19 responses

  1. Gord
    31 December 2019

    A clean team is largely composed of clean players. And likewise, a dirty team is largely composed of dirty players. What are the foul and card records for players at the teams they played for before they were at the team they are currently at? Now if some of those previous teams are in the EPL, we might even have data on what the same referee gives for fouls and cards to the same players, across different teams.

  2. Mikey
    31 December 2019

    Of course other factors also come into play. Take, for example, the two seasons Alan Shearer went without receiving one yellow card……..despite the fact that he committed more fouls than any other player in the premiership in both of those two seasons. Perhaps it helps when you are the captain and golden boy of the England football team.

    I have an idea which might help to identify some useful patterns which I might make next year’s study. I will look at a cards to fouls ratio in the premiership for clubs playing in European competition and then compare it to the how they fair in Europe. It may just be a tainted view that I have, but I do recall some English teams that were treated leniently in domestic football received far more cards in Europe whilst Arsenal were treated more leniently………or “fairly” as I prefer to call it!

  3. jjgsol
    31 December 2019

    We saw on Sunday AMN getting a card for a similar foul that Jorginho did not get one for a few minutes earlier.

    Last week we saw Man$ity players committing numerous fouls for which no card was given.

    Either the refs are incompetent or biased.

    I cannot see a middle path.

  4. Mandy Dodd
    31 December 2019

    My preference is to start with the assumption, if it looks, swims and quacks like a duck……
    And these figures tell their own story as to what is going on, as does what we see game after game
    Wenger was silenced, Gazidis , well,looked to me at least took the path of staying out of things, perhaps his own ambition and agenda. Arteta preaches excellence and accountability, if this ref situation carries on, hope he is soon banging on Rauls door demanding he takes this on, the clubs survival in the EPL could even depend on it in the worst case. Arteta was calmly scathing of the Chelsea ref, and yes, he was a Chelsea ref on Sunday, for whatever reason.
    The club need to be a little less passive on this, can you imagine say Liverpool putting up with this ref shite?

  5. Menace
    31 December 2019

    The data that is needed is simply obtained by the fraud squad. The banking system has some visibility but the income expenditure of the individuals involved can very quickly divulge criminal activity. Fraud does not need to be reported to be investigated.

    No matter how quiet the corrupt may be, the volume of their financial activity quickly deafens the ears of cheated. The BBC’s Panorama programme showed up some family members involved in unsavoury activity but fell silent soon afterwards. The billions involved in the game must be accounted for in order for the exchequer to take its fair share in taxes. One wonders how many whistle blowers does it need to find one off key?

  6. WalterBroeckx
    31 December 2019

    I think it is important that Arsenal highlights the not given yellow card on their webpage in a little clip. https://www.arsenal.com/# Video
    Jorginho scores – but should he have been on the pitch?

  7. Nitram
    31 December 2019

    I’ve been banging on about our harsh cards per foul ratio for years, as I noticed it’s existence over 10 years ago.

    There has been the occasional season where we were treated average or even slightly better than, by we have been bottom or near bottom of these particular stats far too many times than would be expected, especially as we are supposedly a bunch of wimps that don’t like getting stuck in, or ‘in their faces’ as some commentators like to put it.

    Those stats stink.

  8. Chris
    31 December 2019

    I think what would be helpful is to have an added column with the number of fouls per game for and agains Arsenal and compute that with the number of cards for and against Arsenal. This would give us a clearer picture of what is going on. Not that this comment has to be seen as a criticism of the post or an order… ;=)

  9. mick shelley
    31 December 2019

    We have had more than our fair share of really bad decisions against Chelsea over the years. Marcos Alonso on Hector Bellerin, Costa on Kos and Gabriel in the same match readily spring to mind and I am sure there are lots more by the likes of Cahill etc.

  10. Nitram
    31 December 2019

    There is also the issue of WHEN the bookings occur and to whom.

    For example putting the central defender on a card early on when he’s up against, say, Jamie ‘I cant stand up in a breeze’ Vardy, or a fullback when he’s up against Deli ‘Ooops there’s another divot’ Ali, can have a massive effect on the game.

    Also how many times players get booked for a first foul ?

    I thought I lip read David Luiz say to Pawson, ‘That was my first foul’ when he got booked.

    Which brings me to rotational fouling, because that clearly wont work if every player in turn is getting booked for their first foul, which given how many times we’ve received 5 cards or more in match, whilst comming relatively few fouls, suggests is happening.

  11. Gord
    31 December 2019

    Having people point out that adding other data is wonderful, but what would be much better is if you went and got a copy of said data. Saving others of us time.

    Looking at some of the yellow card data for Martin Atkinson (not all of it), in particular this covers 156 games (some are not EPL). His average card rate is 3.48 cards per game. The variance in issuing cards is 4.11, which is slightly higher (might not be significant) than the mean (3.48).

    I’ll get back to typing in some more data on him.

  12. Gord
    31 December 2019

    The negative binomial is the basic (simplest?) distribution which has a larger variance than a Poisson. If the rate “r” is integer, it is often called a Pascal distribution, and for floating point data it is often called the Polya distribution. The mechanism by which the variance is larger than a Poisson, is that successive counts are positively correlated (a higher than average observation is often followed by another that is larger than usual). Some of this is just regurgitation from Wikipedia.

    Wikipedia talks about the mean, variance and mode in terms of p and r. For this Atkinson data, p is about 0.153 and r is about 19.26. Which makes the mode about 3 (most common number of cards per game).

    0 7
    1 22
    2 25
    3 24
    4 37
    5 17
    6 11
    7 7
    8 4
    9 1
    10 1

    The observed mode is 4, which is close to the expected 3.

  13. Chris
    31 December 2019


    I did, computed what I found it but then Tony already had a 3rd post with the information.

    What I was not able to find was a downloadable stat on possession time, because I feel that this element ought to be available, indicating if a team is more on the offence then on the defence, which should have an effect on number of fouls.

    Interestingly, Tottenham have 4 fouls per card, Arsenal is second with 4.06
    We find City in 4th with 4.65, Chelsea is 9th with 5.19, Liverpool 18th with 7.41, Southampton 19th with 7.67 and Leicester last with 9.43

    Definitely there is something strange going on.
    I am not stats expert, so I’ll leave analysis to others…

  14. Lima
    1 January 2020

    So in summary Tony, the 2 articles in this series so far say,
    1. We did an analysis of foul to card ratio in arsenal games and found a wide variation. But since we haven’t done the analysis for other teams games, we can’t say if this variation is peculiar to arsenal or not.
    2. We did a card for and against analysis and found arsenal to be mid table. We can’t make much of this table because teams at the top of the league table like Leicester and Man city were found to be on opposite spectrums of the for/against table, even Liverpool has only a slender for/against advantage while teams at the foot of the league like Southampton and Aston villa have a huge positive balance,so saying teams higher up are benefitting from favourable card balance would be far fetched.
    3. We only know that even though arsenal are midtable in the card balance (we get a little more than our opponents do) we get plenty of cards, the highest in the league (note our opponents do too). However we haven’t analysed the nature of the cards, the proportion that is due to fouls, the proportion due to petulance or retaliation, fighting etc. But whatever the case our opponents seem to get a lot too
    4. After seeing the above,we can’t find any objective evidence that something is amiss in the card balance, but based on the “evidence of our eyes” we know something is amiss. Why should Leicester have far lower card balance than us? We can’t say for sure that they play cleaner than us but we don’t think they do. We have a much better balance than man city, but we won’t talk about that, neither will we bother about the other teams we’re much better than or that Liverpool is mid table too.
    5. Okay, so we don’t have much of a case when the evidence is looked at, but why is pgmo so secretive and why do they employ so few refs?

    Tony I hope I was able to do justice to the articles with this summary?

    • Tony Attwood
      1 January 2020

      No you didn’t.

      • Ango
        1 January 2020

        Hahahahaha, Tony, Lima is spot on can you tell us which of his points is off and why that is the case?

      • Tony Attwood
        2 January 2020

        I am simply saying that if some unusual influence in games by the referees vis a vis fouls resulting in cards is going on, it would naturally be happening in ways that attempted to hide the influence, and the figures are consistent with such an hypothesis. It would clearly not happen overtly in each game all the time.
        The whole point of Type III match fixing which has been explored many times on this site, is that it happens when the opportunity arises for the ref, and these figures are consistent with such an approach. Probably Lima’s issues arose because he wrote his piece without actually reading the whole series of articles.
        I have said many times that this type of match fixing was only spotted in Italy in the end because of phone taps so the conversations behind the match fixing were heard. Clearly we can’t do that so all we can look for are figures which are unlikely to occur by chance or through consistency of application of the rules, and which would clearly benefit some teams and be to the detriment of others, and which are unlikely to occur by chance. I believe we have found these giving these strange results for Leicester, the results for the London clubs and so on.
        I guess the simple point being missed in correspondence is that if there is influence on matches it is going to be hidden and inconsistent – inconsistent because no one needs to fix a match if the required result is happening anyway.

  15. Gord
    1 January 2020

    Carrying on from the 2 posts (first is https://untold-arsenal.com/archives/78785#comment-971127 above).

    What is mentioned above, is 156 games most of which is Premier League. The data I am now starting to work is 662 games, over a much wider field.

    On 156 games, the average was 3.48 and the average was 4.11, leading to a value for p of 0.153 and r of 19.26, which predicts a mode of 3 (and we observed a mode of 4).

    On 662 games, the average has dropped to 3.24, with a variance of 3.48. The red card rate was 0.136 (variance of 0.148).

  16. Gord
    1 January 2020

    Back again. I’ve hacked up the data about Atkinson.

    Over the 662 games, only 2 games are for the Community Shield, so on their own they won’t mean anything.

    There are 394 EPL games, for which we have a mean of 3.39 and a variance of 3.28 on yellow cards (possible under-dispersion).

    There are 61 FA Cup games, with a mean of 2.83 and a variance of 3.22 (over-dispersed) for yellow cards. Red card rate is about half of global or EPL rates.

    There were 22 League Cup games, with an average of 2.36 and a variance of 2.32. Smaller red card rate.

    His yellow card rate for Tier-2 (54 games) was 2.57, for Tier-3 (27 games) was 2.44, Tier-4 (24 games) was 2.5 and for Tier-5 (8 games) was 2.625.

    Atkinson is much happier throwing around yellow cards at UEFA games. For Champions League and Euro Champions games, he averages 4.27 cards per game (4.79 Var). For Europa League and UEFA Cup, he is throwing out 4.16 cards per game (5.71 Var).

    Over the years, every year since the 2002/3 season, he has a card rate of: 3.11, 2.35, 2.29, 2.05, 3.05, 2.60, 3.38, 3.90, 3.49, 3.45, 3.78, 3.03, 4.02, 3.74, 3.40, 3.58, 3.24 and 2.94.

    Time to see why Kolasinac already has a card in our game v ManUre.

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