By Tony Attwood
Arsenal are the most fouled team in the Premier League – by quite a way. At least that is “most fouled” when the count is taken of fouls awarded by the referees.
The table that shows this is provided by Footstats.co.uk. I’ll comment a little on the sources of the data in this article below, but let’s start with their figures.
|Position||Team||Played||Fouls committed by Opposition|
|7||West Ham Utd||32||346||10.81|
|18||Brighton & HA||31||269||8.68|
So what is the cause of Arsenal being at the top being fouled the most while Manchester City get fouled the least? After all, for people who like to believe that Untold deals in conspiracy theories in which we suggest that the referees are all bent and are out to do Arsenal down, this is surely a bit of a puzzler. For as noted, this is not an exact measure of fouls against Arsenal, but rather fouls against Arsenal awarded as such by referees.
Of course how many of these fouls were correctly given, and how many more were missed for each club, we really can’t say as we are no longer running the analysis of fouls per game with video evidence – although all the data from when we did that is still on line on this site.
But there is more to be found here, because the Telegraph has published a list of fouls against individual players, rather than teams, again as awarded by the referee. Here is their list of the 15 most fouled players in the PL this season. And here you might notice something curious. Three of those players are Arsenal men. No other club has more than one player in the list.
The argument is that “Torreira and Guendouzi are comfortable receiving the ball under pressure and taking it into contact. Even the slightly flat-footed Xhaka has followed their example, dribbling past Paul Pogba and drawing a yellow card in the recent league meeting with Man Utd.”
So it seems they are suggesting that Arsenal’s midfield plays in a way that invites silly opposition players to foul them in such a manner that referees will generally award a free kick, and Arsenal get a chance to move forward. It is, they suggest, a way of dealing with pressure.
But what about turning this round and looking at Arsenal as a team that fouls the opposition? Here’s the chart for that.
|Lge Pos||Club||Games||Fouls committed||Fouls per game|
So when it comes to fouls awarded against Arsenal we are pretty much middle of the road – but it is interesting that Manchester United stand out as the top six in the league team with the most fouls given against them. Man City are clearly being helped either by not committing fouls or by committing them and the referee not giving them.
And there we are. Arsenal are the team that get the most free kicks from referees, and have three players who stand out as men who get fouled. What on earth does it all mean?
I’ve just discovered another box of copies of the book “Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” our store room, having previously said it was out of print. So both this book and “Making the Arsenal” are now available as printed books, and on Kindle. Please see here for more details.