Arsenal v West Ham United: Tackles, fouls, yellows and home / away bias.

By Bulldog Drummond.

So off we go again – and let us start with the tackles, fouls and yellow cards figures.

Team Tackles Fouls  Yellow cards
Arsenal 230 145 22
West Ham United 240 144 17
Highest* 315 226 46
Lowest* 211 147 17

*Only taken from teams playing 16 games so far.

So we can see just how the Premier League referees under the aegis of the PGMO arrange matters.  West Ham United have committed more tackles than Arsenal, the number of fouls committed by the two teams is virtually identical, but Arsenal have got five more yellows than West Ham.   From West Ham’s point of view it is a clever trick if you can pull it off.

So now let’s see where the figures take us when we look at the ratios…

Team Tackles per foul Fouls per yellow  Tackles per yellow
Arsenal 1.59 6.59 10.45
West Ham United 1.66 8.47 14.12

Thus we can see West Ham’s immediate advantage before the game starts.   They can get away with four more tackles than Arsenal before a yellow card comes out.  And this is despite the fact that they tackle more than Arsenal and the two teams commit roughly the same number of fouls.

So West Ham United go into this match with a real referee advantage.  But let’s compare the home and away records…

We know by way of introduction that there is very little in it when we compare the clubs across all 16 games played so far…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 16 12 2 2 33 9 24 38
2 Liverpool 16 11 4 1 45 12 33 37
3 Chelsea 16 11 3 2 38 11 27 36
4 West Ham United 16 8 4 4 28 19 9 28
5 Manchester United 16 8 3 5 26 24 2 27
6 Arsenal 16 8 2 6 21 22 -1 26

Two points to West Ham, from having drawn two games which we lost.  But a more significant difference in goal difference – they are 10 goals better off than we are (seven from attack and three from defence).

Our home record can hardly be faulted…

Team (home only) P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 8 6 1 1 18 3 15 19
2 Arsenal 8 6 1 1 15 6 9 19
3 Liverpool 8 5 3 0 19 5 14 18
4 Tottenham Hotspur 8 6 0 2 11 8 3 18

Away from home for West Ham we find…

Team (away only) P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 8 6 1 1 26 7 19 19
2 Chelsea 8 6 1 1 17 5 12 19
3 Manchester City 8 6 1 1 15 6 9 19
4 West Ham United 8 4 2 2 12 7 5 14

So we can see that they have a good away record getting four wins, two draws and two defeats.  But the goal scoring away from home is only 1.5 goals per game against 1.875 for Arsenal at home.  Away they have conceded 0.875 against our goals against at home of 0.75.

Pulling it all together we have a goal difference across our home and their away games of +4 in favour of Arsenal.  All of which is looking rather positive.

But what about recent games in the form table again we come out on top.  Here is the table for the last six games…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 6 6 0 0 13 3 10 18
2 Liverpool 6 5 0 1 16 4 12 15
3 Chelsea 6 3 2 1 12 8 4 11
4 Tottenham Hots 6 3 1 2 7 5 2 10
5 Manchester Utd 6 3 1 2 7 9 -2 10
6 Aston Villa 6 3 0 3 7 6 1 9
7 Arsenal 6 3 0 3 9 9 0 9
8 Leicester City 6 2 2 2 12 10 2 8
9 West Ham United 6 2 2 2 8 8 0 8

So we have had three wins and three draws in the last six, and WHAM have gone for two wins, two draws and two defeats. Both clubs have a goal difference of zero across these games.

Indeed if we expand this to the last ten games what we find is that the two clubs are still necking it.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 8 1 1 21 8 13 25
2 Liverpool 10 7 2 1 30 8 22 23
3 Chelsea 10 7 2 1 26 9 17 23
4 Arsenal 10 5 2 3 16 12 4 17
5 West Ham United 10 5 2 3 15 11 4 17

Identical lines all the way through except that we have scored one more and conceded one more than WHAM.

It looks like a draw or we might just edge it.  But we’ll look at the injuries next.  Meanwhile you might enjoy

Beating West Ham: the historic videos

7 Replies to “Arsenal v West Ham United: Tackles, fouls, yellows and home / away bias.”

  1. I see it is apparently OK for anyone to get a game postponed if they have a few cases of Covid…..except, of course, Arsenal. Man U are the latest team after the Spuds were granted a postponement last week. Whilst last season both Newcastle and Man City were granted postponements in the Premier League and Villa had league games and an FA Cup game postponed.

    Arsenal were, of course, refused a postponement of our game against Brentford at the start of the season and it was pointed out by Sky at the time (and a couple of posters yesterday) that the 2021/22 Premier League handbook states “permission will not be granted to postpone a league match where the applicant club has 14 or more players listed on its squad list available.”

    It is unclear how many Man U players have Covid but the Spuds clearly had more than 14 players available.

    I personally think games should be postponed if there is an outbreak of Covid since you can have it days before it shows on a lateral flow test (as I learned myself when I had symptoms and a negative test for two days before a PCR confirmed I had it).

    I just want to reiterate the question though, why is it one rule for everyone else and a different one for us?

  2. @ Mikey
    You beat me , re postponement of PL games no numbers of Covid infected players have been mentioned , why do clubs have 25 plus squads ?

  3. Sorry Tony with out far more information these numbers can’t realistically be used to draw any meaningful conclusions

    For instance how many of those yellow cards for each club weren’t for fouls?

    Infringements such as time wasting, kicking the ball away, failing to retreat 10 yds, dissent, taking your shirt off, signalling for a VAR, enters into the VAR review area are all yellow card offences but none come about following a foul or indeed a tackle

    As an aside does the yellow count include those given to managers or players not on the pitch or players failing to leave the pitch appropriately following their substitution?

    Also on average a ref plays around 9 advantages in each game these don’t get included in the foul count, some lead to a yellows effectively without a foul being recorded. How many of these were/ are there ?

    You need to also take into account handballs can lead to a yellow a card and these come don’t come about because of a tackle add to that some fouls are automatic yellows such as stopping a promising attack or stopping the keeper from starting an attack in effect they are one offs whereas some players only get booked for persistence not those “ higher rated “ fouls.

    To get meaningful or should I say valid take of fouls / tackles etc leading to yellow cards requires far more research and indeed analysis of the numbers than just those used

  4. Mikey

    I know Nitram posted this yesterday


    “There is no official threshold for the number of positive cases that would cause a game to be called off, but the 2021/22 Premier League handbook states “permission will not be granted to postpone a league match where the applicant club has 14 or more players listed on its squad list available”.

    And whilst I don’t doubt there is some sort of reference to player availability in normal circumstances ( the rule book is massive and I can’t find that particular comment) the COVID protocols trump that basic rule book

    I really don’t want to defend Tottenham but their outbreak was significantly different in that not only did they have absentees through COVID they also had players injured, named support staff testing positive but the main issue was around the enforced closure of their training ground and because of the different protocols in place they were not in a position to use other facilities nor just appoint othe4 individuals to their “ Buble”

    It was reported that Arsenal had 4 cCOVID cases but no mention of support staff testing positive but and here’s a big but 2 of that number don’t feature in the 2021/22 named Arsenal squad. Ok timing in terms dates squads have to be submitted but it was highly likely that at the time of the Brentford game neither Willian or Runarrison were going to be anywhere close to the 2021/2 squad

  5. @ Mike T

    My point was that the rule book is the rule book. My understanding was that Spurs had a total of 8 players out based on COVID and injuries. That still left them with 17 (plus under age who are not named in the 25 man squad).

    Notwithstanding that, it is purely speculation on your part as to whether Willan and Runarrson would or would not have played since nobody could have known other than the manager.

    Rulez is rulez. As I said before, they are arbitrarily applied with some clubs benefitting and others suffering. Nitram also pointed out that some clubs get find for the misbehaviour of their players, others get points deductions…..and some get let off completely!

  6. Mikey

    Spurs had 8 players that tested positive and another 2 out injured.They also had 7 of the first team squad out through COVID and also an unknown number of academy players

    As Nitram says there isn’t a specified number of COVID positive results required to trigger a cancellation but the COVID protocols and rules as you say very much dictate that clubs have to have access to certain training ground facilities and indeed alongside players clubs have to have in the matchday support team certain job specific individuals.

    You can only use academy players if they have been subject to the PL COVID protocols and have even then under 21 players can’t be counted u less they has certain first team e perience

    My point about Willian and Runnarason is neither of them are named in the 2021/22 Arsenal 25 man squad. Had either played in that Brengame then the relevant form would have to be submitted to make them eligible because the game was played whilst the transfer window was still open then it’s possible that they could have been replaced but if then had played, got injured then potentially any in train transfer would be cancelled and then it’s highly likely 5hat the league wouldn’t allow them to be removed from the squad list.

    As for looking at the rule book that was in place when Arsenal were docked point well quite simply the rules then and the rules now are vastly different but even then the Arsenal v Man Utd incident wasn’t confined to the field of play nor was it Arsenals first offence a similar incident had happened agains Norwich

  7. But in the Norwich game, Arsenal were not the aggressors. It started with a multiple Norwich attack on O’Leary when he tried to retrieve the ball from their net to prevent them wasting time, as we were staging a come-back

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