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Arsenal already getting more yellow cards for far fewer tackles than other clubs

By Tony Attwood

At the end of 2018 we ran an article with the headline “How four clubs commit fouls with impunity, while others constantly get punished”

It was a unique piece of research by Andrew Crawshaw which shone the light on the variations in the ways referees handle different clubs in different ways.

I have long since pondered how this is engineered, and following the Burnley game I was fascinated by the way that the Burnley manager, a Mr S Dyche, manipulated reality to complain about referees.   Among his comments was this, “The game is in a really poor state, with players literally falling on the floor.   I’m the only one who ever talks about it. I find that really weird.”

The fact is of course that it is Mr Dyche who is really weird – his gesturing in the game for example showing a complete lack of knowledge about how the handball rule had changed this year.

His comment about falling over did get reported, but this being the Premier League, with commentaries written by reporters for English newspapers and blogs, the real point behind Burnley’s problems at the moment was never mentioned.  And Burnley do have a real problem – their players don’t touch the ball.  Here are the statistics for touches this season…

Club
Touches
1.
Leicester City
1,561
2.
Arsenal
1,550
3.
Manchester City
1,529
4.
Tottenham Hotspur
1,492
5.
Manchester United
1,479
6.
Chelsea
1,422
7.
Liverpool
1,397
8.
Norwich City
1,357
9.
Brighton and Hove Albion
1,354
10.
Everton
1,258
11.
Sheffield United
1,219
12.
Watford
1,213
13.
Crystal Palace
1,185
14.
West Ham United
1,158
15.
Aston Villa
1,151
16.
AFC Bournemouth
1,139
17.
Newcastle United
1,090
18.
Southampton
1,076
19.
Wolverhampton Wanderers
1,023
20.
Burnley
986

In just two matches Arsenal players have had 564 more touches of the ball than Burnley players.

Of course touching the ball isn’t all there is to the game – Leicester touch the ball a lot but have so far just got two points from one goalless draw and one 1-1 draw.

There are other indicators too that something not right is going on for the early yellow card totals show – and here we can see just how much effect the Burnley manager is having with his endless whinging and whining before and after every single match.   By suggesting that players are falling over, he is ensuring that Burnley, a fairly physical team, are not getting yellows, whereas other clubs are…

Club Yellow
1.
Arsenal
5
Chelsea
5
Manchester United
5
4.
AFC Bournemouth
4
Newcastle United
4
Sheffield United
4
West Ham United
4
Wolverhampton Wanderers
4
9.
Crystal Palace
3
Everton
3
Manchester City
3
Norwich City
3
Watford
3
14.
Southampton
2
15.
Brighton and Hove Albion
1
Burnley
1
Liverpool
1
Tottenham Hotspur
1
19.
Norwich
0
Aston Villa
0

The difference between Arsenal and Burnley comes with passes too.  I won’t put the whole table in as that can get boring, but here are the highlights.  All these figures come from the Premier League’s official site (more on that in a moment).

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Club 
Passes
1.
Manchester City
1,158
2.
Arsenal
1,145
3.
Leicester City
1,120
4.
Manchester United
1,101
5.
Tottenham Hotspur
1,093
6.
Liverpool
1,007
7.
Chelsea
977
8.
Norwich City
966
18.
Southampton
689
19.
Wolverhampton Wanderers
643
20.
Burnley
566

And incidentally just while we are looking at these tables there is an interesting issue when it comes to shots.  Arsenal are mid table for shots with 23, and Manchester City way out in front, but take a look at the bottom.

Club
Shots
16.
Manchester United
20
17.
Watford
19
18.
Wolverhampton Wanderers
14
19.
West Ham United
13
20.
Crystal Palace
12

Palace and Watford are the two teams without a single goal so far this season, but Man U are simply not getting the shots in either.

Arsenal have also, thus far, been given offside more than any other club (eight times in two games), against Liverpool for example (who have only been caught offside once).  And for people who are still very worried about our defence, we have put in only half the tackles that Chelsea have, and indeed fewer tackles than any club except Southampton.  But that could be a new tactic.  Arsenal tackles are much more likely to get yellow cards than most other clubs’ tackles so the solution is, tackle less.

Club
Tackles
1.
Leicester City
49
2.
Chelsea
46
3.
Watford
46
4.
Brighton and Hove Albion
44
5.
Crystal Palace
42
8.
Manchester United
39
15.
Manchester City
33
16.
Tottenham Hotspur
33
17.
Liverpool
28
18.
Norwich City
26
19.
Arsenal
23
20.
Southampton
22

What is particularly notable however is that despite having a whole website given over to analysing Premier League teams and games, and despite measuring clubs by 21 different statistics, the PL’s official site still does not have a statistic for fouls given by referees against clubs.  And yet that is one of the most important statistics there is.

Even more oddly, the league’s official tables do give fouls committed by individual players, but not by teams.  If you go looking for it under Premier League Stats there is an entry for “Fouls” but if you click on it you get the notice “No stats are available for your search.”

Of course that is just an honest mistake and nothing to do with hiding referee bias.  We all know that.

15 comments to Arsenal already getting more yellow cards for far fewer tackles than other clubs

  • pigs may fly before refs are subjected to any form of scrutiny. we can only hope for the retirement of mike dean.

  • Les Martin

    The Spanish inquisition was fair compared to the PGMO shenanigans.

  • Nitram

    As you may know Tony on the other thread I did an analysis of Arsenals cards to fouls ratio over the last few years and compared it to Liverpool’s.

    The fouls are given on transferleague.com but they only go back 5 or 6 years.

  • Nitram

    These were just 3 examples I put on the match day thread.

    ARSENAL

    20 fouls 5 cards

    LIVERPOOL

    15 fouls 0 cards

    WATFORD

    26 fouls 0 cards

    If anyone’s interested the more in depth 5 season analysis is also on that thread.

  • Mikey

    Just so people know. I’m doing some research on this very subject this year. I’m also analysing individual referee performance against us and our opposition. The only thing that really frustrates me in doing this is that one is never actually able to analyse the number of actual fouls in any given game, only those incidents which are deemed to be fouls by the referee. As we know, these are certainly not the same thing.

  • Nitram

    Correction

    Tony’s stats on cards are correct.

    So it is in fact:

    LIVERPOOL

    15 fouls 1 card

    WATFORD

    25 fouls 3 cards

    Sorry about that but I’m pretty sure that’s what they said when I did all the stats but never mind. Either way we’re still on the wrong end of some strict interpretations of the rules that others are not.

    And my stats were from transfermarkt.com

    Again sorry about that but it is a bit mind numbing doing stats. 😖

  • Les Williams

    @mikey

    I was at my son in laws house on Sunday and he was watching both premier league games. I joined him.

    I dont normally watch PL games because i got fed up ages ago with refereeing that seemed to bear no relation to the rules of the game.

    I was absolutely amazed with the performance of both refs. They seemed to have only a passing interest in the IFAB rules as far as I could see. There were loads of things they “missed” in both games. Do the PIGMOB have their own set of “rules”? That is how it appeared to me.

    Later on that evening at home I watched Atletico Madrid against Getafe. I could not believe the difference in the standard of refereeing. It was like chalk and cheese. The ref did not seem to miss anything. The one time he missed a scrape on an Achilles tendon he was alerted by the VAR crew and he quickly looked and produced, correctly according to IFAB / FIFA directives, a red card. I was thinking at the time what would happen with a PIGMOB ref as he is not allowed to look at a pitchside monitor.

    I am getting fed up with fans saying we dont need VAR etc… VAR is not the problem – it is the officials and referees we have at present who are killing the game. The only answer I can see for the premier league is to set up the referees body from scratch and to make sure the new referees have some understanding and comprehension of what the rules of the game are because at the moment the current incumbents dont have a clue.

    The overwhelming thing I have taken from Sunday is that, if it is at all possible, officiating in the premier league has got considerably worse in the last 3 or 4 years.

    It makes me wonder how many of the results are real?

    And yes you are all right here – the refs appear to have a terrible bias problem in each match. Rules seem to apply differently to different teams

  • Gord

    Courtesy https://ceoworld.biz/2019/08/20/the-best-football-cities-in-the-world-for-2019/ with some extra data:

    The Best Football Cities In The World For 2019

    Rank City _ _ _ _ _ _Country _ _ _ Population(Wikipedia/Metro)
    _1 _ London _ _ _ _ _UK _ _ _ _ _ _ 8.9M
    _2 _ Sao Paulo _ _ _ Brazil _ _ _ _12.2M
    _3 _ Buenos Aires _ _Argentina _ _ 15.6M
    _4 _ Madrid _ _ _ _ _Spain _ _ _ _ _6.7M
    _5 _ Rio de Janeiro _Brazil _ _ _ _12.3M
    _6 _ Milan _ _ _ _ _ Italy _ _ _ _ _8.2M
    _7 _ Porto Alegre _ _Brazil _ _ _ _ 4.4M
    _8 _ Mexico City _ _ Mexico _ _ _ _21.1M
    _9 _ Liverpool _ _ _ UK _ _ _ _ _ _ 2.2M
    10 _ Montevideo _ _ _Uruguay _ _ _ _1.9M
    11 _ Barcelona _ _ _ Spain _ _ _ _ _5.5M
    12 _ Manchester _ _ _UK _ _ _ _ _ _ 3.3M
    13 _ Munich _ _ _ _ _Germany _ _ _ _6.0M
    14 _ Rome _ _ _ _ _ _Italy _ _ _ _ _4.4M
    15 _ Paris _ _ _ _ _ France _ _ _ _12.5M
    16 _ Turin _ _ _ _ _ Italy _ _ _ _ _1.7M*
    17 _ Athens _ _ _ _ _Greece _ _ _ _ 3.8M
    18 _ Dortmund _ _ _ _Germany _ _ _ 11.3M
    19 _ Naples _ _ _ _ _Italy _ _ _ _ _4.3M
    20 _ Istanbul _ _ _ _Turkey _ _ _ _15.0M
    21 _ Lima _ _ _ _ _ _Peru _ _ _ _ _10.0M
    22 _ Guadalajara _ _ Mexico _ _ _ _ 5.0M
    23 _ Newcastle _ _ _ UK _ _ _ _ _ _ 1.7M (and Mike Ashley)
    24 _ Gelsenkirchen _ Germany _ _ _ _0.3M
    25 _ Johannesburg _ _South Africa _ 9.6M
    26 _ Moscow _ _ _ _ _Russia _ _ _ _20.0M
    27 _ Lisbon _ _ _ _ _Portugal _ _ _ 2.8M
    28 _ Berlin _ _ _ _ _Germany _ _ _ _6.0M
    29 _ La Paz _ _ _ _ _Bolivia _ _ _ _2.3M
    30 _ Zagreb _ _ _ _ _Croatia _ _ _ _1.2M
    31 _ Kolkata _ _ _ _ India _ _ _ _ 14.1M
    32 _ Santiago _ _ _ _Chile _ _ _ _ _7.0M
    33 _ Rosario _ _ _ _ Argentina _ _ _1.3M
    34 _ Dublin _ _ _ _ _Ireland _ _ _ _1.9M*
    35 _ Hamburg _ _ _ _ Germany _ _ _ _5.1M
    36 _ Amsterdam _ _ _ Netherlands _ _2.4M
    37 _ Seville _ _ _ _ Spain _ _ _ _ _1.5M
    38 _ Goa _ _ _ _ _ _ India _ _ _ _ _1.5M (this is a state, not a city)
    39 _ Donetsk _ _ _ _ Ukraine _ _ _ _2.0M
    40 _ Bilbao _ _ _ _ _Spain _ _ _ _ _1.0M
    41 _ Leipzig _ _ _ _ Germany _ _ _ _1.0M
    42 _ Porto _ _ _ _ _ Portugal _ _ _ 2.3M
    43 _ Eindhoven _ _ _ Netherlands _ _0.4M*
    44 _ Belgrade _ _ _ _Serbia _ _ _ _ 1.7M
    45 _ Salzburg _ _ _ _Austria _ _ _ _0.2M*
    46 _ Lyon _ _ _ _ _ _France _ _ _ _ 2.3M
    47 _ Kyiv _ _ _ _ _ _Ukraine _ _ _ _3.4M
    48 _ Frankfurt _ _ _ Germany _ _ _ _5.6M
    49 _ St. Petersburg _Russia _ _ _ _ 6.2M
    50 _ Tallinn _ _ _ _ Estonia _ _ _ _0.4M
    51 _ Nicosia _ _ _ _ Cyprus _ _ _ _ 0.3M
    52 _ Prague _ _ _ _ _Czech Republic 2.6M
    53 _ Split _ _ _ _ _ Croatia _ _ _ _0.3M
    54 _ Bruges _ _ _ _ _Belgium _ _ _ _0.3M
    55 _ Sofia _ _ _ _ _ Bulgaria _ _ _ 1.7M
    56 _ Thessaloniki _ _Greece _ _ _ _ 1.0M
    57 _ Tiraspol _ _ _ _Moldova _ _ _ _0.1M=
    58 _ Barysaw _ _ _ _ Belarus _ _ _ _0.2M
    59 _ Cairo _ _ _ _ _ Egypt _ _ _ _ 20.4M
    60 _ Tel Aviv _ _ _ _Israel _ _ _ _ 3.9M
    61 _ Bologna _ _ _ _ Italy _ _ _ _ _1.0M
    62 _ Astana _ _ _ _ _Kazakhstan _ _ 1.0M (now called Nur-Sultan)
    63 _ Bratislava _ _ _Slovakia _ _ _ 0.7M

    I have no idea where Edmonton, Alberta, Canada would rank. 10,000?

  • Gord

    The Sun is already talking about the January transfer window.

    Dorks!

  • Gord

    Because they need a plausible context for their new tranche of lies that they have prepared earlier!

  • Pete

    Gord – some of those population numbers are millions out…

  • Gord

    I tried to use the Metro populations where I could figure out what those were. In some circumstances the city population and the Metro population were close to being the same; and in some circumstances they were quite different. Turin, Dublin, Einhoven and Salzburg were problematic in this regard. I believe Tiraspol is the smallest city named. And I commented that Goa is a state, not a city.

    But, if you have better numbers, please add them. 🙂

  • Gord

    Dublin (from Wikipedia)

    Population
    • Capital city _ _ 554,554
    • Urban _ _ _ _ _1,173,179
    • Metro _ _ _ _ _1,347,359
    • Greater Dublin 1,904,806

    Trying to guess where you see problems.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Let me say with this available stats that shows Arsenal are joint leaders on the yellow card table in the PL after 2 matches this season could be telling us Gooners and Gunners the Pgmol might be lurking around in the corners at Anfield in the PL on Saturday to pigmob on Arsenal in the game branding the yellow card to the faces of the Gunners to restrain them playing to their fullness in the match so as to help Liverpool escape a defeat at the hands of Arsenal who are poised to hit the Anfield PL club side Liverpool FC with a crumbling defeat in the match. But let the Pgmol employs any dirty tricks in the books against Arsenal in the big game, Arsenal will grow bigger in the game than both the Pgmol officiating officials and their cohorts Liverpool FC in the match than they both have never imagined Arsenal can grow to beating Liverpool hands down in the match and beating the Pgmol to their anti-Arsenal PL title win agenda in the match.

  • Menace

    The PGMOL introduced the bias & corrupt practices that evade inspection. The FA are as corrupt as their officials and even more than meets the eye when it comes to organisational set up.

    Any interrogation is met with silence and laughter. The laughter is all the way to the bank.

    This system of officiating & it includes the puppets in the VAR studio at Stockley Park are not open to criticism nor interrogation. The Laws of the Game are a fantasy for the EPL.