Arsenal and Bournemouth, Bournemouth’s ability to foul without getting a card



There’s a lot of chatter today about Jurgen Klopp not being happy with Liverpool playing a game at a certain time which he says means his players do not get a proper rest between games.

And what is interesting, no one is calling it anything Klopp says a “Rant”.   When Arteta speaks, it is of course a “rant” but with Klopp, no.  Now why is that?

Anyway in the last note we looked at the basic home and away issues and the last six games and all this data seems to be pointing Arsenal’s way.

So let’s take a look at the tackles, fouls and yellow cards before we get on to the likely impact of the referee on this match.


Club Tackles Fouls Yellow from fouls Yellow from fouls ratio
Arsenal 16 10.3 1.06 9.71
Bournemouth 18.4 13.4 1.31 10.22
Tottenham 19.5 11.2 1.53 7.32


Tottenham are the sixth-highest recipient of fouls from tackles, which would suggest that any reasonable person running the team would a) teach the defenders to defend without tackling, and b) where tackling is essential teach them to tackle without getting a card.

But as it stands Arsenal get a yellow card from every 9.71 fouls while Tottenham get a yellow card from every 7.32

Put another way, Tottenham are 33% more likely to have a tackle seen as a yellow card offence than Arsenal.  And especially away from home.

But fortunately, it is not my job to sort out Tottenham’s situation when all it takes is a quick look at the statistics.   So let’s push on.

Considering Bournemouth and Arsenal, Bournemouth tackle more, commit more fouls and get more yellow cards from fouls than Arsenal do.  They also get 45% more yellow cards from non-fouling reasons than Arsenal do.

But while we are on the discipline topic let’s have a look at yellow and reds for Arsenal and Bournemouth and a few other clubs.

What we can see here is that Bournemouth has a low possession rate (in the bottom six in the Premier League) and a fairly high yellow card rate.

But these figures on their own are not, as some suggest, targets in their own right.   Look at the teams that have a higher possession rate than Arsenal.  Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

So being low on possession when your defence is built of rhubarb is not a good idea.  And indeed possession is not a guarantee against cards either.  Just take a look at Tottenham: second-highest possession rate in the league, second-highest number of red cards, seventh-highest number of yellow cards,

Quite obviously some teams will let Tottenham have the ball and let them screw the situation up through bad tackling.

Chelsea have the highest number of yellow cards and the fifth highest possession rate.  Which suggests that their response to losing possession is to foul.   Which is why they have 97 yellow cards this season.  80% more than Arsenal.

Yes Tottenham have the second-highest possession rate in the league, but so what when you are fouling all the time?


Team Yellow Red Possession%
1. Manchester City 49 2 66.1%
2. Arsenal 54 2 58.5%
3. Liverpool 62 5 61.7%
8. West Ham U 71 3 40.7%
9. Bournemouth 71 3 44.0%
12. Manchester U 74 1 50.4%
14. Tottenham Ho 79 4 62.1%
16. Brighton & H 82 3 61.2%
20. Chelsea 97 3 58.8%


What clubs surely ought to be searching for is high possession, low tackles, low fouls.  So let’s see what the clubs we are talking about have got.

Manchester City have the highest possession, Arsenal are 6th Bournemouth are 14th.

Manchester City have 49 yellow cards, Arsenal have 54 (19th) and Bournemouth have 71 (13th).

In terms of possession, Manchester City are top with 66.1%, Tottenham are second, Arsenal are sixth with 68.5%, Bournemouth are 14th with 44%.

In terms of tackles Arsenal have 16 per game (19th), Bournemouth 18.4 (7th).  So let’s pull it together


Club Tackles per foul Tackles per yellow Fouls per yellow
Arsenal 1.55 15.09 9.71
Bournemouth 1.34 14.04 10.22
Difference +16% +5% -5%


So Arsenal can put in more tackles before a foul is called, and can put in more tackles before a yellow is waved.   But Bournemouth can put in more fouls (although not many more) before a yellow card is given.

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