By Bulldog Drummond
To get a prediction of how the game will be played out, the regular tackles, fouls and yellow card statistics generally gives quite a good measure.
Indeed the only time it does not is in cases such as the recent game against Liverpool where the opposition deliberately set out to unsettle Arsenal through upping the level of aggression dramatically just for that match – in order to take both the Arsenal defenders and the referee by surprise.
In all three of the categories we measure for each match, Southampton persistently outdo Arsenal, putting in more tackles, getting more fouls against them and ultimately more yellows. At least with them the numbers make sense!
The last row shows how far above Arsenal the opposition today are, putting in seven percent more tackles, getting 26 percent more fouls against and receiving 40 percent more yellow cards than Arsenal.
Although this works in Arsenal’s favour this time, it is a perfect example of refereeing by perception, in which the referee enters the game not considering the two teams as equals, but knowing the reputation of each. Much of the time this approach of referees works against Arsenal but here we see it working against Southampton.
So let us have a look at the ratios…
|Tackles/foul||Foul/yellow cards||Tackle/yellow cards|
Arsenal can put in 1.59 tackles before getting a foul given against the team, while for Southampton it is slightly less at 1.34.
Arsenal can get away with seven fouls before a yellow card is given while with Southampton it is 6.28.
Neither of those numbers seem very important but the real difference comes at the measure of the number of tackles Arsenal can put in for each yellow card – we can get away with just under three more than they do – which given that they already have two players out for having got to five yellow cards, should make them slightly more nervous in their play.
Moving on I should also add that Arsenal have put out a notice this morning saying “All fans aged 12 and over must wear a face covering in all indoor areas of the stadium.”
They also have a notice saying “All fans must bring COVID certification with them. Click here to find out more.”
Finally they point out that if we want more information we should call 020 7619 5003.
I rather suspect that if they are seriously going to check everyone’s covid pass on entry into the ground this is going to take quite a while to get in today. A report will follow tomorrow.
Meanwhile the BBC tell us that “Arsenal have gone 26 home league games without defeat against Southampton. Their longest unbeaten home run against a single team in the top flight is 27 matches, against Fulham until 1949 and Manchester City ending in 2012.”
Likewise “Southampton’s sequence of 22 winless Premier League matches at Arsenal is the longest by any club away from home in the competition’s history.” In fact, they have won only two of the 44 away league fixtures, with their last win coming in 1987 at Highbury.st Arsenal in December 2018.
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