Leicester City v Arsenal: what new trick have Leicester got waiting for us this time?

By Bulldog Drummond

As our last article shows, the home and away form and the form across the last six matches and the distance players have travelled in the last week all point in one direction: an Arsenal win away to Leicester.

But because this is Leicester, we must speak of Vardy.

And speaking of Vardy, we come to penalties – a subject which we took up last season when Leicester had played 13 games.  They have won eight and lost five, scoring 24 and conceding 17.  And what we noticed was that by that point Leicester had received nine penalties.  In 13 games.   If that rate had continued, Leicester would have been given 26 penalties by the end of the season – not just an all-time record, but far and above the most penalties any club has ever had in a season.

Now penalty awards were bigger last season because of the change in attitude of referees due to lock down.  There’s an article on what happened in terms of refereeing here, in case you’ve not looked into how lock down gave us a real insight into what PGMO referees were up to.  As a result of lockdown penalties last season reached 124 in total.  A 14% increase on the previous season and an all-time record.

But what were Leicester up to in order to get nine penalties in 13 games?

Because we have been following Leicester’s tactics ever since they had their amazing season in 2019/20 in which they tackled far more than anyone else (undertaking 158 more tackles than Arsenal in that season), and yet got the second lowest number of yellow cards, we picked up on this straight away.

Now if you are a regular reader you’ll know that from the moment we published our analysis on Leicester’s figures,  things started to change, and their rate of fouls and yellow cards escalated dramatically.  Of course, it can’be be so, but it was almost as if a PGMO official read Untold and emailed his colleagues saying, “watch out lads, we’ve been rumbled.”

So Leicester started to get fouls and yellows given against them.  But the following season they came back with a new ploy, an extraordinary ability to get penalties, and we wanted to know why.  (There was after all no point in waiting for the media to tell us – they won’t even mention the relationship between tackles, fouls and yellows, the silly people).

We went through all the recordings we could find of Leicester’s game and we saw one obvious tactic.  Vardy gets the ball in the penalty area and starts moving across the box towards the goal.  A defender runs after him.  Vardy suddenly stops, swivels through 180 degrees, and bizarrely starts running away from the goal.  The defender taken by surprise, latters into him.  It’s in the area; the ref gives a penalty.

Fortunately once again (at least in our minds, but probably not in reality) a message went around PGMO that another Leicester ploy had been rumbled, and Vardy suddenly, amazingly, stopped getting penalties.

So what’s his trick this season?

Unfortunately, we haven’t found it.  It’s not penalties (Leicester along with six other teams haven’t had one).  In tackling Leicester are solidly mid-table, although with yellow cards they are low (17th one place below Arsenal).

But here’s the oddity… in terms of fouls committed they are bottom in the Premier League.  So either they are not fouling much or they’ve got another trick which we ain’t spotted it yet.  If you see it, do say.

The referee is Michael Oliver and these are his games so far this season, starting with 13 August.

Competition Home team Away team
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Sparta Prague Monaco 0 – 2
PREMIER LEAGUE Brentford Arsenal 2 – 0
EUROPA LEAGUE NS Mura Sturm Graz 1 – 3
PREMIER LEAGUE West Ham Leicester 4 – 1
EUROPA LEAGUE CFR Cluj Red Star 1 – 2
PREMIER LEAGUE Burnley Leeds 1 – 1
WORLD CUP Belgium Czech Rep 3 – 0
PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal Norwich 1 – 0
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Barcelona B Munich 0 – 3
PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea Man City 0 – 1
PREMIER LEAGUE Man Utd Everton 1 – 1
WORLD CUP Cyprus Croatia 0 – 3
PREMIER LEAGUE Aston Villa Wolves 2 – 3
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Lille Sevilla 0 – 0

So already he has had Arsenal twice – which is the number of times we think a referee should ever oversee a match of the same club in an entire season.  There were no cards in the first game and four in the second.

As for Leicester in the West Ham game Leicester’s Ayoze Perez was sent off with a straight red on 40 minutes and Ricardo Pereira was yellow carded on 71 minutes.

In our game against Norwich there were two cards for Arsenal (Partey and White both at the end) and two for Norwich (Aarons and Hanley, either side of half time).

In all he has delivered 24 yellows in seven Premier League games, or 3.42 cards per game.  We watch with interest.


6 Replies to “Leicester City v Arsenal: what new trick have Leicester got waiting for us this time?”

  1. Oliver is another on the list of 6/7 prem referees that can’t be trusted to give an unbiased performance when it comes to refereeing Arsenal.Fully expect him to make at least one MAJOR decision against us.Much might depend on whoever is in the dreaded VAR seat to either override any dodgy decision against us or unfortunately to back him up.

  2. Bulldog,
    Thanks for the accurate description of Vardy in the box. So obvious and almost comical except he gets the call. And the match is at Leicester so I’m wondering what trick Riley has for us this time. We shall see soon enough.

  3. It’s likely the ref will have an allergic reaction to the colour red and that being so will discover he has a whole powerful of red cards he will naturally assume the red cards are to wave at red shirted people and to be dispensed asap.

  4. It’s likely the ref will have an allergic reaction to the colour red and that being so will discover he has a whole powerful of red cards he will naturally assume the red cards are to wave at red shirted people and to be dispensed aosap.

  5. Let’s celebrate a great Arsenal win on the road – against a team in the top 6 and a referee who clearly hates Arsenal; imagine if Gabriel or White had grappled Vardy the way Evans mugged Auba.

    The boys all showed great skill, heart and resilience to take the 3 points. What will Lineker and the MOTD Spuds team say tonight.

    Arteta is proving his critics wrong so far, Long may it continue.

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