Arsenal v Brentford. The figures that prove PGMO are not up to the job




By Bulldog Drummond

So now we come onto our regular feature looking at the number of tackles clubs put in and how often those are called as fouls, and then how often they result in a yellow card.  For each figure for tackles, fouls and cards, we are considering both the raw data and its comparison with Arsenal.  So we can see that for tackles Tottenham put in 20.2 tackles a league game on average and Arsenal 15.9 tackles.  The second column shows that the Tottenham figure is 27% above Arsenal’s (thus 127%).


Club Tackles Percentage of Arsenal Fouls Percentage of Arsenal Yellows for fouls Percentage of Arsenal
Arsenal 15.9 100% 9.6 100% 1.04 100%
Brentford 18.5 116% 10.0 104% 1.59 153%
Liverpool 17.3 109% 12.4 129% 1.22 117%
Tottenham 20.2 127% 10.7 111% 1.42 137%


What we can see here is that Arsenal have got their tackle level down and so have also got their fouls level down and as a result their level of yellow cards down. 

Looking at some of these figures we might quite reasonably take it that the management team of Tottenham in particular are just being plain daft.  It is quite clear that tackles give control of the game to the referee and then when he blows, to the opposition.  So the answer is to cut the tackles down.  They are not doing that and are running at 27% more tackles than Arsenal.

Liverpool are also being silly in that they get 29% more fouls against them than Arsenal, but as we shall see below, Liverpool have a trick up their sleeve, seeingly with the connivance (or rank stupidity) of the referees.

Brentford are really suffering in this regard – they get over 50% more yellow cards for fouls than Arsenal do.  Tottenham aren’t quite so silly getting 37% more yellow cards for fouls than Arsenal do.  Brentford are playing as if they have watched Tottenham tackling, and thought, “that’s the way to do it”.

And yellow cards really do change a game – a player on a yellow invariably holds back a bit more for fear of a second card, and so becomes a less effective player.

The table below now compares what clubs can get away with in terms of tackles in relation to being penalised by referees for fouls and given yellow cards.  Throughout Arsenal is considered the baseline (counted as 100% in all cases.)

In terms of the number of tackles that can be made before a foul is given Brentford and Tottenham can get away with more tackles before being called out for a foul, than Arsenal, probably because the ref feels he can’t keep on penalising them over and over again.

In terms of tackles leading to a yellow card, all the three clubs compared to Arsenal come off worse: they can deliver fewer tackles than Arsenal before a card is waved at them.

But then perversely when we look at how many fouls a club commits before a yellow card is waved Liverpool are just about on a par with Arsenal (which is weird given the earlier numbers) while Brentford and Tottenham really suffer.

To summarise this Brentford and Tottenham are getting their tackles called out for fouls more often than Arsenal. Liverpool a lot less often.

However all three clubs measured here against Arsenal get shown yellow cards for their tackles more often than Arsenal.   Brentford and Tottenham get many more fouls responded to with a yellow card being waved than Arsenal.  Liverpool are on about the same level.


Club Tackles per foul Percentage of Arsenal Tackles per yellow Percentage of Arsenal Fouls per yellow Percentage of Arsenal
Arsenal 1.65 100% 15.29 100% 9.23 100%
Brentford 1.85 112% 11.63 76% 6,29 68%
Liverpool 1.39 84% 14.18 93% 10.16 110%
Tottenham 1.88 114% 14.22 93% 7.53 82%


Liverpool really are pulling a very clever trick here.  They are tackling a lot more than Arsenal but only get 7% more yellow cards for tackles than Arsenal.  But then they can put in 10% more tackles before getting a yellow card.

We’ll look further into how they are doing this in the next (and final) article our preview series.

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3 Replies to “Arsenal v Brentford. The figures that prove PGMO are not up to the job”

  1. It’s all in the context and severity of the tackles time to wind this agenda up. There have been less tackles than articles!

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