Southampton v Arsenal: the stats that no one else will publish

By Bulldog Drummond

Southampton: how to tackle more, but give away fewer fouls

And so we approach another match, and thus the statistical data that we have been evolving through this season is once more brought into play.

Here we take the activities within a game which are not revealed by the ordinary league table, and compare them for the two teams.   There is a full chart showing all the statistics that we gather at Premier League full stats table: Arsenal move towards abandoning tackling

Club Tackles Fouls Tackles per foul Yellow cards Fouls per yellow Penalties for Penalties against Lge pos
Highest 346 244 1.98 37 10.22 10 8
Lowest 218 173 1.15 18 4.78 0 1
Arsenal 225 179 1.26 27 6.62 3 1 10
Southampton 346 216 1.60 27 8.00 2 2 9

Southampton are a curious team: one might even think they have an “understanding” with the referees.   They tackle more than any other club in the league, and when it comes to fouls they are nearer the top end of the table than the bottom.

Arsenal are the reverse: hardly any PL side commits fewer tackles and fouls, and yet they have to commit far fewer tackles to get a foul against them, that Southampton.

Which simply means Southampton will enter this game knowing they can assault Arsenal with fouls, but get away with it much more than Arsenal can.  Arsenal absolutely must NOT retaliate.

Although the clubs both have 27 yellow cards, Arsenal get a yellow after 6.62 fouls, while Southampton have to wait until they have committed eight fouls to get a yellow.  Southampton immediately enter the game with a 17% advantage.

On penalties both side are at the lower end of the scale, so a penalty in this game is unlikely.  But overall the refereeing advantage is very much with Southampton.

If we now bring in our other comparison chart Southampton again have the advantage.  Southampton have played nine games at home, and Arsenal nine away.  The difference is that Southampton have won five and lost three, Arsenal have won four and lost four.  Southampton have scored three more but conceded one more.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
4 Southampton home 9 5 1 3 14 9 5 16
9 Arsenal away 9 4 1 4 11 8 3 13

So both in terms of refereeing and in terms of home and away, Southampton have the advantage.

It is only when we look at the matches since the clubs last met (and for reference including that game) that we begin to see a light of hope…

Southampton have played seven games starting with the clubs’ meeting before Christmas

Date Game Res Score Competition
16 Dec 2020 Arsenal v Southampton D 1-1 Premier League
19 Dec 2020 Southampton v Manchester City L 0-1 Premier League
26 Dec 2020 Fulham v Southampton D 0-0 Premier League
29 Dec 2020 Southampton v West Ham United D 0-0 Premier League
4 Jan 2021 Southampton v Liverpool W 1-0 Premier League
16 Jan 2021 Leicester City v Southampton L 2-0 Premier League
19 Jan 2021 Southampton v Shrewsbury Town W 2-0 FA Cup

For Southampton that is 2 wins, 3 draws, 2 defeats.  An equivalent of 1.29 points per game (taking all games as gaining league points).  And one of the games was against Shrewsbury of League One.

Arsenal have played nine games in the same period

Date Game Res Score Competition
16 Dec 2020 Arsenal v Southampton D 1-1 Premier League
19 Dec 2020 Everton v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
22 Dec 2020 Arsenal v Manchester City L 1-4 League Cup
26 Dec 2020 Arsenal v Chelsea W 3-1 Premier League
29 Dec 2020 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal W 0-1 Premier League
2 Jan 2021 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal W 0-4 Premier League
9 Jan 2021 Arsenal v Newcastle United W 2-0 FA Cup
14 Jan 2021 Arsenal v Crystal Palace D 0-0 Premier League
18 Jan 2021 Arsenal v Newcastle United W 3-0 Premier League

That is 5 wins, 2 draws, 2 defeats.  That is 1.88 points per game.  But perhaps most influentially it is the fact of being unbeaten in six, and all the games have been against PL clubs.

So the advantage Southampton have is that they are at home, and they are treated much more leniently by the referees.  Arsenal’s advantage is its recent form.

Indeed if we look at the goals scored and conceded in the last seven games, Southampton have scored four, half of which were against Shrewsbury.  The have conceded three.

Arsenal on the other hand have scored 14 in the last seven, and conceded five.  Take the measure down to the last six games and Arsenal have scored 13 and conceded one.  Southampton have scored thre in the last six games.

More anon…

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