Arsenal v Leeds: tackles, fouls, penalties, yellows… what to expect

By Tony Attwood

Of late I have been trying to get a handle on the very curious statistics that started to emerge in the Premier League last season and which are continuing this season.

These in particular include tackles, fouls, yellow cards and penalties (given and received).  Much of the discussion has of course centred on Leicester City who, like last season, have figures that are considerably out of line with everyone else – not least in having been awarded no less than eight penalties in eight games.  An utterly extraordinary run which (as ever) the general media refuse to comment upon as anything unusual.

Incidentally, on that point we’ve been looking at the way those penalties are awarded, and it is clear that it is to do with the direction in which Vardy runs.  Instead of running towards the ball, he will often change direction, which means he can be caught by a defender who is anticipating a run the opposite way.

There is nothing illegal in this, and it is a clever exploitation of the rules, which referees are going along with – and indeed will go along with until PGMO have one of their meetings and decide to adjust how penalties are given, just as they did in the second half of last season with the issue of tackling.

Anyway, we’ve had our game against Leicester so it is on to Leeds – we play them at Ellend Road.  Leeds have won once, drawn once and lost twice at home this season.  Arsenal have won twice and lost twice away from home in the League.

And we must note from the off that Leeds stand out through certain approaches to their games.

They tackle more than any other Premier League club (168 tackles) but foul less than any other club (74).  And you may recall that it was a disparity like this that started alerting us to funny doings at Leicester last season – just before they fell down the League table as seemingly the refs woke up to the fact that something odd was going on.

As a result of these two figures Leeds commit 2.27 tackles per foul they get.   Arsenal are on a rate of almost half this.  Arsenal commit 1.19 tackles per foul awarded against them – the smallest number in the Premier League.   Either one can argue that Arsenal’s defence don’t know how to tackle, or referees are more likely to give fouls for our tackles than anyone else.

So Leeds have undertaken 168 tackles.  Arsenal’s total is only just over half this number at 94.  And the oddness of the lack of fouls given against Leeds is shown by the fouls total so far this season.  They have been called up for 74 fouls while Arsenal (committing just over half the number of tackles) have been whistled for 79 fouls.  Thus we have to learn: with PGMO watching, tackling is not the best procedure.

Yet the two teams are equal on cards – each has 11 yellow cards.

Each side has been awarded one penalty this season so far, but (and this is most interesting) Leeds have given away four penalties.  Arsenal have given away none.

So although in comparison with other clubs they get called up far less often for tackles this seems to make them a bit careless the box, and so they give away penalties.

Moving to Leeds last game.  In a 4-1 away defeat to Palace, as Patrick Bamford became the first player to score in the first four away games of a league season for Leeds United.

But more to the point Leeds United have lost 100 of 238 away games in the Premier League but only won 73 (thanks to for that stat.  They also tell us Leeds have “conceded four or more goals in consecutive league games for the first time since March 2014 in the League Championship.”

Incidentally their under 21s seem to be lacking the cutting edge, playing in the Football League Trophy.  This season’s results are

Date Game Res Score Competition
8 Sep 2020 Accrington Stanley v Leeds United L 7-0 Football League Trophy
5 Oct 2020 Barrow v Leeds United D 2-2 Football League Trophy
11 Nov 2020 Blackpool v Leeds United L 3-0 Football League Trophy

Just in case you’ve missed our results they have been

8 Sep 2020 Ipswich Town v Arsenal W   1-2 Football League Trophy
13 Oct 2020 Crawley Town v Arsenal W 1-2 Football League Trophy
10 Nov 2020 Gillingham v Arsenal D 1-1 Football League Trophy

Of course these youngsters are unlikely to be playing, but losing 7-0 to Accrington suggests a certain lack of solidity among the younger defenders.

More on the game anon.

One Reply to “Arsenal v Leeds: tackles, fouls, penalties, yellows… what to expect”

  1. When one looks at the Corvid R factor where 1 is good in that others do not catch the virus, the fouls to card factor is violently different. The 1.19 in fouls to a card is aweful. In fact in Arsenals case the R factor almost leads one to believe that cards are issued prior to the players taking the field and only manifest when the PGMOL official begins to recover from the mist of Rileys viral spray.

    There is no humour in the cost of the behaviour of these officials, medical bills that do not warrant justification in sport albeit one that permits contact.

    Locked down in the house watching whatever channel or stream that is creaming in the benefits of the jobless hungry that love the game that was once the national sport now owned by anyone with wads of illgotten notes.

    Enjoy the game my friends – It is what it is!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *