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||+/-|
|Brighton & HA||628||-2%||427||+10%||46||-19%|
|West Ham U||514||-26%||374||-3%||48||-23%|
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|
|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|
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.
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