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By Sir Hardly Anyone
As you might expect, Arsenal tackle less than Nottingham Forest, and as we have seen through the season, less than Tottenham Hotspur who seem to have accepted tackling as a central way to play football, and who are the tackling kings of the Premier League
However either referees don’t want to blow the whistle at Tottenham tackles, or Tottenham have perfected the art of tackling, for although they are the kings of tackling they are only 15th in the league in terms of giving away fouls for tackling.
Tottenham have also been known all season as the kings of the yellow card – although they are seriously trying to reign themselves back now. In total they have 53 cards so far, compared to Arsenal who are bottom of the league with 30.
But below of course we only count yellow cards for fouls and Tottenham and Forest are likely to be shown a yellow card for a foul far more often than Arsenal. In fact in the case of Forest a tackle is 46% more likely to get a yellow card than is the case for Arsenal.
|Yellows for fouls
So as ever we now come to see how these figures compare in terms of ratios. And here there is a bit of a shock for Nottingham Forest and Arsenal tackles are just about equal when it comes to whether they are fouls or not.
But probably because Forest put in so many more tackles than Arsenal the chances of one of these tackles being given a card is much higher for Forest than for Arsenal. Tottenham get fouls given as yellow card offences even more.
|Tackles per foul
|Tackle per card
|Fouls per yellow
Overall Arsenal remain bottom of the yellow card league (including cards for all offences). Chelsea are of course top, Nottingham Forest are ninth and Tottenham Hots really have reigned themselves in and are now a mere fifth.
So immediately we can see Arsenal’s advantage. They are much less likely to pick up a yellow card, which of course makes a defender more anxious about future tackles.
We might also compare Nottingham Forest and Arsenal in terms of shots per game. Forest put in 11 and Arsenal 16.5. As a result Arsenal are scoring 2.0 goals per game in the league this season while Nottingham Forest are scoring 1.23.
In terms of the defence Arsenal are conceding 0.95 goals per game while Forest are conceding 1.81 – virtually double.
Pulling this together we might expect that Forest will get fouls given against them, and more yellow cards despite putting in the same number of tackles – which is quite interesting.
At which point we might also ponder the issue of possession. Arsenal have the third highest possession rate in the Premier League this season, on 60.5%, compared with 59.7% last season, Forest this season have 40.2% possession and last season had 37.2%.
So Forest have changed their tactics this season – and undoubtedly this is related in part to a change of players, to take up their possession rate from a dangerously low position, by three percent. Arsenal have also taken their possession rate up by almost one percent, despite doing less well than they were a year ago.
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