Who might Arsenal play next season 2: Leeds United


There is every chance that Leeds United will play Arsenal next season in the Premier League, as they (Leeds) are currently top of the Championship.  True they are only one point above Ipswich Town in third place, but Leeds do have a very superior goal difference.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Leeds United 38 25 7 6 70 28 42 82
2 Leicester City 37 26 4 7 74 33 41 82
3 Ipswich Town 38 24 9 5 80 49 31 81


And indeed whichever team does come third and so goes into the play offs they must be odds on to win that competition since the gap between third and fourth is currently eight points.

But what sort of teams will they be?   That is an interesting question since when Leeds United were in the Premier League last season, although they went down, they were actually top of both the league table based on tackles, and the league table based on fouls.

But as Bob Dylan said not too long ago, “Things have changed”

In this table we look at the top tackling teams in both the Premier League and the teams in the Championship this season who are clearly hoping that they will rejoin the Premier League next season.

And what we find is that in terms of tackles, fouls and the ratio between the two, none of the three teams most likely to come up next season are much out of place.


Team Tackles pg Fouls pg Tackles per foul
Bournemouth 18.8 13.3 1.4
Chelsea 18.6 12.4 1.5
Wolverhampton Wand 18.6 12.2 1.5
Liverpool 17.5 12.1 1.4
Everton 19.4 12.1 1.6
Leeds United 16.8 10.2 1.6
Southampton 14.1 10.1 1.4
Leicester City 16.9 10.1 1.6


This raises an interesting question: are referees more lenient concerning fouls in the Championship, perhaps being less likely to give a tackle as a foul in that league than in the Premier League?

I don’t know the answer, however it does raise the question, what are the clubs at the top of the Premier League doing in relation to Championship teams when it comes to yellow cards awarded for different reasons.

I’ve not seen such an analysis before, so here is the listinig.

Reasons for giving yellow cards against teams


Team Fouls Unprofessional Other
Ipswich Town 63 2 20
Sheffield United 56 4 25
Brentford 49 5 17
Leicester City 47 8 20
Leeds United 37 5 20
Arsenal 30 0 14
Manchester City 29 8 12


So let’s consider this for a moment.  Last season Leeds United in the Premier League got 66 yellow cards from fouls.  This season out of 38 games (exactly the same number they played in the league as they have played so far this season) Leeds have got 37 yellow cards.

Last season Leicester City got 56 yellow cards for fouls, but this season they have collected 47.

This raises the question of whether the Championship referees are giving out cards for the same reasons as Premier League referees.   We can get a bit of an insight from this by comparing the top of the fouling league in each case.

This table shows the top three clubs for fouls in the Championship this season


R Team Fouls Unprofessional Other
1 Millwall 65 7 18
2 Ipswich 63 2 20
3 Watford 62 4 24


And for last season…


R Team Fouls Unprofessional Other
1 Swansea 82 13 18
2 Rotherham 73 4 17
3 Sunderland 72 7 24


What appears to be happening is that as the Premier League has PGMO handing out more cards than before, and as a result the top clubs have reduced their tackling and fouling rates, so in the Championship the top teams are doing much the same in the hope of gaining promotion and so being able to play by the Premier League’s new rules about fouling etc after they are promoted.

Which for once in football makes sense.

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