By Bulldog Drummond
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If one is looking for a spot of good news, look no further than the Guardian (not normally a friend of Arsenal) who tell us that “Arsenal’s record against clubs outside the big six remains formidable: 16 wins, three draws and three losses, making 51 points from 22 games. All those defeats have come on the road and in the evening, so a 3pm kick-off at home should be just what the doctor ordered.”
Whichever way you look at it, the game on Saturday at 3pm (what an odd time to play a football match) should be an Arsenal home win. Take our regular home / away analysis for the season, for example…
|9||Brighton and Hove away||14||4||7||3||16||16||0||19|
Clearly, Arsenal are a lot better than Brighton when considering Arsenal at home and Brighton away, although it is worth noting that Brighton’s main approach to away games is to play for a draw. However, this is not an tactic that has been very successful of late…
For since 14 January Brighton and Hove have played 12 games, 11 of which have been in the league, and have gained a single win, four draws, and had six defeats.
On 13 January Brighton and Hove were eighth in the league. Now they are 13th having played one game more than Arsenal, so it is interesting to enquire how that demise came about.
Here’s the full list of games…
|14 Jan 2022||Brighton and Hove v Crystal Palace||D||1-1||Premier League|
|18 Jan 2022||Brighton and Hove v Chelsea||D||1-1||Premier League|
|23 Jan 2022||Leicester City v Brighton and Hove||D||1-1||Premier League|
|5 Feb 2022||Tottenham Hots v Brighton and Hove||L||3-1||FA Cup|
|12 Feb 2022||Watford v Brighton and Hove||W||0-2||Premier League|
|15 Feb 2022||Manchester United v Brighton and Hove||L||2-0||Premier League|
|19 Feb 2022||Brighton and Hove v Burnley||L||0-3||Premier League|
|26 Feb 2022||Brighton and Hove v Aston Villa||L||0-2||Premier League|
|5 Mar 2022||Newcastle United v Brighton and Hove||L||2-1||Premier League|
|12 Mar 2022||Brighton and Hove v Liverpool||L||0-2||Premier League|
|16 Mar 2022||Brighton and Hove v Tottenham Hots||L||0-2||Premier League|
|2 Apr 2022||Brighton and Hove v Norwich City||D||0-0||Premier League|
Looking at the last six games the two clubs have played, in terms of Arsenal home games the club has won three, drawn one and lost two. Brighton’s away read won one, drawn two and lost three.
So we are firmly in the driving seat. But let’s see if Brighton are using any of the techniques that some clubs like to indulge in, such as multiple fouling without many refereeing actions being imposed.
So even allowing for the extra game played, Brighton and Hove tackle more than Arsenal, foul more than Arsenal and get more yellow cards than Arsenal, which seems reasonable enough. And yet hidden within these figures is one far less reasonable element.
Arsenal can put in more tackles than Brighton before getting a yellow card. Arsenal can commit more fouls than Brighton before picking up a yellow card.
But Brighton can deliver more tackles than Arsenal before having one called as a foul. Which either suggests that Brighton have brilliant tacklers in their team who don’t deserve to have all those yellow cards given against them, or their tackles are generally quite gentle nonchalant affairs until suddenly one nasty kick is put in, or that most insidious of situations…
Referees tend to think of Brighton as a fairly innocuous team and so let them get away with tackles, while Arsenal are considered a dirty team by referees, and so need to be punished regularly.
We shall see.
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