Leicester heading for all time record number of penalties, and the away win figures

by Tony Attwood

In its report on Leicester’s win at Tottenham, the Guardian mentions Leicester penalty five times.  On the BBC Radio 4 report this morning the penalty was mentioned four times.  But neither news source mentioned the real oddity of the Leicester penalty.   That is that this was Leicester’s ninth penalty of the season.

What I would like to show below is just how weird this number is.  Not only are Leicester picking up penalties at a far higher rate than any other club but with over one third of the season played, Leicester are looking to get an all time record number of penalties.  And not just by one or two, but by an amazing number.

First let’s have a look at how Leicester stand vis a vis the rest of the Premier League.    There are 16 clubs in the list – four PL clubs have not got a single penalty this season.  While Leicester have nine.

Club Penalties received

Now to get a comparison with normality here are the final figures from last season…

Last season

Club Penalties received

So Leicester were fourth highest, and Man U’s total figure was high, but not ludicrously so.

But now we are 37% of the way through the season, so at this rate Leicester will get 24 penalties this season.  Last season as we can see the top club for penalties was Manchester United with 14.  That is starting to look very weird.  The weirdest ever.

And to see just how weird here we have the clubs with the top penalty awards across the years from the time Leicester won the league…

Season Top Penalty club No of top penalties No of Arsenal penalties
2015/6 Leicester City 13 2
2016/7 Bournemouth 10 6
2017/8 Crystal Palace 10 5
2018/9 Manchester United 12 5
2019/20 Manchester United 14 4
2020/21 Leicester City 9 2
2020/21 estimate Leicester City 24 5

Now by any measure of normality that is beyond the bounds of chance.   First, Leicester won the league in 2016 by getting 13 penalties, a number only beaten once in the next five seasons, and then only beaten by one penalty (Man U with 14).

But this season with just over one third of the games completed Leicester are within one penalty of the top number of penalties awarded to any single club in the last six years.

If things go on like this Leicester will get not just an all time record number of penalties but get a number of penalties so far beyond the normal number of penalties it would require an enquiry among any normal set of refereeing officials.  Although of course we don’t have a normal set of officials in England so we won’t get that.  In fact I think Untold is the only place talking about it.

Of course yesterday’s penalty for Leicester made no difference to the result, but as we noted last time we investigated Leicester’s penalties, that is not always the case.   We might also wonder how Leicester got eight penalties in their first eight games, at which point Untold did its first report on this oddity, and then the penalties stopped – until the game against Tottenham.  So maybe they are only getting real penalties (as reports say this one was) now.  We shall see.

But what is really interesting is that none of the rest of the media that I have seen mention Leicester’s penalties at all.  Instead the BBC yesterday spent a lot of time asking why Leicester do better away from home than home.  Interviewee said that’s what everyone’s asking,

And that again is weird, because we know why clubs are doing better away than at home, and have written about it a lot, so they could have answered that.  There are several articles on this site on the subject, and others elsewhere.  It is as if the BBC don’t want to know.

But in case the BBC don’t like our figures, so today I’ll take them from Soccer Stats

Season Home wins Draws Away wins
2018/19 48% 19% 34%
2019/20 45% 24% 31%
2020/21 (135 games) 36% 22% 41%

Since the days of full crowds in stadia the home wins numbers are going down and the away wins are going up.  You might recall the Observer showing this trend has reversed in Europe, but in England it remains.

There is only one reason we have found, and that comes from the research in London School of Economics where professional referees were shown footage of Premier League games with crowds present.  Half the refs had the games with sound on their headphones, and half with silence, and in each case, at a contentious moment the game was stopped on the TV screen and the referee watching had to make a decision.

Those with crowd noise showed a huge bias to the home team.

The fact that these figures only apply to England are telling.  But only England has the PGMO running refereeing.

Research details: Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, was on the board of Athletic Bilbao for seven years and is professor of management, economics and strategy at the London School of Economics, and he wrote the report in the Review of Economics and Statistics (Volume 87 | Issue 2 | May 2005 p.208-216 if you are currently doing a PhD and want to look it up) into Favouritism under Social Pressure.


11 Replies to “Leicester heading for all time record number of penalties, and the away win figures”

  1. We don’t get the ball in the opposition’s box enough at the moment to warrant getting a pen .
    Never mind with things this bad ( football wise ) it can only get better. Surely.

  2. @ Rudolf

    …and has that been the case for the last six seasons?

    Why deliberately look for ways to behave negatively towards the club? Are facts so terribly off-putting that it’s more comfortable to ignore the topic at hand and slag off the club?

  3. Mikey

    I don’t know about the last 6 seasons?

    There have been statistics reproduced on Untold regarding Penalties and Yellow/Red cards which show we have been consistently poorly treated in both respects for the last 15 years or so, in fact more specifically since Mike Riley took charge at the PGMOL. Yes we have had the odd burst of penalties, it’s not an exact science. But when averaged out we are treated terribly in both respects, but every time, someone comes up with the same old excuses.

    Your players cant tackle. It’s the way you play. Blah blah blah.

    Now I concede that the way we are playing this season it is no surprise we are not getting penalties, but we are still receiving cards at a ridiculous rate.

    But the fact is our penalty rates both for and against were not good even when we spent matches literally camped in opponents boxes ! Not only that, we were tippy tappying it about for hour on end apparently, but still hardly ever got fouled by all accounts.

    The bottom line is Mikey, you are wasting your breath with these people, as I have found to my cost on many occasions.

  4. Cool down guys I’m not slagging off , I meant it , we are struggling that’s patently obvious our position in the league tells us that , and we are struggling to score goals therefore we are hardly ever in the opposition’s box . Which in turn means we are hardly likely to get many penalties. Merry Xmas

  5. In fact it is a bit surprising that we have actually had two penalties this season. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t have been awarded more.

  6. Other interesting facts ref Leicester’s penalties:-

    2 awarded at home and 8 away
    9 scored – 1 missed
    4 in the first half – 6 in the second
    3 games where they have been 2 or more penalties!

  7. We were awarded the most penalties in the league in 2005/6 and 2006/7 back to back. We probably would have been awarded more penalties if we had gotten Vardy, a striker with the pace and who likes to make direct runs into the box, unlike our attackers that love the back pass

  8. Arome

    “We were awarded the most penalties in the league in 2005/6 and 2006/7 back to back.”

    You are correct but isn’t it funny how you found those 2 seasons. Why not look at the bigger picture? I found penalty stats going back to season 2002/03 and this is what I found regarding our main rivals over the period 02/03 to 19/20.

    Penalty awards:


    Man City………….105………….60

    Man Utd………….100………….48




    Arsenal had LEAST penalties FOR and MOST penalties AGAINST

    Arsenal had just 10% MORE penalties FOR than AGAINST

    MAN UTD and CHELSEA both had 100% MORE penalties FOR than AGAINST

    MAN CITY had 80% MORE penalties FOR than AGAINST

    Those statistics are simply ridiculous.

    Now here’s the thing. From the statistics I had available I split them into before and after. I had 7 seasons before and 11 after. This is just for Arsenal:

    7 seasons BEFORE that’s 02/03 to 08/09

    For = 41

    AGAINST = 19

    So we had just over 100% MORE penalties FOR than penalties AGAINST. Sound familiar ?

    Now the 11 seasons AFTER. That’s 09/10 to19/20

    FOR = 45

    AGAINST = 59

    So just 4 more penalties FOR over those 11 years than the 6 years before. That’s just and extra 4 penalties over and extra 5 years ! That is ridiculous. But even worse is the penalties AGAINST ! 40 penalties MORE. We have now moved into the crazy realm of actually having over 20 % more penalties AGAINST than FOR.

    Or put another way our penalties FOR per match dropped by approximately 30% and our penalties AGAINST increased by about 70%. Again that is simply ridiculous.

    But 7 seasons before and 11 seasons after what you may ask. BEFORE and AFTER the appointment of MIKE RILEY at the head of the PGMOL that’s what.

    Those statistics are damming. They are damming enough for how poorly we are treated overall for penalty decisions, but more than that they are truly damming as to how that corrupt cheating b*****d Riley has screwed us every inch of the way, starting with that shameful performance at Old Trafford.

    An Arsenal fan denying this by picking out 2 random seasons in an attempt to somehow disguise this farce is actually pretty sad, and is in fact part of the reason that cheating **** has been able to get away with what he has.

  9. “I too know nitram” says “an arsenal fan denying this by picking out 2 random (why they are random but picking on Leicester is systematic is beyond me, I guess that’s why you’re the resident itk of untold though, the 2nd coming of proudkev) seasonsin an attempt to somehow disguise this farce(good job, mind reader) is pretty sad”
    It’s just a simple issue. It’s me saying There were seasons we got the most penalties and nobody insinuated we were in bed with the refs, it thus doesn’t bother me when Leicester tops the penalty charts too, someone has to. I notice when we fail some people are quick to say “the authorities failed us”, but when we succeed, the same don’t ever say “the authorities helped us to succeed”. It’s always we won the fa cup, or the EPL. But the ref cheated us out of a title or stuff

  10. Arome

    Maybe we was, maybe we wasn’t favoured in those 2 seasons, but that hardly contradicts those statistics covering nearly 20 years does it.

    Not only that but those 2 seasons were pre Riley and that mind blowing shift in percentages that you seem quite happy with.

  11. Placing top of the “penalty awarded” charts on 2 occasions in 15 years is not bad. If we’re looking at only quantitative analysis and not qualitative analysis, that’s more than satisfactory, in fact in a 20 team league probability says that is better than should be expected.
    “Maybe we was favored, maybe we wasn’t”… If we were favored, then let Leicester enjoy their time of favor too, and every other team

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