Who in the Arsenal team has committed the most fouls this season? You will not guess!!!

Tony Attwood

I was wondering where on earth the statistics came from showing that Arsenal were the dirtiest team in the league, and expressed incredulity as I worked through the analysis in previous articles.

But others came to my rescue and found more and more figures, and in the discussion after the article “Arsenal are the dirtiest team in the league this season” Nitram, Gord and others have taken us on.

However as you will well know, I am a simple soul, and so I tried another piece of logic.  If Arsenal really are committing all these fouls, who is it that is their worst fouler?   I suspect most would cite Xhaka or maybe one of the central defenders.  Mustafi gets blamed for most things so yep, him and Xhaka.

Now it took work by the readership to show me where those original “Arsenal are the dirtiest team in the PL” figures have come from, and yes I must confess, there are figures that show that Arsenal have committed more fouls than any other team this season.

So my deep apologies.  But who is this mystery man that is committing foul after foul – this fiendish presence on the pitch is who likely at any moment to be cast into the deepest darkness, and who will at once become outed by all right thinking fans as being unworthy of the Arsenal shirt?

Well, I will taunt you no longer for it is…


Really ready?

You are not pretending are you, you really are ready to know the culprit?

It is…


For he is apparently the third dirtiest player in the Premier League – according to the increasingly odd statistics produced by the League.  Despite playing 100 minutes fewer than Xhaka he has apparently committed more fouls than Xhaka.

Now I don’t know if these figures are correct, but let us suppose for a moment that they are, what is going on?

I haven’t noticed these fouls, but if they are real I imagine that it is Laca trying to get the better of a defender and fouling him in the process.  Or a ref entrapped in Type III match fixing is looking to find ways to break up an Arsenal attack and so giving fouls against Laca at every opportunity.  One or the other.

So digging into the stas what else can we find?  Here is the list of tackles made by Arsenal players in the first team so far this season…

  • Guendouzi 15
  • Monreal 13
  • Lacazette 12

OK now I know I am getting old but I do sit in the front row of the east upper on the 18 yard line towards to North Bank so I do have a jolly good view of what is going on, and that really surprises me.

Anyway having found this I thought I would offer some more stats.  Here for example is “aerial battles won” – the top three (as with all these sets that follow) are…

  • Mustafi 30
  • Xhaka 17
  • Lacazette 16

So that is probably where it is happening.  Laca is jumping and deemed by the member of the PGMO to be getting leverege on the defender.   Interesting about Mustafi though.  The man all the bloggettas, the bots and the learned guys down the pub with Sir Hardly Anyone, hate beyond hatred.  The man they want kicked out of the team.  The man who must go.  Mustafi wins that many aerial battles.

But then of course you can prove anything with statistics.  So maybe the Laca figure is wrong too!

Passes – now I did this one last season to show that Xhaka had a significant value.  And this season we see it again…

  • Xhaka 626
  • Mustafi 451
  • Monreal 356

But I was told that his passes number couldn’t be right because he was clearly useless and everyone knew it.  Ah well.

Shots, but not those with a gun, come in as

  • Laca 19
  • Aubameyang 16
  • Mkhitaryan 12

OK a bit surprising to see Mkhit there, but shows the deal we got with shipping out Alexis.   Anyway moving on again and ignoring the fact that I am writing this in the open air with a gale blowing and blazing sunshine… Clearances:

  • Mustafi 54
  • Bellerin 27
  • Sokratis 27

You know how people these day say that person X should stop doing something because he/she is embarassing him/herself.   Well, maybe that is about to be said of this, but this Mustafi character is looking like a real defender to me.  Maybe those calling for him to be executed are the embarassment.  Or maybe they are witches.  Or Tottenham supporters.

If I have to accept that Lacaz is the biggest chicken (fowler) in the kingdom, then surely I can accept that Mustafi is one hell of a defender.

One more because Mustafi can’t come up as one of the best in every list…


  • Torreira 13
  • Guendouzi 12
  • Mustafi 12

Damn there he is again, and OK I  am stopping here, but I do have an interest in the cards of the yellow persuasion.  Sokratis and Xhaka have three, Mustafi and Torreira have two.

So there you are.  Either you can prove anything with stats, or you can take the stats and say, these stats show that we need to be more careful with the old “dirtiest team”, and actually recognise the difference between a centre forward being penalised by a ref in an aeriel ballet with a defener an defender hacking down attackers.

I will watch Laca with more interest from now on.




9 Replies to “Who in the Arsenal team has committed the most fouls this season? You will not guess!!!”

  1. The problem is Tony that the media just want to find stats, no matter how tenuous, vague or misleading, simply as a tool to knock us with.

    I have absolutely no doubt they (the media) know damn well how manipulative they are being but don’t give a shite.

    For example:

    They could just as well have picked up on those Mustafi stats, but that wouldn’t do at all would it. Or the Xhaka stats but that would just make them look stupid.

    So as much as I think we should be highlighting the hypocrisy, bias and damn right lies of the media I don’t think they give one iota, because they already know what they are doing.

    As for the Lacazette fouls statistic I couldn’t believe what I was reading either so I did actually post it yesterday:


    12/10/2018 at 7:50 pm

    And they tell us who is responsible: “Granit Xhaka is among the most hard-hitting players in the league and has racked up 14 fouls alone for Arsenal this season.”

    He’s not even top at Arsenal where according to the Premier League web site Lacazette is our ‘dirtiest’ player with 16 fouls.

    Xhaka is bellow Pogba amongst others.”

    You’ll find it here:


  2. Hi,

    Good post!
    I did indeed guess it would be Lacazette. I have actually noticed it. You are right in that most of the time I would say (in my somewhat biased opinion) that Laca is being wrongly penalised a lot of the time. He shows some real strength at times – obviously if a fancy-french Arsenal forward is to out-muscle a brute of a CB from the likes of Newcastle and West Ham, that MUST be a foul. I’m sure they wouldn’t be given the other way round, if for example Arnautovic were to do the same to our own Mustafi – that would be down to our ‘incompetent’ CB.
    Admittedly, I must say I have noticed Laca committing some genuine fouls too of course. These usually seem to be either out of frustration (not a lot goes his way) or purely mistimed challenges. He’s quite aggressive when he’s pressing the opposing defence and trying to win the ball high up the pitch, which is what the players have apparently been asked to do.
    All of that being said, I couldn’t care less if we are labelled ‘dirtiest’ team, as long as we are doing well. The signs are encouraging. Hopefully we can kick on. Maybe we will even lose this ‘soft/lacking cojones’ label in the process. The Arsenal of old weren’t deemed soft, we had players that people didn’t want to mess with.

  3. Panther

    That’s the 2nd time you’ve said that.

    That’s the 2nd time you’ve been spot on.

  4. Has T. Henry committed the most “fouls”? Apparently he stole Ampadu from our U18 squad and some other news article suggests he could be looking to poach Aaron as well.

  5. I think Type IiI match fixing has been used against Arsenal in the PL this season by the Pgmo through their match officiating officials with intent to slow Arsenal down in their current match winning form in the PL. But the Type III match fixing kind being directed against Arsenal has not succeeded despite the Pgmo match officiating officials conjuring many phantom fouls in the game against many Gunners. This has not work successfully against Arsenal because Arsenal have come of advanced age to conjured an anti-Arsenal match referring antidote that neutralises any poison that is being poured against them in their PL games this season by way of playing the superior game in the match which the opponent teams can’t equalled nor surpassed in the game but paralyze they opponent teams and the Pgmo match officiating officials in their anti-Arsenal match referring in the PL and incapacitate whatever poison is poured on Arsenal in the game. This antidote that’s incapacitate both the opponent teams and the Pgmo is now seeing Arsenal winning 6 games on the trot in the PL this season’s campaign.

  6. I think there is something else here which id the (mis)use of data that I see on a daily basis. Data will tell you so much or nothing at all and it is used increasingly in football (and elsewhere) as evidence. But evidence of what exactly? Let’s say (a positive) that Mustafi makes more successful passes in a game than anyone else in an Arsenal shirt – is he our best passer? Or is just making short safe passes to Rob Holding or Cech for example? What constitutes a ‘successful’ pass? One that finds your teammate or one that opens up the opposition defence?

    At work (I work in a university) data is king. We have to monitor successful modules by the number of students taking them, how well they do in their result, and how much they like the module. This data was used to close down modules in the last year, those that had few students on them. However, the data is only useful if you read it right and in context. So (sorry and bear with me) I ran a module with 50 students on it, most of whom did very well and most of whom liked it. That’s a ‘good’ module. However I had 8 students from a different discipline (criminology, I teach history) on my module. The institution counted them as a separate cohort and decided that 8 students on a module is not viable in terms of staff time and the sue of a whole classroom. So they have stopped criminology students from taking this module in the future despite the fact that the module is a) healthy in terms of overall numbers and b) it will run anyway so there would be no harm in crime students taking it.

    Data is a useful tool to help understand what is going on in a whole range of different situations from football to education to the economy. But it has to be understood properly and should never be the prime driver of decision making.

  7. blacksheep – let me extend that, but return to footie in doing so. Gilberto Silva was considered one of the all time greats and is worshipped in Brazil, and by those who remember him, at Arsenal. He completed the greatest number of passes season after season. But if you looked at these passes, the vast majority were very short – something anyone could do.
    What Gilberto did that merited his god-like status was make interceptions and delicate removals of the ball from an opposition player as he was about to pass. Then Gilberto passed the ball on to whoever was playing next to him. I don’t think we even have a name for that sort of player or that technique, and thus without a name we don’t have a measurement.
    Meanwhile, why don’t you present a paper on the “Catasrophic failures of numerical literacy among university decision makers”. It won’t do your career any good, but would be a serious addition to the literature.

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