Arsenal v Newcastle: the tackles, fouls and yellow cards compared



By Bulldog Drummond

Newcastle United have a worse away record this season than Bournemouth, which given the relative income of each club is quite something.  Aalthough of late they have improved slightly with an away win in the FA Cup at Fulham, and league wins against Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest in the last month.

But overall the figures for Newcastle United away from home are truly shocking…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
3 Arsenal home 12 9 2 1 30 11 19 29
13 Newcastle United away 12 3 2 7 22 25 -3 11


The full table shows Newcastle, once so readily tipped by the all-knowing journalists to be challenging for a top-four place and forcing Arsenal back into the Europa spots, struggling to make any European place next season at all…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
3 Arsenal 25 17 4 4 58 22 36 55
8 Newcastle United 25 11 4 10 53 41 12 37


Indeed Newcastle’s position in the Champions League, finishing bottom of their group with just one win in six and so not even making it into the Europa League was pretty appalling for probably the richest club in the Premier League.

But then I guess we ought to remember that since they last won the league they have been relegated five or six times (sorry I lost count).   So perhaps we are wrong in buying into the hype.

Their problem is that they have not been particularly well set of late being below the mighty Fulham and Brighton and Chelsea in the last-six games table.


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
2 Arsenal 6 5 0 1 22 4 +18 15
11 Newcastle United 6 2 2 2 16 16 0 8


We can as ever break this down further into home and away – and here the interesting fact is that Arsenal’s form in terms of results, is identical to their overall form.


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal home 6 5 0 1 15 5 +10 15
12 Newcastle U away 6 2 0 4 9 15 -6 6


Now of course we do know that Arsenal had a bad time of it with the referee mid-week playing to Portuguese rules (see Suddenly the media blames the referee – although not an English referee) but by and large Arsenal seem to have got the measure of PGMO men of late – and we’ll come back to that a little later as the match approaches.

But for now let’s carry on with the usual analysis of how each team plays in league games…


Club Tackles Fouls Yellow for fouls All yellows Possession
Arsenal 16.4 9.6 1.08 1.52 61.1%
Newcastle 17.3 10.4 1.48 2.32 53.3%
Liverpool 17.2 12.4 1.19 1.88 60.0%
Mancheseter City 13.1 8.4 1.00 1.64 65.9%
Tottenham Ho 20.2 10.9 1.44 2.28 60.3%


Looking at these figures and we can see that Newcastle United appear to have looked at Tottenham Hotspur and instead of seeing them as a warning of how not to approach Premier League matches they have seen them as a blueprint.

True Newcastle don’t foul at the level of Liverpool, but this is undoubtedly because the referee’s approach to Liverpool’s fouling is as apparent to them as it is to everyone else.  Quite simply Liverpool can get away with constant fouling to put the opposition attackers off, in a way that no other club in the upper part of the league can do. 

Liverpool are currently running at 48% more fouls a game than Manchester City.  Yet when we come to look at the number of yellow cards dished out for fouls Liverpool only have 15% more than Manchester City.   

Liverpool’s approach is as close to fouling with impunity as we have ever seen in the Premier League’s history.   

But back to this weekend’s game.  Newcastle tackle more, foul more, and get more yellows for all reasons than Arsenal, so that at least is consistent.  As a result of this rather bonkers approach to football in 2024, their possession rate is much lower than Arsenal’s, and their yellow card rate for all offences is amazingly even higher than Tottenham’s!

Of course, Newcastle are still 20 yellow cards behind the league leaders Chelsea, but even so it is a ludicrous way to play football in front of PGMO referees, unless the club finds some way of being able to influence PGMO referees.  (Errr…..).

What Newcastle clearly need to do is to buy one player who is able to hold the ball a lot, and then instruct the others to keep possession, but it seems that is not how they do things in the north eastern parts of the kingdom.

Manchester United, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur are sixth, seventh and eighth in the “yellow cards for any reason” column, and it is clearly that which is slowing down the progress the media constantly predict for them.   But because yellow cards are a referee matter, and the media will not talk about English referees in the way that they will about European referees (see previous article), nothing seems to change.

In the next piece we’ll look and see how the tackles, fouls and resultant yellow cards affect each other for the clubs we’ve looked at above.



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