The key tactical issue that Arsenal must observe in the game v Burnley

By Bulldog Drummond

Prior to, and after the Leicester game the figures for Arsenal in relation to tackles, fouls and yellow cards looked very promising as it showed that Arsenal were following a key strategy.  The management have now fully realised that Arsenal winning is not primarily about how Arsenal play, but about how Arsenal play in relation to the way in which the PGMO referee wishes to manage them on the pitch.  The figures in this table also include Burnley the last line of the table so that comparisons can be made.  It is interesting also that Burnley has played one more game than Arsenal, which doesn’t affect the ratios but is interesting when the see they have fewer yellow cards against them than we have.  Weclome to the world of PGMO.

Club Tackles Fouls Tackles per foul Yellow cards Fouls per yellow
Arsenal pre-Leicester 291 233 1.25 36 6.47
Arsenal in Leicester game 9 3 3.00 1 3.00
Arsenal today 300 236 1.27 37 6.38
Burnley today 359 296 1.21 34 8.71

The key pointer comes in the far right column.  Burnley are able to commit 8.71 fouls before getting a yellow card, while Arsenal can only get away with 6.38 fouls.   Each of Burnley’s tackles is slightly more likely to get a foul, but LESS likely to get a yellow card.

But although Arsenal’s fouls per yellow card in the Leicester game was 3.00 this was primarily because Arsenal got their fouls down to three within that game.  The referee obviously thought he could not let a whole game go by without Arsenal getting a yellow, so he dished one out.  Three tackles, one yellow card!

Both teams tackle much the same amount – Burnley’s number is higher in part because they have played 27 games to Arsenal’s 26.  But the key difference is that they get fewer cards and so know that they can get away with more.

Arsenal must continue to be cautious and not be drawn in to tackling and fouling by Burnley’s apparent ability to get away with it.   This is the key fact:

Burnley commit more tackles, and more fouls, but get fewer yellow cards. 

That’s what Arsenal must remember.

Club Tackles Fouls Yellow cards Fouls per yellow
Arsenal pre-Leicester 291 233 36 6.47
Arsenal in Leicester game 9 3 1 3.00
Arsenal today 300 236 37 6.38
Burnley today 359 296 34 8.71

Arsenal could also do with getting more shots on target even though we are above Burnley

Club Shots Shot on target % on target
Arsenal 305 102 33.44%
Burnley 248 82 33.06%

We are undoubtedly improving because of the return to the forward line and to form of Aubameyang, and this is to be welcomed.  We are also benefitting by the fact that the younger players are getting more and more used to playing in this team with each game that goes by. 

But we must notice that shots on target is not a prime indicator of success (which is why we don’t normally bother with it).    After all, Liverpool are the second highest performing club in terms of shots on target, but it is clearly not working for them as they are seventh in the league, (although they are of course doing better than Arsenal).

Burnley’s lack of adventurousness can also be shown by the fact that they have only been awarded one penalty this season.  Arsenal have had five in the league, half that of the notorious Leicester City – although Leicester are still stuck on ten since we revealed exactly how they go about getting penalties (through having Vardy run suddenly in an unexpected direction and thus get clattered by a retreating defender).

So, we can see that referees are much more reluctant to hand out yellow cards to Burnley than they are to Arsenal, and Arsenal must remember this.  The discipline that has been built up of late should continue – indeed it must continue, because this is the tactic that Burnley rely on.

The will have fewer shots, they will have fewer shots on target, they will tackle more and they will foul more, but amazingly they will end up with fewer yellow cards.

If Arsenal are continuing in the policy that I believe we saw in recent games, they will not be tempted into tackles, because they know they will get punished far more readily than Burnley.


One Reply to “The key tactical issue that Arsenal must observe in the game v Burnley”

  1. It is so ironic and even laughable to see how shitty afraid the so cold pundits are most of the time when in came in predicting the outcome of Arsenal features.This shitty team ,,,, oh man!

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