Expect a foul to be given against Arsenal before Norwich kick off this weekend

by Bulldog Drummond

Arsenal have been handed a situation worse than having the whole first team injured for this weekend’s game with bottom of the league Norwich.

For the referee they have been given is the man who handed out more fouls per game against Arsenal players than any other referee last season.   And on VAR duty they have  the referee who handed out more yellow cards in one game against Arsenal than any other referee.  For PGMO it’s a perfect situation.  For Arsenal the perfect storm.

Of course, the media that always ignores refereeing issues, will ignore this one.  And yes of course it could all just be a coincidence, but even by the PGMOs insane rules of allowing Oliver to take control of 13% of Arsenal’s games last season (over two and a half times the number he would be allowed to oversee of any one club in other major European leagues) this is utterly bonkers.

For associating with him is Dean who last season gave 12 fouls against Arsenal in ONE GAME – more than any other referee – is just pure bias. And that was in a season in which Arsenal reduced the fouls given against them by referees, by more than any other club.

Having these two running the show is undoubtedly to counter Arsenal’s tactics of defeating PGMO last season in which Arsenal managed to cut their yellow card total by a staggering 45% by adjusting their play to suit the whims of the referees.

What is worrying PGMO and those who pull their strings is that when Arsenal have their new defence trained in the way of referees, Arsenal will reduce their tackling still further.  At the moment the referees have managed to give more fouls against Arsenal per match than last season because the new players are still adjusting. 

The highest and lowest changers over the previous season are indicated in bold.

Team Tackles 2020/1 +/- Fouls 2020/1 +/- Yellow 2020/1 +/-
Arsenal 456 -22% 345 -18% 47 -45%
Aston Villa 530 +1% 439 -3% 63 -7%
Brighton & HA 628 -2% 427 +10% 46 -19%
Burnley 507 -7% 384 -7% 48 -28%
Chelsea 612 -4% 433 +12% 50 -17%
Crystal Palace 636 -7% 409 -4% 54 -13%
Everton 640 -5% 386 -18% 59 -16%
Leicester City 681 -8% 416 0% 61 +49%
Liverpool 526 -4% 396 +19% 40 +5%
Manchester C 498 -3% 361 0% 46 -23%
Manchester U 551 -5% 452 +4% 64 -12%
Newcastle U 512 -17% 388 +5% 61 -8%
Sheffield United 634 +4% 459 +12% 73 +20%
Southampton 727 +3% 426 -5% 52 0%
Tottenham Hot 636 -4% 439 +4% 53 -35%
West Ham U 514 -26% 374 -3% 48 -23%
Wolverhampton 588 -9% 425 +5% 53 -7%

The findings of our research into referee behaviour have of course been ignored everywhere else, but I think they gave quite an insight into what was happening last season.

Referee Games Fouls awarded against Arsenal per game Yellow cards against Arsenal per game
1.Michael Oliver 5 11.60 1.40
2.Martin Atkinson 4 7.75 1.00
3.Chris Kavanagh 3 11.33 1.67
4.Craig Pawson 3 9.33 2.33
5.Andre Marriner 3 10.67 1.67
6.Paul Tierney 2 8.00 1.00
7.Anthony Taylor 1 8.00 0.00
8.Jonathan Moss 1 11.00 2.00
9.Kevin Friend 1 6.00 2.00
10.Graham Scott 1 5.00 2.00
11.David Coote 1 9.00 0.00
12.Stuart Attwell 1 8.00 0.00
13.Lee Mason 1 3.00 0.00
14.Mike Dean 1 12.00 3.00
Average 1.24 cards per game

Thus we can see, every time we get a referee with a yellow cards per Arsenal game of over 1.24 we are being given a referee who is above average in his approach to Arsenal.  This includes four of the five referees who we got three times or more.

Put another way: the more yellows you give Arsenal the more likely you are to get another Arsenal match.

The exception is Mike Dean – which is understandable.  He is now 53 years old!

We can also take a look at how tackles and fouls have changed this season.  Arsenal are 19th in the league table measuring the number of tackles.  Manchester United who are following our tactical revolution of last season are 20th in the league measured by the number of tackles.

Club Tackles per game 2021/2 Tackles per game 2020/1 Up or down Fouls per game 2021/2 Fouls per game 2020/1 Up or down
Chelsea 19.33 16.10 +3.23 7.67 9.92 -2.25
West Ham 18.00 13.52 +4.48 8.67 9.66 -0.99
Tottenham 17.30 16.73 +0.57 8.67 11.55 -2.88
Liverpool 15.33 13.8 +1.53 11.00 10.42 +0.58
Leicester C 15.00 17.92 -2.92 7.67 10.95 -3.28
Man City 14.66 13.1 +1.56 8.67 9.50 -0.83
Arsenal 12.67 12.00 +0.67 8.33 9.08 -0.75
Man Utd 11.00 14.50 -3.50 10.00 11.89 -1.89

Thus Manchester United are engaged in a tactical revolution of their own, just as Arsenal were last season.  

Already however Arsenal tackles these are producing fewer fouls per game.  The big trouble for Arsenal however is that referees have a much greater tendency to see an Arsenal fouls as a yellow card offence than they do for most other clubs.  That now has to be addressed with more training for the young defenders.

In the meanwhile, it appears that in the psyche of PGMO, Arsenal is classified as a dirty side, and thus each foul is considered as a potential yellow.   Liverpool at the other extreme is seen as a clean side, and so fouls are not considered to be worthy of a yellow.

Thus this season, Liverpool has one yellow card, Arsenal five, Tottenham nine.

I don’t think Tottenham’s new manager has got the hang of what goes on with PGMO – and there’s no reason why he should coming as he did from a smaller club that referees would not particularly bother with.  But he is going to wake up soon to wonder how his side can be getting this many yellows already.

With Arsenal the issue is different: we’ve got a new defence and they are still being drilled in the art of not tackling.  That, in particular is why we have changed the defence around, despite having the third best defence in the league last season.  The aim is to take the no tackling project even further.

5 Replies to “Expect a foul to be given against Arsenal before Norwich kick off this weekend”

  1. Did you know /

    If Arsenal ever gets relegated , Everton become the next longest serving club in the top league ? Arsenal have been in the top league( Most deservedly!) since 1919.

    If Arsenal ever gets relegated they would become the third club to have won and got relegated from the Premier League ? After Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers.

    If Arsenal ever gets relegated they will be the only second club in the last two centuries to have done the double and get relegated.Arsenal have thrice won the double( 1970-71; 1999-98 and 2001-02).The previous record is being currently held by Tottenham Hotspurs (1960-61).

    From ‘Fun ,facts,figures and figments’ , courtesy of –
    Brickfields Gunners Blog
    ( Soon launching !)

  2. I’ve compared Xhaka’s foul and Pogba’s foul. One was both foot off the ground but one foot connecting to the opponent and the other, oh well, literally a leg breaker. One got a harsh red card and the other, no foul and lead to the winning goal. No pundits talks about this. I’ve noticed the ex-Liverpool and Man Utd players treat Arsenal worse than the referees.

  3. Michael Ram – you are comparing with open eyes. Close the eyes stop the thought process and then you will understand how PGMOL works. The ManU slope is specially created by Ferguson. He has table legs for the PGMOL to sit on.

    I’m at the game tomorrow so I don’t want to get my BP up.

    Brickfields – the Spuds are like an elephant up a tree. No one knows how it got there but it is sure to fall off (would be soooooo good if the PGMOL were underneath).

  4. I would just luv to see Mike Dean trying to catch them Spuds as they fall off trees ! Will put paid to his celebratory dancing antics !
    Am looking forwards to our first points of the season. 40 of them and we would be safe!
    Up the Gunners !

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