Liverpool and Arsenal: the tackles, fouls and yellow cards (in case the game is played)

By Bulldog Drummond

Given that the game against Liverpool may or may not be on (at the time of writing) I thought I’d do one of the sets of data that we normally cover ahead of the game, just in case the game goes ahead.  And not least because the data is quite interesting of itself.

The table shows that in terms of tackles Liverpool and Arsenal are this season very close together, although Liverpool get more fouls awarded against them than Arsenal do.

Indeed looking at Arsenal’s tackles position in the league and their fouls position they are running a pretty level course – and this continues when it comes to the measure of yellow cards.  16th in terms of the number of fouls committed and 16th in terms of the number of yellow cards dished out.

One could hardly wish for a more consistent set of referee interventions.

But when we look at the Liverpool figures it is clear that referees are more likely to take a Liverpudlian tackles as a foul than an Arsenal tackle as a foul which is a remarkable change from two years ago.   Indeed in recent years Liverpool’s numbers have been totally out of sync with those of other clubs.

In short, in the past, Liverpool tackles were so rarely seen as fouls that they were almost dropping off the bottom of the chart.   Tackles fouls and yellow are taken from these data bases.  Historic comparisons come from the Data Tables chart.

Tackles, fouls and yellow cards so far this season.

Club Tackles Fouls Yellow cards
Arsenal 294 (14th) 180 (16th) 30 (16th)
Liverpool 286 (16th) 209 (7th) 28 (18th)
Highest in group Leeds – 362 Watford – 244 Leeds – 52
Lowest in group Burnley – 256 Man C – 184 West Ham – 22

Last season figures, taking into account the whole season.

Club Tackles Fouls Yellow cards
Arsenal 456 (20th) 345 (20th) 47(17th)
Liverpool 526 (15th) 396 (14th) 40 (20th)

This season, estimation for end of season based on performance so far.  Both clubs have played 20 games in the league.

Club Tackles Fouls Yellow cards
Arsenal 558 342 57
Liverpool 543 391 53

So we can see that Arsenal and engaging in many more tackles than last season, but are likely to end up with the same or slightly lower number of fouls.   However, the yellow cards will increase by a quarter.  Which is hard to explain without considering what the refs are up to.

But while Arsenal’s tackling rate has gone up by 22% so Liverpool’s has stayed the same, and so has their fouling rate.  But the yellow cards have increased.  Arsenal’s yellow cards are up by 21% and Liverpool’s by an astonishing 33%.

So what conclusions do we draw?

First, Arsenal’s completely new defence have got the hang of the PGMO Protocol that Arsenal operate under, recognising that seeing even the most innocuous tackle as a foul is how the referees have been controlling the Arsenal games.

Last season, as you will if you have been a regular reader for a while, Arsenal cut the level of tackles dramatically and thus reduced the level of fouls and yellow cards.  The aim last season was to get Arsenal’s stats down to Liverpool’s level, and they have done it.

Referees are of course able to continue to dish out yellow cards to Arsenal more than one might expect because the yellow is so much a matter of opinion, and indeed Arsenal have the reputation, it seems, among the PGMO, as being a dirty team.  Indeed during the reign of Emery we were indeed the dirty team – although it looked to me as if this was because the manager couldn’t bring himself to believe that referees in England, that heartland of democracy and fair play, that Arsenal were treated differently from others.  That run of defeats that led to his departure came about because he had started to adjust the club’s style of play to take account of PGMO.

So Arteta continue the “cut out tackles” policy and it took until Christmas 2020 to get it right, but we can see what a success this has been.

Of course it has been harder to keep it up this season with a completely new defence in place, but the fact is he has done it.  We are seventh in the league when the league is analysed by goals against, as opposed to third last year, which shows a decline, but I suspect much of this is down to the change in personnel and their adjustment to the new tactics.

The key point is that Arteta has got Arsenal down to Liverpool’s figures when it comes to fouls and yellow cards, and that is giving us an enormous boost.

13 Replies to “Liverpool and Arsenal: the tackles, fouls and yellow cards (in case the game is played)”

  1. I am not surprised at our figures to be fair. Despite many years of statistics showing how poorly we have been treated regarding Red and Yellow cards, as well as Penalties for and against, I have, as have a few other regulars on Untold, noticed an improvement in how we are refereed.

    I know some disagree but overall I think we have seen an improvement. I am not suggesting we are favoured but they do seem a bit more balanced when it comes to those all important 50/50 calls.

    Where we now seem to have an issue is VAR, and we are not the only ones to have noted this. And it has been like this in seasons past as well.

    Even against Man City the referees initial calls were balanced.

    I feel he was correct in not giving City a penalty. I feel it looked a dive on first sight, and to my eyes anyway, replays confirmed this. The fact the shirt was pulled after the dive makes it irrelevant.

    But VAR called his attention to it, which is in effect telling the ref to change his decision, which he did, which is I’m sure what he would of done had VAR done the same with our penalty claim, which I can understand he didn’t see in real time.

    So without VAR he basically would of given one close call in our favour by not giving City a penalty, and one close call in City’s favour by not giving us a penalty.

    2 big subjective calls. One going one way, one the other. I can live with that.

    Note: There was of course the sending off but as I still don’t know exactly what the 2nd yellow was for I cant really comment. But Gabriel deserved the 1st, (petulant and silly, and extremely frustrating given the on field brawls I’ve seen this season that have resulted in no action at all, but ho hum) the 2nd Yellow may or may not of been soft.

    Either way, overall, again I don’t think the ref was bad.

    We got screwed yet again by VAR, which is exactly how I said VAR would work against us years ago.

    And given it’s the same guy that screwed us against Palace, making it 3 massive calls, all subjective, all going against us, suggests something is wrong.

    Not only that, but given that 2 of them, the Palace incident (No visible foul that I could see on replay) and the Odegaard incident, (definite contact on player before ball), were subjectively erring in our favour, just makes it worse.

  2. Now we are charged with failing to control our players following Attwell’s report .
    It just gets worse. Hopefully they are digging a hole too big to get out of but we all know that we will get a fine and it will be swept away and forgotten .
    Nobody will ask the question WHY ! because they don’t want to know.

  3. Having said that we now have this.

    The Mirror:

    “Arsenal have been charged by the Football Association for “failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during the 59th minute” of their recent Premier League clash with Manchester City”.

    Double standards again.

    As I have said on here a few times, including in the above post, I have seen at least 4 mass brawls this season.

    The main one I recall is during the West Ham Spurs clash back in October when Cristian Romero hacked down Pablo Fornals, then bent over him a spat at him. A mass brawl followed involving most players including substitutes entering the field of play without permission, which they received no punishment for either. Romero was booked for what could easily of been a red card tackle and received nothing for spitting, during or afterwards.

    Some people have dismissed photos that appeared online showing this, claiming them to be fake, but I watched it on MOTD and you can clearly see him bring spit into his mouth then spit. I posted the MOTD clip at the time. It was clear. MOTD didn’t even mention it or criticise to any extent the brawl. I commented at the time that the match commentators actually laughed about it and claimed “It’s understandable when passions are running high”

    Obviously not where Arsenal are concerned though it seems.

    But this was a tweet from Sky Sports shortly afterwards:

    Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

    🗣 “No need for that was there”

    It kicked off earlier as Romero tackled Fornals and left him on the deck… and then tells him to get up…

    Fornals didn’t like it at all and leaped up before lots of players from both sides piled in 👀


    I wonder if SKY will mention that today ?

    And look at the pictures here:

    Surely that constitutes “failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion” doesn’t it?

    Maybe they both got fined ? If they did I missed it.

    I cant remember the other brawls, except one involved Chelsea I think just before Christmas. Again I did comment at the time about that, and possibly the others but I cant recall and cant be arsed to go hunting around….again. Maybe someone else can recall the incidents to which I refer ?

    Anyway. Does it surprise me we’re being taken to task again. Certainly not.

  4. This is what I was saying back at the time. Obviously it started as I was watching highlights of a match at OT:


    25 October 2021 at 10:20 AM

    Sorry to go off topic straight away but yet again yesterday we saw a multi player melee, this time at OT, and still we see virtually no action card wise from the referee or VAR. Okay Ronaldo received a yellow card, and that was arguably too lenient, but non of the others involved in the pushing and shoving even got spoken to.

    I thought you wasn’t allowed to lay a hand on an opponent ?

    This is the third time I’ve highlighted these events with multiple players contravening that particular law and we have seen just 1 yellow card.

    Sorry, rant over but it’s just not acceptable.

    —-And then thisis what I said whilst watching the Spurs West Hammatch:


    25 October 2021 at 11:26 AM

    And another one.

    I’ve just seen the Romero Fornals incident in the West ham Spurs match.

    Romero takes Fornals out from behind, yellow card all day long, and that’s what he gets, but again a melee, pushing shoving etc, and again not a card shown.

    But my biggest point is you can clearly see Romero spit at Fornals whilst he was on the floor, hence his angry reaction.

    It was a clear spitting offence and if I could see it so could everyone else, but as far as I can see not a word from the main stream media. I may be wrong and if I am please show me where.

    But I have found this on a West Ham blog saying it has gone viral (whatever that means):

    It has been denied this morning as an Internet hoax but it definitely isn’t a hoax as on MOTD2 during the replays, especially the pitch side camera angle, you can clearly see Romero bend over and spit at Fornals.

    So my question is, will any action be taken ? It clearly happened, but this is Spurs so I doubt it, and the reason is if the main stream media don’t kick up a stink about it the incident will be allowed to disappear without a trace.

    Again, if that had be an Arsenal player I’m sure MOTD would of had their little magnifying gizmo all over it, insisting on a 12 match ban.

    Take a look it is not hard to spot.

    —- Honestly I’m not Mystic Meg in disguise. You don’t have to be. This is all so f***ing predictable.

  5. I then followed up with this:


    25 October 2021 at 11:41 AM

    Take a look at this. This is the MOTD2 highlights program.

    At 42:54 you can clearly see Romero draw the spit into his mouth, he bends over and at 42:56 you can see him spit. This is the screen grab, but it isn’t that clear. Where it is clear is at 43:14 from the pitch side camera through the legs of the person on the touchline.

    This has to be acted on. Cant see it.


    And I don’t believe it was, neither the brawl or the spitting. The MOTD2 video is no longer available. Well what a surprise. But I wouldn’t of given such detail timings if I wasn’t certain of what it showed would I?

    Then this:


    26 October 2021 at 11:10 AM

    Regarding the Romero Fornels spitting incident.

    I must admit I’m shocked. Not at the lack of reaction from the media, after all it was a Spurs player, but at the total lack of interest from anyone else, including on here.

    I’ve looked around and apart from it being mentioned on a couple of fan blogs there’s nothing. No outrage, in fact there’s more denial, it’s fake, nothing to see here, than outrage.

    But those clips I’ve linked above clearly show Romero spat at Fornels. It is undeniable.

    Just imagine the outrage if Xhaka, or any Arsenal player for that matter, had done it ?

    I think it’s shameful it happened and it beggars belief nobody gives a toss, not even a word of protest on here.

    Maybe I’ve missed something and spitting at people has suddenly become acceptable behavior.


    I was shocked by the lack of interest here because I knew that not only the spitting but the brawl, would be totally ignored by the media and on the back of that the FA, as has been the incident at OT and the others of which I speak.

    I make no apologies for banging on about this because I could see this coming 4 Months ago. We should of all been banging on about it because what happened then, nothing, was as predictable as what is happening today and it’s an absolute joke.

  6. This was a comment from The Mirror regarding the incident in the Man Utd Liverpool match:

    “The Reds midfielder was on the pitch protecting the ball and Manchester United’s Portuguese forward was trying to win it back, before losing his composure.

    With the ball on the ground, Ronaldo kicked it directly into Jones – leading to an altercation between the two sets of players that threatened to boil over”.


    So some altercations are okay then ?

    Did Ronaldo get anything more ? He kicked a ball into a player FFS. Nope.

  7. And how about this from Chelsea v Leeds on the 11th of December.

    Surely that constitutes “failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion”

    Or is that one also okay?

    This from SKY Sports at the time:

    Sky Sports Football

    “It got HEATED after full-time at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea took all three points with a late penalty!”

    So that was just ‘heated’ was it ?

    Did either get a fine? You tell me.

  8. And how about this from May last year:

    Chelsea and Leicester were fined £22,500 each for that but surely given Chelseas history with what has been described as the worst tempered match in history against Spurs, a points deduction should of been inevitable, especially given how Arsenal were docked 2 points for the brawl at OT, which apparently was justified because we had been involved in something at Norwich earlier in the season, as such a precedent had been set.

    But no. Chelsea goon to have yet another mass brawl and still no points deduction.

    As I say,I don’t even know if they were fined on that occasion, but even if they were it certainly wasn’t enough.

    I know there have been other brawls but I cant quite remember them exactly.

  9. thursday’s game postponed, it’ll take place january 22nd, and will be the 2nd leg of the tie (the anfield game will take place january 13th as originally scheduled)
    what a mess … all this because the EFL/Carabao greedy b……s didn’t even consider the possibility of one-game semi-finals
    having said that, dodging a 2nd leg at anfield is nothing to be scoffed at
    i know how contradictory all the above looks, but who has ever dared asking a football fan to behave like a rational creature??

  10. It would seem, Gabriel got his first yellow for what he said…not for scuffing the spot. And, apparently he was comparing the fact that the Odegaard foul was not even looked at whereas the Bernardo ‘foul’ resulted in a penalty. Our players insist that no profanity was used.

    It is perhaps time for our players to start wearing body cameras and microphones.

  11. GoingGoingGooner

    What a great idea.

    Doubt if there’s any rule prohibiting it. Although that being said I’m sure they’ll find one should we do it.

    As I pointed out above there does appear to be one rule for us and another for Chelsea. Oh, and Man Utd. Oh, and Leeds. Oh, and Spurs. Oh, and West Ham. Have I forgot any one?

  12. The point is, Porter, that PGMO is an utterly autonomous body answerable to no one. I am struggling at this moment to think what other bodies are similarly constructed. I might try a little article on the theme.

  13. Nitram
    On the back of a referees report the FA are charging Arsenal , could this be anything to do with Lacazette’s interview discussing how weird VAR decision are made ( up ) . Big brother attitude do not criticise us and as Nitram has stated there has been far worse goings on on the pitch than what happened against MC this season , are we the FA’s and PIGMOL whipping boys to keep the rest under control .
    Over the years we really have been punished harshly , especially points deduction .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *