- The first step to clubs taking back control of football and showing Fifa the door
- West Ham foul their way forward: is 17 fouls by one team in a game a PL record?
By Tony Attwood
There was recently an article in the Daily Telegraph under the headline “Ange Postecoglou and Roberto De Zerbi are the future and British football will be better for it” which reads,
“A couple of hours after their magnificent bunfight of a match had finished, the group of Tottenham Hotspur fans at White Hart Lane station were still glowing in the result.
“That was proper Spurs,” one said. “We’re back to being who we should be.”
Obviously, the anonymous supporter was not talking about the season overall, [unless he really does think that fourth is Tottenham’s spiritual home] but presumably about this one match. Which is ok in that Arsenal fans want to talk about their last match too.
But Tottenham’s results over their last five games are just two wins, two draws and a defeat. Which is not bad, but compared to Arsenal with four wins and a defeat, it’s not so good. And there is a point about goals scored: Arsenal have scored 16 goals in those five games, Tottenham have scored nine.
But “Ange Postecoglou and Roberto De Zerbi are the future and British football will be better for it,” says the paper.
Postecoglou, we may note joined Tottenham in 2023, and Roberto De Zerbi joined Brighton the year before. Which raises the question, why did it take Tottenham in particular, with its magnificent new stadium of which we read so much, so long to find him? (Interestingly Wiki still has Ryan Mason as the top man). Changing managers regularly, as we have seen before, tends to make life more difficult for a club, and although it can result in success eventually, it can also result in a lot of ups and downs along the way.
And it can take a new manager a long time to sort out some of the problems. Arteta certainly took a couple of years to get Arsenal moving (although he did win the FA Cup during that spell).
Meanwhile Tottenham we should note have let in 36 goals in the league this season – which is four more than Everton. So on that basis the future of British football will be lots and lots of goals – although not always at the end you want.
Indeed in their last six league games Tottenham have conceded 12 goals – two per game. Whereas the three teams battling things out at the top of the league have each let in just around one per game. (Arsenal and Liverpool slightly under, Manchester City slightly over).
Now you might think, just one extra goal a game – does that matter?
But in fact in every Premier League season except five the winning team has let in fewer goals than the number of games played. The five exceptions were all in 38 game seasons and the number of goals conceded by the champion was 41, 42, 43, 44 and 45. That is the goals against were 1.08 and 1.18 – still nothing like two or more.
As things stand the Premier League table reads
Now it is immediately self-evident that in terms of points Tottenham are five points behind the pack of three at the top. But there is more to it than this, which the article did not delve into, for their defence has conceded 11 more than Manchester City and 14 more than Arsenal. So their goal difference is half that of the top three.
But even more than this, while the top three are meeting the criteria of fewer than one goal against per game, Tottenham are on 1.5 goals a game against. Now we must be fair and acknowledge that this is way better than the 1.66 goals against per game last season.
However, looking beyond these numbers, what we really have here is a perfect example of “distraction journalism” of the type that Vikrant Dogra mentioned in a comment yesterday. Ignore the main point and pick up on a bit of trivia – like two guys talking while waiting for a train on WHL station.
Indeed distraction journalism is exactly what we are being fed day by day – deliberately moving our thoughts away from interesting issues such as why some referees favour home wins, and others away wins, why some clubs are getting twice as many yellow cards as others, why Tottenham are fouled 52% more than Manchester United (according to referees).
And hese can be important points, for it was through following them we were able to expose the way the Leciester City were a few years ago allowed to tackle with impunity. (A summary of the Leicester research is here).
Some of these questions we can guess the answers to (such as why Chelsea had got twice as many yellow cards as Arsenal this season) but still it would be nice to have a bit of analysis from the media.
But analysis is there none so it is up to us. Why are Tottenham fouled 52% more than Manchester United: that will be one of our prime questions as we work through these issues.
- Is the Premier League getting more exciting or simply ever more predictable?
- How far down might these points deducations take clubs?
- Big clubs that foul less lose fewer players of their own to injury
- What takes clubs up and down the league: attack or defence?
- Referee Extremism: the situation in Spain and in England