Edu has done a brilliant job in handling the “25”, and apologies to him are needed

By Tony Attwood

The great fear that I personally had for this window was that Mr Arteta would repeat his unwelcome trick of dropping players from the squad, without arranging a loan or a transfer for them.  But rough and ready calculations by Untold (always notoriously unreliable when it comes to sorting out the 25 and taking into account players’ dates of birth), makes it look as if we are ok.

The Foreign Grown group looks to me like being this set of players, working from back to front.

  1. Bernd Leno
  2. Kieran Tierney
  3. Gabriel
  4. Cedric Soares
  5. Takehiro Tomiyasu
  6. Pablo Mari
  7. Sead Kolasinac
  8. Thomas Partey
  9. Martin Odegaard
  10. Albert Smabi Logonga
  11. Mo Elneny
  12. Granit Xhaka
  13. Alex Lacazette
  14. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
  15. Nicolas Pepe

The home growners then are

  1. Aaron Ramsdale
  2. Ben White
  3. Rob Holding
  4. Calum Chambers
  5. Ainsley Maitland-Niles
  6. Eddie Nketiah

Which gives us a 25 man squad of… just 21!!!

Those who are not listed because they are mere youngsters are

  1. Arthur Okonkwo
  2. Nuno Tavares
  3. Emile Smith Rowe
  4. Bykayo Saka
  5. Folorin Balogun
  6. Gabriel Martinelli

What this means is that we have plenty of room in the future for the members of young brigade who make it into the main squad at the age of 21.

Now this is interesting because of the vast amount of negative publicity that has been hurled at Edu day by day, week by week.  Let’s just pause for a while and appreciate what Edu and Arteta have done between them.

First, we have held on to all of our great talent except Joe Willock.  There was room for him in the squad, but it rather looks like he wanted to have first team football now, having made such an impact on Newcastle.  He might be feeling he is glad he is not part of the massacre of Arsenal by the media, but the local press in Newcastle are not feeling that happy:

Date Match Res Score Competition
15 Aug 2021 Newcastle United v West Ham United L 2-4 Premier League
21 Aug 2021 Aston Villa v Newcastle United L 2-0 Premier League
25 Aug 2021 Newcastle United v Burnley L 0-0 (3-4) League Cup
28 Aug 2021 Newcastle United v Southampton D 2-2 Premier League

He hasn’t scored this season either.

Second, although you’ll only have read about it on Untold, last season Mr Arteta changed our tactics totally, in order to get rid of tackling.  This took place to reduce the yellow card level which was crippling the team’s performance previously.

This was successful, but it is a way of defending that needs to be drilled into the back line and as we saw last season with the poor run that took us down to 15th in the league, it takes some getting right.  Here are the transfers…

Players Club Transfer sum Position
£52.65m Centre back
£31.50m Attacking midfield
£25.20m Goal
£16.74m Centre back
£15.75m Central midfield
£7.20m Left back

So assuming that we are carrying on with the “no tackling” approach we have got to train White, Tomiyasu and Lokonga in this way of understanding that we are playing not 11 players, but 11 plus a referee.

We can see why from this table which looks at tackles, fouls and yellow cards per game this season.

Club Tackles Fouls Yellows Tackle/foul Tackle/yellow Foul/yellow
Arsenal 12.67 8.33 1.67 1.52 7,58 4.98
Chelsea 19.33 7.67 0.66 2.52 29.28 11.62
Liverpool 15.33 11 0.33 1.39 46.45 33.33
Manchester C. 14.66 8.66 1.00 1.69 14.66 8.66
Manchester Utd 11.00 10.00 2.66 1.10 4.13 3.75
Tottenham H. 17.3 8.67 3.00 1.96 5.77 2.89

These are of course early days but the variance is frightening.   Chelsea can put in twice as many tackles as Manchester United before getting a foul called, which is why Manchester United have reduced their tackling to a level below Arsenal.

Likewise Chelsea and Liverpool, and to a lesser extent Manchester City can just go on tackling and tackling without worrying about yellow cards.  They hardly ever happen.

When it comes to the relationship between fouls and yellow cards we can see the numbers across these first three games reach insane proportions.  Chelsea can commit over 11 fouls before getting a yellow card while Liverpool have total carte blanche on fouling.

Thus from the traditional top six clubs we now have two groups: Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool who can tackle as much as they like without fear of being picked up by a referee, on the one hand.  And then on the other Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal whose players can hardly get near the opposition before a foul is called.

Last season, as we have noted, it took a third of the games before Arsenal could get this sorted.  We need it to take less than that this time – but we are going to be hampered by having so many new players in the defence, for whom the notion of playing without tackling, in order to defeat the PGMO, comes before ways of defeating the opposition.

Refereeing Updates

28 Replies to “Edu has done a brilliant job in handling the “25”, and apologies to him are needed”

  1. Though I enjoy your articles there is an obsession with the relationship between tackles, fouls and yellow cards that doesn’t necessarily stack up regardless of statistics.
    You seem to ignore the fact that successful tackling is an art in itself & that it is reasonable to assume that not only are some players naturally better at it than others but that also the less a player performs tackles, the less the likelihood that they’ll improve in that skill & the greater the likelihood that when they do tackle they’ll commit a foul warranting a yellow card.

  2. A spurs fan pointed out to me today that we have lost to the 2 champions League finalists and had an away match to a team playing their first home game in the top flight for 73 years. They was always going to be tough matches, but we also had to do that with a covid ravaged squad and a few injuries to boot.

    Since the last kick of the game last season Edu has managed to get 32 players off the wage bill by either releasing, sales, loans or loan returns. Along with ozils wages now off the books the wages saved are over £2.5m per week.

    He has brought in just 6 first team playeres and 1 for the under 23s. Ok a large amount has been spent but let’s be honest when you reduce your squad by 32 players you are going to need to spend some money. England players do not come cheap and neither do full internationals like odegaard and Tokeshimu. Lokonga was recommended by Thierry Henry and Roberto Martinez, whilst Tavares was also highly recommended. Our next 5 matches include Norwich, Burnley, Brighton and Palace, plus those high flying neighbours who have managed three 1-0 wins.

    I will judge the signings and Arteta after the Palace match. If we have taken 12 points including beating them and made it through to the 4th round of the Carabao things will feel very different.

  3. Well said Ukesox. Even fouls to yellow cards doesn’t automatically stack up. They may be more clever minor fouls that break up play but don’t merit a yelllow card. A good coach will teach this to players. So I don’t think the article rings true entirely.

    Also your habit of prefixing Mr to names, while technically correct, comes across as pretentious. Maybe it’s just me who finds it so.

  4. I kinda agree with this comment. It’s not always apples to apples. Xhaka tackles are mostly fouls, and often cards – rightly so.

    It’s not a 1-1 correlation, but it is interesting that the stats are so different between teams – theres something to the analysis, for sure.

  5. In this world of sin and woe (to quote Churchill), we may end up with Edu and Arteta gone and their work surviving to make a new regime look good. There are now a number of young players in the squad with big upsides, room for them to remain there into the future, and the prospect of getting something for any we let go.

    Interesting point made by Ukesox. Perhaps that can be checked by comparing some individual players’ statistics with AFC and with their previous clubs.

    In any case, for me the season begins in ten days, and my optimism is rising. Perhaps the club can turn the stupid video program into an epic story of recovery and success.

  6. @Ukesox,

    kind of saying that in the end it all evens out ? Untold has proven for years that it does not. Then, if what you say is right, it means that basically any footballer coming to Arsenal has poor tackling skills, but any going to Chelsea or Liverpool are tackle artists…and if they move to Arsenal, I guess the Emirates maybe has some magnetic fields making any player lose his previous knowledge of tackling ? Or maybe it is Colney ? Or the food the players get served ?

    The advantage of numbers is that they are ‘neutral’. They don’t have an opinion. And if you really believe that Liverpool players are so clean. talented, extraterestrial in defending that they get only one yellow for 33.33 fouls…which is TEN times less then Manure who get 1 yellow for 3.75 fouls or more then 10 times then Sp*rs who are even ‘better’ served with one yellow for 2.89 fouls ? I mean, seriously ?!? This just does not add-up. Maybe the opposing teams’ players are Oscar level actors ? Maybe they played while sick ? Are out of shape ? But TEN times ? What other parameters can we look at ? The football ? The grass ? The crowds ? Oh yes, there is that guy in black or blue or whatever colour who has the advantage of doing an important job with absolutely and visibly no consequences for not doing it right – in terms of the game. Then, on the other side, maybe he is effectively applying instructions and doing a great job…wonder how many people have made a fortune betting based on the referee and the teams playing, not on the actual strength of the teams. Does Fantasy Football include some algorithm to simulate the different refereeing in the PL ?

    And how about the fact that Arsenal systematically get some referees multiple times during a season – the only such team in whole of Europe for God’s sake. The argument that they would field the best of the crop because of the importance of the games may have been acceptable at a time when Arsenal were top of the league. Now it just cannot be used. So please, tell my why ? And tell me that this does NOT have an effect on results, and on the ‘in the end it evens out’ argument..

    This all does NOT mean Arsenal lost their games because of the referees, IMHO, and at Untold nobody thinks that this early in the season. But during a game, it adds to the effort Arsenal must produce to get a result any other team would easily get. And it makes it easy to break the team.

    Can you remember any team in the PL (or Europe) that had a wrong player red carded ? And a referee who would not listen ?

    Then again, maybe Mr Edu and Mr Arteta are totally incapable of recognising if a player can tackle, and to find the adapted coaching technique to each them what apparently all previous coaches from childhood teams visibly failed to do. But then, you need to start talking about Manure and Sp*rs as well, and most probably Mr Guardiloa himslef because 5 times more fouls as Liverpool is a serious issue is it not ?


    I think FIFA needs to take a serious look at referees in charge of Switzerland. Because visibly Xhaka is left totally unhindered of mauling players of any international team playing Switzerland and maybe this is why Switzerland have become a much better team in the past years. His record in the national team maybe points out to the fact that there are 2 twins in fact and one plays for Arsenal, the other for the Nati ? Or maybe the air out of North London is really different and he recovers his abilities.

  7. Arsenal did a very poor job of raising revenue from the squad. They sold only one player and made four other deals where they are guaranteed to get a fee at the end of the season .Several players like Bellerin will return and have very little value in the closing year or years of their contract . Chelsea sold Tomori for £30 m, Guehi to Palace for £20 m, United sold James to Leeds for £30 m.
    We could not sell Nketiah who will leave for nothing next year , Balogun’s progress is blocked and he will become frustrated and we are lumbered with paying the awful Kolasinac and keeping Soares who are not at the requisite level for Arsenal .
    The purchases are interesting and there is a strategy if people are patient but the huge mistake was not replacing Xhaka who limits our midfield in terms of pace and mobility .

  8. Chris
    Liverpool should have had at least two players yellow carded in their last game v Chelsea.
    First Salah who thought he should have had a foul given for him and then displayed angry dissent at linesman and ref before kicking the ball away.
    Fabhino for countless fouls, including three tackles all worse than the single one Soares got a yellow for in the Arsenal match v Man City.

  9. By the way, Xhaka not playing for Switzerland tonight. Word is he tested positive for Covid-19.

  10. mick

    I pointed the Sala one out on here the moment it happened.

    The thing is when things like that happen they strengthen our argument about different teams being treated in different ways because that’s not even a subjective decision. That is an instant yellow. No ifs, no buts. It happened right under the referees nose so he can’t say he didn’t see it.

    So the question is WHY didn’t he book him.

    The time of day? He was in a good mood? The weather?

    No? But it must of been something.

    Hmmmm. Let me think. Couldn’t be anything to do with what team he plays for could it? That and of course he knew he wouldn’t get endless criticism from the commentators or pundits. Yes it might get a passing comment but no more.

    Can you imagine Xhaka getting away with that? And if he did can you imagine the endless whinging about how he ‘got away with one’

    Teams are playing to different rules depending who they are and it’s a joke.

  11. Bertie Mee, you are not taking any account of the fact that this was a shrinking market in terms of expenditure by clubs, and there were a lot of clubs out there who were trying to off load players. Although I didn’t collect data on it I got the feeling that a lot of clubs from Spain and Italy were offering players from their squads at very low prices, simply to keep going economically.

  12. Kolasinac was mowed down in the game against France. Red card to the french player.
    kolasinac, if I got the report right had to be replaced.

  13. @ Chris

    I can’t see how my comments could possibly be interpreted as anything to do with“…in the end it evens itself out”. what I’m saying is that the suggested relationship between tackles, fouls and yellow cards is tenuous & that maybe theres a simpler, less conspiratorial reason, that Arsenal players just aren’t great tacklers. Nothing to do with magnetism or food. Like any other skill, to get good you need to practice.
    Likewise the much repeated suggestion that Arsenals greatly reduced ratio of fouls after Xmas last year came about because Arteta believed that the referees were penalising Arsenal players disproportionately. If it’s based on figures alone (rather than an inside line to the man himself) its equally likely that his instructions to cut down on tackles was because he realised that most of the players weren’t very good at tackling & that as a result they were conceding to many free kicks in dangerous areas.
    Yes numbers are “neutral” but can be conveniently used to support an idea, but that doesn’t mean that the idea is right.

  14. Certainly the point can be made ”Yes numbers are “neutral” but can be conveniently used to support an idea, but that doesn’t mean that the idea is right,’ but run this alongside
    ..”Likewise the much repeated suggestion that Arsenals greatly reduced ratio of fouls after Xmas last year came about because Arteta believed that the referees were penalising Arsenal players disproportionately” and it hits you in the face that, as a player, Mikkel Arteta first played at Everton, in the PGMO heartland, where the PGMO referees just have to go out in the morning to a cafe for breakfast to know they’re playing at home, and he then played at Arsenal, where he would never get to see a referee from London in a month of Sundays and yet still got PGMO refs.

    He had a front row seat, the bruises on his body, from the disproportionate application of the same rules of football. That as a reality is a measurement of the terms and conditions of his job as a footballer. Does he refuse to believe this, or does he take it on board and act on it?

  15. David Luiz at Chelsea in the Premier League

    Played 160 Yellow 35 Red 1

    David Luiz at Arsenal in the Premier League

    Played 53 Yellow 6 Red 3

    So he received less cards at Arsenal, but his fouls were worse.

    He wasn’t a dirty player, but received Red Cards at Arsenal at 9 times the rate he received them at Chelsea.

    Why do so many people come to this site to support the referees?

    Are they even Arsenal supporters?

  16. David Luiz was last sent off for using magic magnetic force to knock over an opponent without touching him.

  17. PART ONE

    I realise some of the posters that are fairly new to this site may not realise just how long we have been doing these fouls/cards/yellows/reds/penalty ratios, and to what depth, but to give them an idea I’m going to give them just 2 of the many articles that have dug deeply into this phenomenon over the years. The first one is from as far back as October 2014.

    I will post the 2nd link on another post as 2 links goes into moderation.

  18. PART TWO

    And this article is from February 2017:

    These are just 2 of many articles and many many comments, loaded with facts and figures that show, without any fear of contradiction, that we are, and have been for many years, treated in the main far more harshly than anyone else.

    Yes it is true that we have had short periods where it seems to of improved but that never lasts. And yes other teams do have periods where it seems they are being harshly treated. One such team was Chelsea who went through an Autumn when Mourinho was in charge and Drogba up front that saw them go through a period when they seemed to be getting very little from the referees. But a quick whinge up from the Special one followed by support in the tabloids, especially from Martin Samuel, and the penalties started to flow again. The referees got the message.

    But these articles and the statistics within are damming.

    Trying to claim that 100’s of players under what is now 3 different managers, and numerous coaches, over 10 years plus, are all incapable of tackling with equal competence to everyone else is an argument that is simply unsustainable.

    Not only that but there is a distinct and irrefutable link between when our statistics plummeted and Mike Riley took charge at the PGMO.

  19. The arguements on cards to fouls ratios and stats are all secondary to the real blight in this game. That blight is unfair officiating. I would not say inconsistent as these select cheats are consistent in their bias against Arsenal.
    The sloping of the pitch by select stoppages and select ‘advantage’ that isn’t, and is more often an excuse to evade a bookable foul that isn’t revisited after the ‘advantage’ has played out.

    Untold has gone into a variety of evidential systems to prove an obvious corrupt organisation called PGMOL. Those who dare interfere with their (PGMOL) graft will immediately get taken before a kangaroo court (The FA) and get fined and banned from doing their jobs. This select group of unelected hippocritical officials that take a knee knowing they represent racism in its worst form.

    The game is not going anywhere but down as long as the PGMOL and FA remain in charge of it.

  20. Menace

    “The arguments on cards to fouls ratios and stats are all secondary to the real blight in this game. That blight is unfair officiating”.

    Indeed the blight on the game is ‘unfair officiating’ but without the evidential statistics produced it is just opinion, and opinion, however qualified or indeed unqualified, is subjective. Yours and my opinion may be that the refs are applying the laws of the game in an imbalanced, unfair way, but to substantiate that claim we need statistics to support it.

    Having directed these sceptics to this evidence (note I say evidence, not proof) I await their counter evidence, and not simply their opinion, in support of their assertions that our conclusions are incorrect.

  21. @ Tony
    A few weeks back you posted a dictionary link for my attention.
    Will you please post it again for me.
    Thank you.

  22. Ukesox

    “…..You seem to ignore the fact that successful tackling is an art in itself & that it is reasonable to assume that not only are some players naturally better at it than others”

    Above I have given you a couple of links to articles that between then show we have been on the wrong end of this refereeing bias since at least season 2007-2008. That’s 14 seasons.

    Yes we may have the odd ‘artless’ tackler, but are you really trying to say that 100’s of players, under dozens of coaches, under 3 managers, are consistently poorer tacklers than everyone else ? Over 14 years ? really?

    Myself, other posters, and Untold itself, have, over the years, put hours and hours of research into this subject, and on the back of that research produced stacks and stacks of statistical evidence in support of our accusation that referees treat us harsher, on average, than everyone else.

    And that’s not just with cards but penalties as well, of which there are also many many articles laden with statistical evidence.

    Now as I say, evidence is not proof. For the case to be proven you need an impartial judge to assess all the evidence put in front of them. We are hardly likely to find an impartial judge to do that are we. But if we did, in the case for the prosecution (us) he would have pages and pages of evidence to look at. In the case for the defence (you) he would have no evidence, not a jot. Just your opinion that “some players naturally better at it (tackling) than others”, and that’s it.

    As it stands, as neither yourself or any one of the others that supported you, has produced one statistic that contradicts what we have uncovered, the conclusion the judge would be bound to make is “case proven as no defence has been offered”.

    You still have time. I wont hold my breath.

  23. Nitram

    Bias is one thing incompetence is another.

    Have a look at the table below

    These stats don’t fact in FA cup matches and bear in mind he was the ref that allowed the goal scored in the FA cup final following what appeared to be the handball by Sanchez and in 5he same game sent off Moses ( which was right ) but also he sent of Kovacic for two yellows in another FC cup final the second card was claimed by most who saw it as being incorrect

    As for the table without context it’s irrelevant

  24. Mike T

    I haven’t looked into cup matches and if you were to look back at my posts over the years you will see I have conceded that for some reason we seemed, I say seemed to be treated with a much more even hand in them.

    I don’t know why.

    But those premier League stats averaged out over nearly 15 years are diabolical, and indisputable, and as such picking out individual games and specific incidents isn’t enough.

    I would never attempt to claim we haven’t had some very poor decisions go in our favour. Within those 15 years there are even seasons that aren’t that bad. Within bad seasons there are decent spells, and even terrible decisions in our favour. That is a fact. But the argument isn’t about individual seasons or incidents, it’s about a consistent and irrefutable statistical refereeing bias (Or incompetence ?) against us over a long period of time.

    Show me years of statistics and maybe you’ll have a point.

  25. Nitram

    You totally misjudge my point

    Those stats are a fact but as I said they are meaningless without context

    Do I think there is any sort of agenda against Chelsea ? No I don’t

    Do I think there is any agenda against Arsenal ? Again no I don’t

    Do I think from time to time you have bad decisions against you ? Yes but nowhere near as many as most on here think.

    Do I think from time to time you have a decisions awarded your way when they shouldn’t have been ? Again yes

    Do I think there is corrupt officials in PGMOL ? I genuinely don’t know but nor do any of those on where that are stating things as being fact.

    Most of you are logical and well balanced so I find it strange that so many of you genuinely believe that somehow PGMOL have somehow singled out Arsenal, and somehow this hush hush plot has been carried forward from an ever changing group.

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