by Bulldog Drummond
If you want a game that highlights everything that is wrong with English refereeing in the Premier League, and indeed everything that is wrong with the PL and its referees, here you have it.
Burnley have committed 270 fouls this season, Arsenal 259. Not that much in it. Burnley the slightly dirtier team.
And yet Burnley has received 39 yellow cards and no reds. But Arsenal has got 58 yellow cards and 3 reds. That is a huge difference and is in fact very odd. Arsenal commit FEWER fouls but get FAR MORE yellow cards than Burnley.
So we then see that Burnley commits 6.92 fouls to get a yellow. Arsenal need to commit 4.47 fouls to get a yellow. We can’t do a comparison on reds since Burnley don’t get any.
Now it can be argued that this a quirk of the statistics. Except that it happens over and over again through the Premier League. Arsenal get yellows much more readily than Burnley AND virtually all other clubs as we have shown in previous stats.
These stats are weird. And it happens over and over again in the League. Which then raises the key question – not the question of why and how it happens but rather why is this not a topic discussed by the media? Even if there is nothing amiss, why are the media not looking at this.
Indeed a second question arises: why are these figures not reported in the media what with all the statistics that they present to us daily? Indeed why are these figures not reported by the Premier League? Or even the bloggettas? Or Football.London with its 12+ Arsenal stories A DAY???
I mean, if you are writing 12 or more Arsenal stories a day, surely there is space on just ONE of them to look at the number of yellow cards and the number of fouls and ask “What is going on?”
Meanwhile the PL official website is packed solid with stats but one thing it does not have is a table that puts together the number of fouls committed and the number of yellow cards against the club. It’s got everything else. In fact I have the feeling that if I went searching for it I’d probably find a table comparing what different players had for lunch on match days. But not a table on fouls and yellows.
Why is that? Maybe because they believe that football fans don’t like statistics. Because “you can prove anything with statistics”. Maybe that is their thinking. Or maybe because they know that these figures are dynamite and if they ever get out into the public domain there will be all sorts of inquiries. Terribly sorry old chap, I’ve just done that.
But not to worry, because even though we have started reporting these figures, none of the national media are taking this up. It is almost as if someone somewhere has told the publications and media outlets that are licensed by the League and its referee association the PGMO, that they won’t get their access to the press box and everything that stems from that, if they start looking at this topic.
Fortunately Untold doesn’t have a press pass. (We did actually apply for one a few years ago, but never got a reply. Just like we never got a reply when we wrote to the FA and asked where the money for the “Community Shield” game went each year. Nor when we asked them for details of what was in the Charity Commission report which stopped the FA calling it the Charity Shield).
So in this game we expect Burnley to have more fouls awarded against them, but Arsenal to get more yellow cards. Except that we’ve now made that public. Maybe the ref will back off.
And this is important because yellow cards have an impact on the players; it makes them more cautious and slows them down. The carded player knows the referee is on his case so one more foul could be that second yellow and off. He eases back. The opposition know this too, and they take more and more risks – after all what have they got to lose?
Because of this, our prediction has to be that the best Arsenal can hope for is a draw, with the defenders being double plus extra over-cautious. Do that and they might just stand a chance of keeping all 11 men on the pitch. We can only hope that the management has pointed out to the players just how warped the fouls to yellow cards are. They need to be mega careful.
And that will restrict their natural style of play.
And, to add the final point. If you wanted to fix a Premier League match and get away with it, could you think of a better way of doing it than by making sure that the club you wanted to do down was much more likely, match after match, to get its players on yellow cards per foul, than the opposition?
It makes the carded team more nervous, the match-fixing team able to run riot.
We have one hope – that by publicizing this point the ref will say, “they’ve spotted what we are up to. I’m holding back.”
Just don’t expect a word about this in the media.
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