In the last piece, I referred to a previous article: Stats show something very odd going on in the PL that the media won’t discuss.
In essence, what Untold found was that Leicester were able to undertake many more tackles than other clubs in the league but got far fewer fouls awarded against them. We asked how that was done because if there was a tactic, surely everyone else should be copying it!
We analysed the figures looking at tackles, fouls and yellow cards (which it seems no one had ever done before), but so odd were these findings that we then had to do some further analysis. What we found was that after our article showing those crazy Leicester figures, suddenly everything changed. For Leicester started to be treated if not exactly like everyone else, then at least not quite so differently from everyone else. As a result, after that, the club started to slip down the league somewhat.
But of course, not everyone would accept our comments, for it was argued by some Leicester fans that the cause of Leicester’s figures changing from the above (showing an ability to tackle while getting far fewer yellows than other teams) to something closer to normality, was due to the injury to one player.
Fortunately, we do like to check such assertions rather than just take them as fact, and we found this was not the case at all. The change in the numbers did not coincide with an injury at all. Something else made referees look again at the way they were treating Leicester.
Of course, we would never be so silly as to think that little Untold Arsenal could have any impact on the wild and wacky ways of the PGMO, so the reason for the change remains a mystery. Maybe Leicester realised they had been rumbled.
But the issue of the Leicester tackling-with-impunity programme remains a topic for consideration and we’ve been checking the figures for fouls, tackles and yellow cards since.
Obviously, the 2021/2 figures can’t be directly compared with previous seasons as this season is far from complete. However, the figures are given as we need them for the second analysis below… (These numbers are just given for completeness – the interesting analysis comes below).
Before we move on to the ratios, which are the most informative figures, it is worth noting, as we have before, that Leicester undertook 27% more tackles than Arsenal in 2019/20. The number of fouls by each team was virtually identical, and yet Arsenal got 109% more yellow cards than Leicester!!!!!
Clearly, Arsenal needed to do something radical if PGMO officials were not going to continue determining where Arsenal ended up in the league, and under Arteta Arsenal did just that. Their level of tackling dropped by 126 in the course of the next season.
But let us move on and look at the all-telling ratios.
In 2019/20 when we started looking at these figures, Leicester could undertake 18.09 tackles before getting a yellow card. We revealed our figures and the following season that crashed to 11.16. But this season that number has crept up again to 13.88 tackles before a yellow.
In 2019/20 when we started looking at these figures, Leicester could commit an amazing 10.19 fouls before getting a yellow (more than twice the number Arsenal could commit before getting a yellow!)
That was the really big outrage. 10.19 fouls before a yellow was waved for Leicester, 4.89 fouls before a yellow was waved at an Arsenal man. But since our publicity of this lunacy, that number for Leicester has collapsed from 10.19 down to 6.81.
Arsenal’s figure has changed as well. We were getting a yellow every 4.89 fouls before we expressed outrage. That went up to 7.34 last season, although this season has edged back down again to a yellow card ever 6.24 fouls.
The other lunatic figure we see is that in 2019/20 Leicester could commit over two and a half times as many tackles as Arsenal before getting a yellow card. Now that is down to 41%. Still, a crazy number showing absolute bias, but at least not as bad as 2019/20.
So what is the situation now?
- Leicester get away with 29% more tackles than Arsenal before a foul is called.
- Leicester get away with 41% more tackles than Arsenal before a yellow card is given.
- Leicester get away with 9% more fouls than Arsenal before a yellow card is given.
Of course, you can explain all this away by claiming that Arsenal’s tackles and Arsenal’s fouls are much worse than Leicester’s. Even though Arsenal have a totally different defence this season compared with last.
You could argue that, but watching the videos, it is simply impossible to sustain that argument. You’d probably be better off saying “it’s a funny old game” and leaving it at that.
From my perspective the answer is simple: PGMO have a lot to answer for.
- Everton v Arsenal: a happy video, line-up and what the league table will look like after
- Everton v Arsenal: Injuries, points needed for 4th, and Arsenal the first to 100?
- Everton v Arsenal: extraordinary figures seen in the last 6 games table
- Everton v Arsenal: how this referee treats the home and away team
- Everton v Arsenal and the oddity of referee behaviour