By Bulldog Drummond
The Guardian is reporting that Tottenham are annoyed at the postponement of the game today saying that “Tottenham have been left furious… believing rules regarding Coronavirus-related postponements have been manipulated to create “unintended consequences”.”
The Guardian adds that “Arsenal would have been without at least 15 first-teamers for their visit to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.”
Indeed the Tottenham argument has a logical fallacy as is shown by the way their statement continues, with the club saying, “We are extremely surprised that this application has been approved. We ourselves were disqualified from the European Conference League after a significant number of Covid cases meant we needed to reschedule a fixture…”
The point of course is that League fixtures are dealt with by the autonomous committee of the League, while the Uefa fixtures issue was dealt with by Uefa according to their own rules. It is a case of Tottenham bringing in evidence, which we were asking for in the last article, but actually, it turns out to be irrelevant evidence. It is a bit like saying, “I was banned for driving at 85 mph in England, but when I did that in Germany, nobody minded.”
It leaves the Premier League in an invidious position. Neither Arsenal nor any of the other clubs involved in the season’s 21 postponed games to date have pulled off anything that is outside the regulations, but it is clear they are being stretched to their limit and matches have been called off that are likely to have gone ahead before the pandemic.
Given that the game against Tottenham was postponed quite late on, the highly efficient Untold machine (that is to say, me) had already started producing articles ahead of the game, including of course an analysis of tackles, fouls and yellows as we produce before most league games.
|Highest||376 (Palace)||244 (Watford)||52 (Leeds)|
|Lowest||256 (Burnley)||163 (Burnley)||22 (West Ham)|
Adjusting for the number of games here are the per game figures as they stood yesterday morning.
|Club||Tackles pg||Fouls pg||Yellows pg|
|Arsenal 20 games||14.70||9.00||1.5|
|Tottenham 18 games||16.22||10.16||1.72|
What we can see is that Tottenham are consistently tackling more than Arsenal per game, and so picking up slightly more fouls per game but fractionally more yellows. The differences are small but the referees are a little more lenient with Tottenham than they are with Arsenal.
However looking at the relationship between tackles, fouls and yellow between the clubs we can see that in terms of the number of tackles undertaken before a foul is called is much the same, and the number of tackles undertaken before a yellow is given, is much the same. But combine these stats that Tottenham, by getting fouls against them more readily, and getting those tackles turned into yellow more readily have to commit considerably fewer fouls before getting a yellow than Arsenal.
|Arsenal 20 games||1.63||9.00||9.80|
|Tottenham 18 games||1.59||9.43||5.90|
Referees are clearly minded to think that Tottenham are a dirtier team than Arsenal and so are much more likely to see a Tottenham foul as worthy of a yellow than an Arsenal foul.
Obviously, the game is not on today but the home and away form page we produced before the game was called off shows just where Arsenal need to improve – it is in the away form.
|3||Tottenham Hotspur home||10||7||1||2||16||10||6||22|
The form tables don’t bring us much solace either, other than the fact that this ought to be a great game between two teams in form… These tables don’t include any games played on saturday or sunday 15th / 16th January.
The last ten has the positions of the two teams reversed, but only on goal difference.
The race between the two teams is neck and neck, and it is only home and away form that separates them when they come together in what the newspapers like to call “a clash”.
- Arsenal v Tottenham update, team news and appalling, flagrant media bias
- Arsenal have benefitted by the world cup break: allegedly.
- Arsenal and Tottenham: which has had the easier ride so far this season?
- Arsenal v Tottenham: not exactly a battle of equals.
- Death by 300,000 passes: how the Arsenal transformation started 2 seasons ago.