11 responses

  1. Marco

    free kicks in midfield could give the opposition the opportunity to get back in their positions and stop counters.
    try looking at most penalties for and against teams and players. at least that directly leads to game changing goals.

  2. Gord

    The shattered GameDays of late, and impending spring, have gotten in the way of data collection here.

    My collection, as of the end of GameDay 30 (except I believe for the Chelsea v Brighton game) is the basis of what I write here.

    My definition of “caution” is more complex than fouls or cards. The four lowest caution teams are Top-6: Liverpool (1093), Chelsea (1174), Man$ity (1562) and Spuds (1598). The 3 next lowest teams are ROTP: Bournemouth (1745), Newcastle (1749) and CPalace (1872). The median of all the data is 2029 with a MAD of 212. The median of just the ROTP data is 2059, with a MAD of 142.5. At the high end of caution are Arsenal (2229 in 6th) and ManU (2262 and 3rd).

    The two teams requiring the most treatment of their players are Cardiff at 45 treatments for 100 minutes of short-handed play and 11 forced substitutions; and Arsenal at 47 treatments and 74 minutes of short-handed play for 9 forced substitutions. Cardiff was highest for short-handed minutes. The spuds were highest for forced substitutions (but I don’t think it is for the same reason as Cardiff or us). The rest of the Top-6 are all sort of in the middle of the pack.

    The 2 teams inflicting the most treatments on opposition are the spuds at 35 treatments for 46 minutes of short-handed play by opposition and 10 forced substitutions and ManU at 39 inflicted treatments for 63 minutes of short-handed play by opposition and 9 forced substitutions. StateAid has benefited the most from opposition playing short-handed at 82 minutes, Newcastle also high at 67 minutes. CPalace, Newcastle and Huddersfield high on the forced substitutions at 10 each.

    I think the large number of substitutions that the spuds have required, is due to the large number of inflictions they have; they are getting hurt in the process of kicking the opposition.

    By and large, the referees are ignoring the treatments. They are not showing any teams or players feigning injury (no cards seem to have been issued for simulation as a result of a treatment); very few cards have been issued to opposition as a result of a treatment and often it is hard to even associate a foul/free kick with the need for treatment.

    Some of the treatments are for situations where a player has become injured not as a result of a collision immediately before the injury (such as Cech with his hamstring injury early in the season). They still could be the result of a collision. For instance, if a goalkeeper was to get kicked in the back of the leg and then take control of the ball; it is easily possible to injure the hamstring on kicking the ball from the hands a few seconds later (not saying this was what happened with Cech). There are a few instances where a player has gotten injured in the attempt to “foul” an opposition player; and hence the need for treatment is in a sense self-inflicted. This happened at least twice with Arsenal opposition.

  3. Gord

    OT: Women’s Internationals – England 0 – 1 Canada

    I glanced at the Guardian coverage, and the picture at the top of the page says it all. Christine Sinclair is still playing, and still scoring goals.

    2000– Canada 279 (180)

    Only Abby Wambach ahead of her on the all-time list, at 184.

    Keep going Christine!

  4. Menace

    It is quite usual for skillful players to get fouled more than the quick passers. Ozil gets kicked regularly but rarely gets protection in the form of free kicks or bookings of his protagonists. The PGMOL have their systems of arm waving and claiming to have seen incidents so that there is no further action.

    The Arsenal midfield are consistently fouled in order to goad them into reaction. Thankfully they haven’t reacted thus far. Lacazette is fouled just as badly and eventually cracked to get his red card. The grabbing, pulling & pushing of Arsenal players seems to be an accepted part of the EPL officiating blindness. It is mainly this type of foul that gets called eventually by the officials.

    Come on you Gunners, quick passing will win against PGMOL.

  5. GoingGoingGooner

    My impression of Arsenal’s play does resemble some of what The Telegraph says but, of course, I do draw a different conclusion. To me, it seems that Arsenal plays the ball back freely, often back to Leno, in order to relieve pressure and to stretch the field. Teams that press will follow the ball, and if their back line doesn’t move quickly, we have a lot of space in the midfield to work the ball back up.

    In addition, it would seem to me that our back 5 purposely draw players up to them before playing the ball away. A basketball analogy might be apt. An effective shot fake is always, slow-fast – slow up and fast down. If the fake shot is too fast going up the defender will not have time to react and then your pull down and drive will not have been effective.

    Both Torreira and Guendouzi have the on ball skills to take the ball forward quickly in order to transition from defense to offense when the field opens up. And although they are sometimes dispossessed this threat to do so is a real asset. Xhaka, I believe doesn’t have that skill, though, he makes up for that with superior long ball passing skills.

    So, they all get fouled. Well, The Telegraph article is saying our players dive in a very unsubtle way. It ignores what I have already mentioned and some other possibilities:

    a) It is natural, they play in the centre of the park and Arsenal play it out of the back through these skilled players so they are going to be involved in much the play hence drawing more fouls

    b) They are targeted. They are younger and smaller or in the case of Xhaka, prone to periods of red mist and therefore ‘fair game’

    The article ignores the context and in my mind, then, makes these libelous accusations. To some degree, I agree that Guendouzi does go to ground often. But, from the matches, I have seen, it would seem that our very young midfielders are getting targeted because of b) and c). They are protecting themselves but it would be incredibly naive for Unai Emery to tell the players to use this strategy often given the capricious nature of the PGMO. And, players must know that a diving label is not desired.

    We are certainly not the only team that plays out from the back, so one can ask why are we the only team that have three players so highly placed? Which leaves being targeted as another reason for those numbers. To ignore this is to not understand the nature of sport at a high level. Going after a player perceived as a soft touch is what you do. This isn’t ballet; it is men playing football for a living.

    In summary, these numbers do not indicate that our players dive as a strategy. I believe their skill, position and youth make them targets of other players.

  6. John L

    Fouls awarded by referees are, of course, only a part of the story. Arsenal suffer from fouls which referees fail to recognise and conversely are often wrongly penalised. The published figure in the article therefore do not provide the full account

  7. Andy L

    It seems strange that the most fouled team gets awarded the fewest penalties . I am sure there must be a reasonable explanation .

    • Tony Attwood

      Can you quote the figures for the top clubs – they don’t give it on the official Premier League site – which is strange.

  8. Masterstroke

    I’ve no issues with players going down to draw a foul when under pressure (Arteta was a master at it), but I’ve yet to see a player booked for it, which suggests that the referees are on board with it as a tactic.

  9. MickHazel

    Andy L
    The simple explanation is that our boys do not, generally speaking, go in for the diving and simulation tactics to con the refs into awarding fake penalties that most other teams get up to.

  10. Mikey

    Straight forward. The opposition know they are are far less likely to get booked for fouling our players so why not. Rocket science it ain’t.

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