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Arsenal v Aston Villa: how this referee sees each team: injuries, fouls, tackles, cards

By Bulldog Drummond

On the injury front nothing has changed from what we knew after the last match – Saka was violently assaulted and the referee issued merely a yellow card.  Villa, whose style of play may be seen as somewhat more rumbustious than Arsenal’s have five men out. 

Xhaka of course remains out as he will do for some weeks yet.  How long Saka is out for is not yet clear but there is no sign he’ll be ready for Friday’s game.

Villa’s five men down are Traore, Cash, Davis, Bailey and Hassan.  Cash and Bailey are listed as having a 50% chance of making the game.

Despite the tragedy of Saka, Arsenal however are still at the foot of the injury table along with Tottenham.  Leicester City are at the top of the injury league with six men out.

Tackles fouls and yellow cards

In terms of our regular look at tackles, fouls and yellow cards the tackles table shows us sitting in 17th with 119 tackles.  This confirms that the new defenders are learning the new approach to the game that Arteta demands.  Aston Villa are 19th with 103.

Club Tackles  Fouls Yellow Tackles/Foul Tackles/yellow Fouls/yellow
Arsenal 119 66 11 1.80 10.82 6.00
Aston Villa 103 89 17 1.15 6.05 5.23

The table shows that both of these clubs are working on keeping the tackling down.  Top of the tackling table is Brighton on 159 and bottom are Manchester United on 99 – Man U having resolutely changed their approach this season, and it looks like they are not moving from that position, no matter how the results go.

But the main point is that Villa get a foul given against them for every 1.15 tackles as opposed to Arsenal on 1.80 – so the numbers are on our side.   And quite reasonably (although this is often not the case) Aston Villa therefore get yellow cards more often.    That they only get yellow cards for fouls slightly more often than Arsenal is undoubtedly down to the psychology of the referees – they don’t like giving out more and more yellow cards even when clubs keep on fouling.

However overall the figures are in our favour.

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The referee

Onto the referee: it is Chris Kavanagh.  He took three games of Arsenal last season and vied with Michael Oliver, Andrew Marriner and of course Mike Dean to see who could give the most fouls against Arsenal – and indeed the most yellow cards.  Here are the comparative figures for the referees who handled three games or more.

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

Arsenal are currently running at 8.25 fouls per game – three fouls less than Kavanagh awarded against us on average last season.  It will be interesting to see if he responds to Arsenal’s overall statistics or thinks “this is Arsenal, let’s find some fouls”, which is what he has done before.  We can also expect one or two yellow cards simply because that’s what he does.

Thus Kavanagh doesn’t seem to like Arsenal very much, having a propensity for handing out the cards.  And this despite only having taken one more Arsenal home game than Villa away we are running at double the number of cards.

Games Matches W D L Yellow  Red
Aston Villa away 4 0 1 3 4
Arsenal home 5 4 1 0 7 1

Normally speaking clubs earn more cards away from home than at home – partially because they defend deeper and partially because of the influence of the crowd (as revealed of course by the LSE research we reported last season.  

Further reading…

Crowdless stadia stats reveal fallacy of PGMO claims

Proving unconscious bias by referees

How clubs manipulate referees through their tactics

Referees are not 98% accurate but only 75% accurate

The proof that all is not well with footbal refereeing.

6 comments to Arsenal v Aston Villa: how this referee sees each team: injuries, fouls, tackles, cards

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