By Walter Broeckx
When I run in to a set of numbers I see from football I always try to see if I can find any logical numbers in them. So this time I was wondering if we can see if there is any link between possession and getting yellow and red cards.
In general it is that when you have the ball you normally cannot get a yellow card for a foul. Let us say in 90% of the incidents it is the team that doesn’t have the ball that commits a foul and not the other way round. I think we all can agree on that (and if you don’t just let me know). And yes I know that the player in possession can sometimes make a foul when he tries to stretch himself when he made a bad contact with the ball but those are more rare than the other way round when a defender tackles the ball holding player and commits the foul.
A bit like Johan Cruyff once said: when we have the ball, the other team can’t score. But can it also be said: when we have the ball, we can’t get a yellow or a red card?
So here we go with our first table. The table based on possession. First comes the team with most possession and last the team who hardly sees the ball.
So Arsenal is top of the league when it comes to possession. Well this will not be a big surprise to most people who have seen the occasional game of Arsenal. And Stoke is at the bottom of this table. I wonder if they include throw in time in this table?
So according to my assumption and when we form the table on giving yellow cards we should be down at the bottom of the table with most yellow cards. Do we? Just look and remember you should see a mirror image of the first table.
|PossRank||2010-2011||Yellow cards order|
Well we aren’t exactly at the bottom but in 7th place. So meaning that despite us having a lot of the ball we do seem to get a lot of yellow cards in a game. Wolverhampton seems to be holding the centre a bit with a 11th place in the possession table and a 10th place in the yellow cards table.
Top of the table is Newcastle who get the most yellow cards in the EPL. Not a big surprise I would say. Except when playing Arsenal then they dropped from an average of over 2 yellow cards to just one. Arsenal suddenly turn the dirtiest team in the whole EPL with 2 and 3 yellow cards in each game and on top of that 2 red cards also when playing Newcastle. Would it have anything to do with the presence of D & D in those games?
But let us turn to the red cards. Because when you have possession you normally cant get a red card. So we should be at the bottom of the next table in order of the red cards. And again in normal conditions this should be the reversed table of the first table based on possession.
|Poss rank||2010-2011||Red cards order|
Well we are almost top of the league also in this table. So for a team having a lot of possession we sure do manage to get ourselves red carded a lot.
Have we become a dirty team this season? Did the refs give us more yellow cards for some reason? Did the refs give us more red cards for some reason? We try to find an answer to this next season when we will analyse this from the start in our ref review.
But the old and wise words from Johan Cruyff maybe still stand but based on Arsenal you cannot say that having more of the ball means having not many yellow or red cards.
Untold Arsenal on Facebook here
On the history site…
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t
- Arsenal v Tottenham: different clubs, different managers, different successes
- Arsenal v Tottenham with clubs now getting more cards than they put in tackles!