Norwich v Arsenal: the referee and how the PGMO handle the two clubs



By Bulldog Drummond

Before the details, there was a notice before on Christmas Eve on the Norwich website proclaiming that tickets were available in the away end – the most expensive costing over £90, which is considerably more than Arsenal charge visiting fans.   That seems an outrageous price to me, unless they really are nice seats.

It is years since I visited the ground (I recall it took me over an hour to get out of the car park after the match) and I am sure the arrangements will have changed, but if anyone was going to the match and would like to let me know about the cost of the ticket and what the position was like, do write in.

The referee is this game is Mr Graham Scott.   We had him once last season and he awarded five fouls against Arsenal and two yellow cards against Arsenal.

This was under half of the number of fouls awarded against Arsenal by the manic Michael OIiver would was posting 11.6 fouls against Arsenal on average last season.  In fact only one referee gave a lower number of fouls against Arsenal on average last season and that was Lee Mason with three.

However, when it comes to yellow cards Mr Scott handed out two in his one Arsenal game.   Only Craig Pawson with 2.33 and the semi-skimmed Mike Dean living in his own bubble universe gave us three yellows.

So on the basis of one game last season, the referee looks middle of the road rather than a PGMO extremist and given the greater interest taking in refereeing affairs by the Guardian in the last week or two we might get some help from him.

So let’s have a look at the tackles, fouls and yellow card figures for the two clubs so far this season…

Club Tackles Fouls Yellow
Arsenal 265 160 25
Norwich City 280 152 31
Highest Leeds -344 Watford – 226 50 – Leeds
Lowest Burnley – 228 Burnley – 146 17 – West Ham

What we can see is that Norwich are not trying to tackle their way out of trouble, and indeed either they are being treated with leniency by the referees or they are masters of tackling without committing a foul.  They have put in 15 more tackles but given away eight fewer fouls than Arsenal.  Not a huge difference but an interesting one.

In terms of yellow cards however, they have picked up six more cards than Arsenal.  So to stress the point – fewer fouls but more cards.

Looking at the highest and lowest lines, both clubs on show here are at the lower end of tackling and fouls, although Norwich are midway in the yellow card table.  Arsenal are at the lower end.  Quite how West Ham are still getting away with so few yellows is beyond me.

But now let us take a look at the ratios…

The ratios

Club Tackles per foul Tackles per yellow Fouls per yellow
Arsenal 1.66 10.6 6.4
Norwich 1.84 9.03 4.9

So Norwich are either considerably better tacklers than Arsenal, or they are treated more leniently.  They can get away with 11 percent more tackles before getting a foul than Arsenal.

But when they do tackle they are at greater risk for a yellow.  Arsenal get away with 17 percent more tackles before getting a yellow than Norwich.

However the big difference comes with the number of fouls each club can put in before the Yellow Card comes out.   Arsenal can put in 30% more fouls before the card is waved.  Overall therefore it looks like there will be a recognition of Arsenal’s prolonged drive to cut fouling by cutting tackles.

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