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- Arsenal v Burnley: the referee, the fouls, the team and the result
Arsenal continues to fail to excite the newspaper columnists and bloggers. Today it is “sleepy Arsenal” and notes about how useless Burnley were. Arsenal obviously can’t be responsible for the quality of the opposition, but sleepy? Not from where I was sitting.
True we are four points worse off than after 12 games last season, but the defence is actually better than a year ago, although the attack has scored four fewer. and this season five of our games have been against other “big seven” clubs. Last season by this point there had only been three.
The Telegraph goes with “struggling Burnley” and “Vieira horror tackle” in their headline. They also tell us that “Managers have been united in condemnation after a series of controversial decisions” by refs and VAR. So was that a multi-managerial rant? Or a rant ensemble? Seemingly not. It’s only a rant when it is Arteta.
Indeed the Mirror still won’t let it go. “Arsenal fans blast Newcastle hypocrisy after goal disallowed because of Bukayo Saka”, is part of a bonkers article in which they reprint last week’s story only now call Arteta’s speech a “passionate rant”. And that commentary takes up around 50% of their article on yesterday’s match!
The Daily Mail tells us that Ben White was left out of the squad as he was injured – which is helpful, since no one around me in the ground seemed to know why.
So how did the referee do?
Before this game Oliver was giving out 10.50 fouls on average per game against the home team, but in this match he gave 8 fouls against Arsenal.
Before the game, Oliver was giving 10.56 fouls on average per game against the away team, but in this match he gave 9 fouls against Burnley.
Before this game, he had given 14 yellows against home team and 23 against the away team. In this game, Arsenal got no yellow cards and Burnley got one. So he was pretty much staying on track with this previous performance.
But in terms of results, he remains far away from the league’s average results. 55.6% of his games have now been home wins and 44.4% have been away wins, with no draws. There have been 115 games in the League this season as of this morning, and 40 of them have been away wins (35%) 23 have been draws – which is 20%. It is becoming more than a statistical quirk that this referee just doesn’t oversee draws.
There is perhaps one other table we might look at this morning – the last six games. And I mention this because I heard on the radio driving back from the game a discussion about the great Everton revival of late – which surprised me since I thought they were still struggling.
And indeed a look at the last six games table shows that Everton, even on this account, are not featured in the top ten. Arsenal however most certainly are… Arsenal are top on the basis of the last six games played (although I would be surprised if any national outlets of football news are willing to report this).
And this being top is not only on points (where Arsenal are equal with Aston Villa) it is also on goals scored (ditto) and on goals against (Arsenal have conceded just four to Manchester City’s five) and thus of course on goal difference (+11, while our nearest rivals are on +9). Here’s the top ten based on last six games only.
In terms of the Big Seven that we particularly note, the interloper continues to be Aston Villa, and the outlier is Chelsea. So I’d say it is all going rather well. Although of course these figures are produced on Sunday morning (12 November) and there are games being played today and tomorrow so things might change a bit. But even so, given the way the fixture list has gone, I’m rather satisfied thus far.
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