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July 2021
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West Bromwich v Arsenal: the curious case of home and away

By Bulldog Drummond

Looking at the performance statistics of Arsenal and West Brom we can see that Arsenal tackle less often, commit fewer fouls and have fewer penalties against them than West Bromwich Albion, and yet curiously, West Brom are able to get away with more fouls before they get a yellow.  A curious state of affairs from a club that has recently taken on a curious manager.

Club Tackles Fouls Tackles per foul Yellow cards Fouls per yellow Penalties for Penalties against Lge pos
Arsenal 187 156 1.20 24 6.50 3 1 13
WBA 246 174 1.41 21 8.29 0 4 19

If we compare the home and away scenario we find that we are doing two to three times as well away from home as they are at home.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
18 West Bromwich Albion Home 8 1 2 5 5 20 -15 5
12 Arsenal away 8 3 1 4 7 8 -1 10

Our record, as of course we all know, is hardly one of being a high flyer, and we have still lost more away than we have won, but the goal difference is reducing, to the point of being almost balanced.  West Brom however have a home goal difference of -15.

Indeed West Bromwich at home has been a sorry tale…

Date Match Res Score Competition
13 Sep 2020 West Bromwich Albion v Leicester City L 0-3 Premier League
26 Sep 2020 West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea D 3-3 Premier League
19 Oct 2020 West Bromwich Albion v Burnley D 0-0 Premier League
8 Nov 2020 West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hots L 0-1 Premier League
28 Nov 2020 West Bromwich Albion v Sheffield United W 1-0 Premier League
6 Dec 2020 West Bromwich Albion v Crystal Palace L 1-5 Premier League
20 Dec 2020 West Bromwich Albion v Aston Villa L 0-3 Premier League
29 Dec 2020 West Bromwich Albion v Leeds United L 0-5 Premier League

Now however that the club has Enlarged Sam as the manager we can expect every trick in the book and quite a few that are not in the book, being employed in the match against Arsenal.

Several of our younger players won’t really know what to expect with the Larger Sam in charge although a quick review of his time as England manager and why he was removed after one game gives an indication.  It was of course the Allerdyce person who invented rotational fouling as a technique for by-passing referees attempts to cut down on fouling by away teams (a phrase incidentally we invented but which has slowly been picked up by others).

As for the broader picture this table shows how the balance between home and away teams is going across the league this season.

Played Away wins Draws Home wins
Games 155 59 39 57
Result  percentages 100% 38% 25% 37%
2018/19 100% 35% 24% 41%

Home wins are still down by 4% and away wins are still the most common result in the league this season.

As noted before this is not something that the media like to mention, because the research from London School of Economics, one of the constituent schools of the University of London, shows that referees are influenced by the home crowd, thus resulting in home bias, which in turn leads to an advantage being given to home teams.  These statistics are the revelation that has scuppered PGMO once and for all .

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So even though the home/away bias has now evened up, WBA are still doing very badly at home.  The one team they have beaten are the team who are below them in the league.

We’ve played them 141 times, winning 72, or 51%.   They have beaten us 38 times which is 27% of the games.

Across the last ten years there have been 16 games of which West Brom have won two (both on their own territory), there have been three draws (again all of them on their own ground) and 11 have been Arsenal victories (which means all the games played at Arsenal stadium, plus two in the West Midlands, one in 2015 and one in 2017.

Date Game Res Score Competition
19 Mar 2011 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal D 2-2 Premier League
13 May 2012 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal L 2-3 Premier League
06 Apr 2013 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal L 1-2 Premier League
25 Sep 2013 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal L 1-1 League Cup
06 Oct 2013 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
29 Nov 2014 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal L 0-1 Premier League
21 Nov 2015 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal W 2-1 Premier League
18 Mar 2017 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal W 3-1 Premier League
31 Dec 2017 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League

As for this season the one league game WBA have won at home was a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United.

But the key issue for Arsenal is easy to see by looking at WBA’s last few games

Date Game Res Score Competition
15 Dec 2020 Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion D 1-1 Premier League
20 Dec 2020 West Bromwich Albion v Aston Villa L 0-3 Premier League
27 Dec 2020 Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion D 1-1 Premier League
29 Dec 2020 West Bromwich Albion v Leeds United L 0-5 Premier League

They must have pulled some rabbits out of hats for the 1-1 draws with Liverpool, and WBA, but then forgotten everything to lose so badly against Villa and Leeds.

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