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Victory Through Harmony
By Walter Broeckx
As you will know by now I love numbers. I probably have bored you to death with all my numbers and to make a chance I will give you another set of numbers. This time I will try to tackle the fouling league.
So I was trying to find out: who is the cleanest team, who is the dirtiest team. Who gets many yellow cards and who are the naughty boys who get the red cards. So you can expect a lot of tables once again further in this article.
As most teams have played different games it is not just that we can take the numbers of fouls committed and list them in that order. So once again I went for the average foul per game and took this to make the final table.
As a result of my work on the ref reviews I know that the naked numbers don’t tell the whole story. I tried to count the number of not given fouls in one half of one of our games and it was a bit staggering in fact. I counted the fouls the ref didn’t give to both teams and came up with 2 fouls from Arsenal not given and 4 fouls from Wigan not given. In one half! Arsenal made 6 fouls in total in that game and Wigan 14.
So I will start with undermining my own article from the start on and say that the numbers I will give you only tell the truth for some 75%. I wished I could make them better but this is something that cannot be done. Unless I would review all the games of all the teams in the EPL. I think you can understand that I will leave it like that.
So we have to go further with what we have and those are the fouls that have been called by the refs. So curious who committed most of the fouls? Here we go:
|Team||Games played||Total fouls made||Average/game|
Old habits never die is the idiom I would say and Bolton is the team that commits most fouls in the league so far. Closely followed by Wigan and if you add those 4 fouls I counted in the first half against us Wigan should be in front. But then again you should count the attempted assault from Robinson on Diaby (which succeeded in Diaby being out since then) that also wasn’t given as a foul they end with the same numbers.
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Arsenal are halfway up the table. I think this is a good position. For years we have been called too soft. But things have changed recently. So we had some games with a lot of fouls but also some games with just a handful fouls against us. I do think our fouling is down to the oppositions tactics. If the try to play football, we will also play football. If they start to kick, we just kick back. Not all the times but when needed we do it.
On the bottom of the fouling table, which means in fact that they commit few fouls are our current still nearby neighbours previously from Middlesex. They make fewest fouls or is it that refs don’t see their fouls? As this could be the case if you move your eyes one line higher. Because to mine and your surprise we can see that Birmingham is the team that commits the second fewest fouls in the EPL.
Okay, if you are sitting back on your chair by now then you will remember the kicking at Sagna in our latest visit at Birmingham a few weeks ago. And you will also remember that no fouls were given at all for those and other attacks on several of out players, which I highlighted in my ref review. So once again this official numbers only tell a part of the picture.
So the table is not the fouls made table but the fouls given by the ref table. Which is a big difference.
Making fouls is one thing. Getting fouled another. And also for this I made a table and also for this the same thing goes: this is only the fouls given by the refs and not all the fouls made on the field. Ready to see some other extraordinary numbers?
|Team||Games played||Total fouls suffered||Average/game|
So if we should believe the refs (do we really do this?) we see that Everton is the team that get most of the kicks so far this season. Well I haven’t seen enough live games of Everton to back this number but the numbers are what they are…numbers.
Arsenal again in a comfortable mid table position. But with one half checked against Wigan and 4 fouls not given in one half this also could be slightly different from the reality. But then again this also could be the case with other teams.
And after having looked at the other teams your eyes will have slid down to face the fact that Manchester United gets the least fouls in their favour in the EPL. Those poor blokes. I think the refs must hate them for some reason.
Or could there be another explanation? Could this have anything to do with the fact that some teams bend over a bit when playing United? Let us give an example. Birmingham who makes an average of 10 fouls according to the refs went to Old Trafford to lose 5-0. And they only committed (according to the ref) 5 fouls in the whole 90 minutes in that match. So it looked as if Birmingham was not playing the game they are known for. The hard tackling, rough physical game they play most of the time (eg. Birmingham-Arsenal) was completely left at home when they went to Old Trafford. They sure didn’t play their committed game over there.
So if you get a few teams like that playing against you in a non committed way you don’t need to get much fouls. As some teams rather seem to give you a free passage. Another example could be Blackburn who also committed just half the fouls they usually commit at Old Trafford compared to their other games.
So maybe after all the numbers did came up with something. Some teams go to Old Trafford and just don’t seem play their usual game of kicking a bit. They just make way. And those numbers are based on the fouls called by the refs and are a bit more correct as they have the same error margin as in the tables.
“Making the Arsenal”. You know it makes sense (after a fashion)