By Bulldog Drummond
As we saw in Gordon’s super-analysis of referee actions earlier this week, Arsenal have inflicted the need for treatment on the opposition 11 times this season while Wolverhampton have inflicted the need for treatment on opposition players 5 times. So we shouldn’t have too much worry about fouls from them resulting in injury to Arsenal players.
But now let’s do another analysis. How many man-minutes do teams have in which player/s on the pitch are playing knowing they have already had a caution? It’s an important figure because once a player has a yellow he is bound to change the way he plays and so, particularly as a defender, becomes far less effective.
In this table the first column shows the number of times the club has inflicted the need for treatment on opposition players. So the higher the number, the dirtier the club. Southampton has inflicted the need for treatment on a player 18 times this season which is the worst of any team, so they are bottom of “inflicted treatment” league in 20th.
In column three we look at the position in the caution minutes league. In a perfect world Southampton would be 20th in the caution minutes league, for having inflicted more injuries on opponents that needed treatment they ought to have played more minutes under caution.
Likwise a team that is 1st in the caution minutes league having inflicted few injuries on opponents that need treatment, ought to have played fewer minutes under caution.
But Southampton only come 13th when we measure the number of player minutes played under caution, so they are 7 places higher up the difference table than they should be.
In the final column we look at this difference. A club that has fouled a lot but only played with a small number of caution minutes would be top of this final “Diff pos” (difference position) table. Tottenham as we can see are well and truly top. They are the 18th worst team at inflicting the need for treatment but only 5th in terms of the number of player minutes they play under caution.
Thus they are liberated from having players under caution, leaving them free to go on and commit more and more fouls. As many fouls as they want in fact, knowing the chances of being yellow carded are very low.
Cardiff are also great beneficiaries of this being the 14th worst team at inflicting injuries of opposition players who need treatment but only 7th in the league of clubs when measured by the number of minutes their players play under caution.
Leicester, Brighton and Watford are the teams that get penalised the most. They don’t inflict the need for treatment much but their players are forced to play having had a yellow card – and thus play more cautiously.
|Club||Times inflicted need for treatment||Inflicted treatment position||Caution mins position||Difference between positions||Diff pos (higher = most benefit)|
Arsenal as we can see are mid-table – we have inflicted the need for treatment nine times and are 9th in the caution league, which places us right in the middle.
The teams to be careful of are the teams that are inflicting injuries on the opposition but not getting cautions because they can get away with, if not murder, then something akin.
I have highlighted the five teams who are gaining the benefit of referees gentleness on them, while they go around harming seeming without much punishment.
Of course all tables like this are only an approximation. We are only measuring serious or repeated fouls – those getting yellow cards, but some referees could be biased in favour or against a team from the off, so the measure is not perfect.