Arsenal v Fulham: how the stats line up

By Bulldog Drummond

Here are the key statistics for the forthcoming game

Event Arsenal Fulham
Passes per match 520 466
Pass accuracy 84% 81%
Crosses 605 590
Cross accuracy 20% 24%
Tackles 375* 486
Fouls 150 219
Yellow cards 42 56
Tackles per foul 2.38 2.22
Fouls per yellow card 3.57 3.91

*Lowest in the league – see note below

Fulham's crest since 2000As we can see, Arsenal are much more likely to pass than Fulham, and have a slightly higher pass accuracy.

On crosses we do slightly more but perhaps surprisingly, Fulham are more accurate at crossing than we are.

We tackle considerably less than Fulham – and in fact we tackle less than any other club in the Premier League.  And there is a very good reason for this.  Because when we were tackling more we were getting penalised consistently by the referees.  Reducing the tackling level was the only way for the club to keep its players on the itch.

Because of this reduction in tackling you can see the much lower fouling rate that we have than Fulham.  In 31 games we have committed (according to the referees) 150 fouls or 4.84 fouls per game.  Fulham have played 32 games and have committed 6.84 fouls per game – so we can see the tactic has worked.

Arsenal are 13th in the table of clubs measured by yellow cards against the club.  Fulham are second.  Again had Arsenal not adopted the new tactic of abandoning tackling as far as possible, our yellow card list would be off the charts.

But the fact is that even Fulham can commit more fouls than we can before getting a yellow card.

The BBC website gives us a prediction of a 2-0 Arsenal win and their justification for this (after we have beaten Fulham by 5-1, 4-1 and 3-0 in the last three games is that Arsenal have “never beaten the same opponent by at least three goals in four consecutive top-flight league games.”

But records are only there to be broken.

Following the same line of thought the BBC note that “Fulham are on a run of six successive defeats against Arsenal. They have only had longer top-flight losing streaks versus Manchester City (nine, 2012 to date) and Manchester United (eight, 2005-09).”

But what is working against us is that we have struggled this season to do back to back wins in the league.  We did it in September (against Fulham and West Ham), and then hit a really enjoyable treble beating Chelsea 3-1, Brighton 1-0 and WBA 4-0 at the turn of the year.  Since then no back to back league wins.  Clearly it is time to re-establish ourselves.

We are also getting horribly close to the very unwelcome record of 13 defeats in a 38 match Premier League season.  We did it in 2017/18, and have never had more.

As for losing at home, we are already well into a record run – the last time we had nine defeats at home (we have had eight so far) was 1929/30 – although to be fair that was a) under Herbert Chapman and b) the season before we broke the points record for any club in winning the league for the very first time. So maybe it is not so bad.

Yet another negative record on the horizon is failure to score in matches.  11 times so far.  We have never done worse than that in a 38 game season.

Thankfully we meet Fulham at a time when they have lost four league games in a row, and haven’t won a London derby in the last 22 attempts which takes them back to 2014.

So we might have a few dodgy records on the horizon.  But so do Fulham.

Up next, suggestions as to who might play, and similar stuff of that nature.

The proof that something is seriously wrong with football refereeing and reporting

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