Arsenal v Liverpool: Arsenal discover an extra weapon




By Bulldog Drummond

So the next game is the “FA Cup match without transport” on Sunday, arranged in such a way that those of us living outside of the immediate environs of the club are really going to struggle to get home.

But let us set aside thoughts of comfort or even practicality and consider the form of the two clubs, and I must admit, to my surprise our regular opening table looked rather promising.   

Home and away form in the league so far this season


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
4 Arsenal home 10 7 2 1 22 10 12 23
2 Liverpool away 10 5 4 1 17 10 7 19


There is so much talk about Liverpool at the moment (well, always in fact, but even more so at the moment) that I expected to find Liverpool’s away form superior to Arsenal’s home form this season, but the opposite is true, both in terms of results and goals. Now I knew that we had the better of them in the home/away form last season…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
3 Arsenal home 2022/23 19 14 3 2 53 25 28 45
7 Liverpool away 2022/3 19 6 5 8 29 30 -1 23


But I am surprised they are still lagging so far behind.

Of course they are something of a bogey team for us and in this decade we’ve won only twice (both by the single goal at home), lost four (with a horrific goal tally of one goal for Arsenal and 12 for Liverpool) and drawn, the last two.  Indeed the best spin we can put on things comes with the last three results.   A 3-2 win at home in October 2022, and two away draws last year.

As for the explanation – that comes with the way Liverpool can tackle without getting called up for fouls or yellow cards.  But we’ll come to that later.   

But the other big worry for Arsenal is that Liverpool are on a run while Arsenal are on one of their now-infamous dips.  And that Liverpool run is not just a good run but a long run.  Here is the top of the table for the last ten league games.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 10 6 4 0 20 9 +11 22
2 AFC Bournemouth 10 7 1 2 22 15 +7 22
3 Aston Villa 10 6 2 2 17 13 +4 20
4 West Ham United 10 6 2 2 17 13 +4 20
5 Manchester City 10 5 4 1 26 14 +12 19
6 Wolverhampton Wand 10 5 1 4 17 14 +3 16
7 Arsenal 10 5 1 4 14 12 +2 16


But all runs come to an end sometime and as we pointed out Salah now has his eyes on some international tournament or other, which assuming he has now gone, does help Arsenal against a team that has so far scored five fewer away than Arsenal have at home.

And we shouldn’t be too excited about Salah not playing, in that Diogo Jota and  Darwin Núñez have each scored five in the league this season.

Mikel Arteta has demanded that the fans make more noise and become more hostile at Arsenal Stadium, which is all very well, but I think a lot of the discussions at the moment are about how we get away from the ground afterwards with hostility directed at the companies running the trains, underground and buses.

Underground services finish at 8pm and the National Rail line between Kings Cross and Peterborough is not running because of “planned works”.   I wonder why they couldn’t, just on this day, unplan them.  But no, it seems that customer convenience is not part of the deal with the railways.

So let’s move on to a comparison of tactics and this time I’ll take a look at the top four in the league at the moment…  Figures are as always “per league game” and are derived as usual from the raw data supplied by WhoScored.


Club Tackles Fouls Yellow from fouls
Arsenal 16.5 9.7 1.20
Liverpool 16.3 12.0 1.05
Manchester City 13.8 9.0 1.00
Aston Villa  15.4 10.9 1.70


Working in the usual way the ratios we get are


Club Tackles per foul Tackles per yellow Fouls per yellow
Arsenal 1.70 13.75 8.08
Liverpool 1.36 15.52 11.43
Manchester City 1.53 13.80 9.00
Aston Villa  1.41 9.06 6.41


Here we can see the astounding support Liverpool get from referees – they can commit 11.43 fouls before getting a yellow compared with 8.08 for Arsenal and 9.00 for Manchester City.  (Not surprisingly, the Villa defenders are focused more on maintaining their position near the top than on the nuances of not getting yellow cards). 

Indeed as we will see in the next article, Villa are the third most yellow-carded team in the league, with figures comparable with Chelsea, Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur – not really the sort of company a club should be aiming for if it wants to secure a top-four position.

We will have a look at how Liverpool are achieving this in the next article.

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