Arsenal v Chelsea. Why do Chelsea tackle so much when it always brings problems?




By Bulldog Drummond

It is perhaps not very surprising to find that as a mid-table team, Chelsea tackle more than Arsenal, foul more than Arsenal, get more yellow cards for fouls than Arsenal, and also get more yellow cards for incidents other than fouls, than Arsenal.

But the question that really arises is, why, with all the money that they have to spend, and indeed have spent on players (€1.1 billion on transfer fees since summer 2022) have they not bought players who don’t get carded all the time?

If, on the other hand, the argument here is that referees are against Chelsea, why are they not protesting about this, while also buying players with the ability to avoid situations that allow PGMO men to take control of the game? 

But as it is, adding together all the causes of yellow cards this season, Chelsea have ended up with 90 yellows against them, equal with Sheffield United, but unsurpassed by any club in the league.

Arsenal on the other hand are on 51   Only one club (Manchester City) has fewer cards than Arsenal, with them being on 49.

Of course, it is not just fouls, for one of Chelsea’s problems is that while Arsenal’s yellow cards from incidents other than fouls is running at half the level of cards from fouls, for Chelsea that level of non-foul yellow cards is 84% of the yellow card level.  Again it would be interesting to know why – and of course to know why the media seemingly generally ignores this topic.

However, around Christmas the Guardian did look into this issue with the comment that “Chelsea’s league-high 56 bookings not down to indiscipline, claims Pochettino” adding that “Manager blames pressure, inexperience and reading of game”.   

Which of course might have been true, but raises three issues.  Why are Chelsea not training players to avoid the cards, why is the card level still at record levels after four more months, and finally why didn’t they buy players who could avoid the cards?

Certainly looking at the current situation one solution to Chelsea’s card problem would be to defend by tackling less, while also sorting out why they keep getting so many cards for non-tackling situations.

For example, Caicedo has picked up 12 yellow cards this season, the same as Havertz.  The record for one player in a single season is 14, that record being held by Joao Palhinha of Fulham,  10 Premier League cards before the 32nd league game means two games to be missed.   Havertz as we know is learning his way into the habits of PGMO.  But is that true for the whole Chelsea team?  And if so, wasn’t it rather silly to bring in so many unware players at once?

For although Havertz run of cards is not good, it has to be remembered that virtually every card-prone player in the Premier League who comes from overseas, gets more cards in his first season as he adjusts to the unique and rather variable interpretation of the rules of card that pertain under PGMO.

There is also the fact that each disciplinary offence is allocated a points value according to its severity. If a club reaches 75 points in a season that club is charged under FA Rule E20 with indiscipline.

Of course all the points given are added up into a disciplinary points table, which ought to be shown on the FA’s official website.  But it is all a blank, presumably because the PGMO won’t share its information with the FA.  Or they can’t add up. Or both.

Here’s the table for Chelsea and Arsenal.  Chelsea tackle more, foul more and get more yellow cards for fouls than Arsenal.   Why don’t they change?  Why don’t the media mention any of this? Who knows!


Team Tackles pg Fouls pg Yellow for fouls PG
Chelsea 17.5 11.9 1.58
Arsenal 15.5 10.1 1.03


As a result of all this Chelsea can put in fewer tackles than Arsenal before getting a foul, fewer tackles before getting a card, and fewer fouls before getting a card.


Team Tackles / foul  Tackles per card Fouls per card
Chelsea 1.47 11.07 7.53
Arsenal 1.53 15.05 9.80


Of course it doesn’t have to be like this.  Arsenal got 86 yellow cards in 2019//20, but cut this to 40 yellow cards in 2020/21.  It was the starting point of Arsenal’s recovery and just shows what can be done with a manager who recognises the problems that arise when the club allows PGMO to take control.



3 Replies to “Arsenal v Chelsea. Why do Chelsea tackle so much when it always brings problems?”

  1. Question: do the totals of fouls include thosenot called because the advantage is played?

  2. would like to know what are you guys thoughts on reverting back to the just a canon logo as of next season?

  3. Seems like Chelsea’s aggressive tackling approach isn’t paying off, with their high card count causing problems. 🛑🔴 Arsenal, on the other hand, have found balance, tackling less and receiving fewer cards. ⚽🔵 #DisciplineMatters

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