Arsenal v Newcastle: injuries, tackles, fouls, yellows and changing the team

By Bulldog Drummond

The story so far: Arsenal v Newcastle and when life in Europe really isn’t worth it

Both Arsenal and Newcastle are at the bottom end of the injury table – Arsenal with two men out and Newcastle with three.   This compares with the upper reaches which includes Everton with nine men down, and several clubs with eight.  Below us there is West Ham United with one man down – but their luck must run out soon.

Here are the Arsenal details from Premier Injuries

Player Reason Further Detail Potential Return
Sead Kolasinac Ankle/Foot Injury Nov 25: “Sead is progressing well in the early stages of his rehab with the current aim to be back in full training in January.” 22/01/2022
Granit Xhaka Knee Injury Nov 25: “Granit has progressed his recovery to running outside, with the aim to now be back in full training in December.” 26/12/2021

So let’s move on to our regular table of tackles, fouls and yellow cards – the most obvious factors to measure if you want to know how a team is playing.  And yet these are the very the factors that the media refuse to compare…

Tackles Fouls Yellow Tackle/foul Tackle/yellow Foul/Yellow
Arsenal 179 112 17 1.60 10.52 6.59
Newcastle 213 120 32 1.78 6.65 3.75

This shows us exactly where Newcastle’s problems lie – they are 11th in the league in terms of the number of fouls – equal in fact with Chelsea.  But while Chelsea have picked up 13 yellow cards, Newcastle have picked up getting on for three times as many.

Last season Newcastle got 61 yellow cards but this season, if they go on at the current rate they will end up with 101 cards – an all time record.

So are Newcastle fouls more than twice as worse as Chelsea fouls?   It seems hard to draw this conclusion watching them on TV, but that is what the referees think.   Or could it be that someone has told PGMO to give Newcastle a tough ride to show their new owners a thing or two.   After all the new owners have no concept of honesty and fairness when it comes to dealing with people, so why should the referees?

Basically the only way out of this mess is for Newcastle United to stop tackling – and as we saw with Arsenal last season that can be done.  But doing that and trying to get it right, took Arsenal to the edge of the relegation zone by Christmas, and unfortunately for Newcastle they are already there…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
18 Burnley 12 1 6 5 14 20 -6 9
19 Norwich City 12 2 2 8 7 27 -20 8
20 Newcastle United 12 0 6 6 15 27 -12 6

Newcastle have however scored a few goals in their last couple of matches…

Date Match Result Score Competition
06 Nov 2021 Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United D 1-1 Premier League
20 Nov 2021 Newcastle United v Brentford D 3-3 Premier League

… but then they have been letting them in as well.

However their manager will have watched the Arsenal video from last weekend in which Arsenal were unsettled by an onslaught of tackles and fouls from a team that doesn’t normally get yellow cards but now decided they were worth it to get their victory.

At least it seems unlikely that the new Newcastle manager will try the unsettling tactics of Liverpool’s man, and our players will know how the opposition plays.

Last season it was nowhere near as bad for Newcastle as they missed relegation by 17 points.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
12 Newcastle United 38 12 9 17 46 62 -16 45
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers 38 12 9 17 36 52 -16 45
14 Crystal Palace 38 12 8 18 41 66 -25 44
15 Southampton 38 12 7 19 47 68 -21 43
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 38 9 14 15 40 46 -6 41
17 Burnley 38 10 9 19 33 55 -22 39
18 Fulham (R) 38 5 13 20 27 53 -26 28

Joe Willock was of course their saviour last season – this season he has played eight, been a sub three times and scored none.  Last season was a little better as he equalled Newcastle’s all time record for consecutive goals, scoring eight in 11 starts.

It is interesting that less than half of the players who played in the last match of last season for Newcastle, played in their last game (Murphy, Ritchie, Shelvey, Willock, Saint-Maximin).  At least I thought it was interesting until I looked at Arsenal’s details.  Just four of our players in the last game of last season, also played in the match against Liverpool.

Gabriel, Partey, Smith Rowe and Aubameyang. 

So maybe those details don’t tell us that much after all!

More anon.