the dirty play league. Each club is averaging three yellows per game, so an average performance would lead to six cards , but with that many cards flying around tempers could fray so we could see a card fest. So far ten players have picked up five or more cards each, and another 15 are sitting on four.
Incidentally, two of the players in the top 10 list when it comes to yellow cards both play for Newcastle United, but that didn’t seem to get mentioned in the furore over their game against Arsenal.
Anyway, Arsenal have two fewer yellow cards than any other team in the Premier League, which is another thing not mentioned.
In terms of possession, one curious fact is that the big seven clubs – the group in the table above – are in fact the top half of the table, and indeed five of the top six are members of our “big seven” group.
But what is odd is that Chelsea manage to have 62% possession across their ten games so far but they only have three wins, showing that possession alone is not enough. Indeed Chelsea are also third in terms of pass accuracy with 88.3%. Arsenal are fifth on 87.8%.
In fact with Chelsea, over and over again we find statistics that look really promising, and yet there they are 13th in the league.
Interestingly when it comes to tackles Tottenham are second with 19.9 per game, but around them in that chart are clubs from the lower parts of the league. Which brings us back to Tottenham’s yellow card ranking where they are fourth in the table. All figures are per game.
|Clubs||Tackles||Fouls||Yellows for fouls|
So when we look at the current ratios we see the problems that fouling clubs like Tottenham and Newcastle have. Arsenal can put in 40% more tackles before getting a yellow than Newcastle which really tells us a lot more about what was going on in that game at the weekend.
Arteta is right – the refereeing situation over tackling is getting out of hand.
|Clubs||Tackles / Fouls||Tackles / yellow||Fouls / yellow|
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