By Tony Attwood
Now if you have been lurking around here for some time you will recognise the phrase above – “Arsenal have only two players who have scored in double figures.”
For a phrase very similar to this was used by Amy Lawrence as a way of putting Arsenal down a few years back, noting as she did that near the end of the 2017/18 season Arsenal had only two players who had scored in double figures.
It sounded awful – a real failure by Arsenal but in fact, at that moment 15 clubs in the Premier League had only one player who reached double figures in goal scoring, though the language misused by Ms Lawrence would not suggest that.
So this was seized on by Untold as a perfect example of the way in which writers in the media manipulate the perception of clubs. The use of “only” suggests that even the most common or garden Premier League team would have many more than the three Arsenal had who had scored in double figures by the end of the season.
In fact at the time Arsenal were exceptional in terms of their scoring capacity from individual players, and the use of “only” was highly inappropriate. What the article should have done was highlighted the number of players in double figures for all the top clubs at the time and that would have revealed just how awful or how good Arsenal were.
- Liverpool 2 (Mane, Salah)
- Man City 2 (Aguero Sterling)
- Arsenal 2 (Aubameyang, Martinelli)
- Man United 1 (Rashford)
- Southampton 1 (Ings)
- Leicester 1 (Vardy
- Chelsea 1 (Abraham)
- Tottenham 1 (Kane)
- Wolverhampton 1 (Jimenez)
- Norwich 1 (Pukki)
- Everton 1 (Calvert-Lewin)
Yep we are up there with the elite – only three teams have two players who have scored in double figures, and Arsenal is one of them.
And just to make the figures complete, the top goal scorers are
- Jamie Vardy: Leicester, 17
- Sergio Agüero, Man City, 16
- Marcus Rashford, Man U, 14
- Danny Ings, Southampton 14
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal 14
However where Arsenal do have a problem is with their third highest scorer – who is Lacazette with just five goals this season. We would all have surely hoped for more.
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And indeed looking at the charts there is a real problem – although I don’t think I’ve seen it highlighted anywhere, and that is with assists. Our top assist man, according to the PL website is Pepe with three. He is placed 32nd in the assist charts. Top of the list of De Bruyne with 15 – although he is a real exception. The second highest number is nine, and that is for Alexander Arnold.
And while we are at this issue of numbers it is worth once more having a look at yellow cards and fouls. And as before we have to report that while the Premier League’s official site does indeed record yellow cards per club and fouls per player it still refuses to give fouls per club. Why is that? It shows just about everything else!
The table below records the number of fouls committed for each yellow card – as shown in the final column.
|Rank||Club||Yellows||Fouls||Fouls per yellow|
|12.||West Ham United||42||233||5.55|
|18.||Brighton and Hove Albion||35||237||6.77|
So whereas we might expect the six London and home counties teams to be spread through this table, three of them are clustered at the top in terms of yellows which is interesting because there are no London referees in the league.
Leicester have to commit 10.32 fouls to get a yellow. Tottenham have to commit 4.40, Arsenal 4.44, Bournemouth 4.53, Norwich 4.89. Put another way Leicester need to commit more than twice as many fouls as Arsenal to get a yellow card. Surely that is a matter worthy of debate – but you’ll only find it on this site.
Wolverhampton has committed the same number of fouls as Arsenal but got 36 yellow to Arsenal’s 57. Are Arsenal fouls really over one and a half times as bad as Wolverhampton fouls, week in, week out.
Of course you might choose to believe that Arsenal deserve all the extra yellows, and that Leicester’s similar number of fouls don’t merit yellows because their fouls are minor infringements. Fine if that is what you believe – I don’t have the resources to analyses all these fouls and see if you are right. But I have seen Leicester play, and it doesn’t look like that to me.
Indeed such a constant disparity seems highly unlikely to me.
But I am sure the referees and PGMO know what they are doing.
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