Suddenly a key set of referee statistics does not appear. Why is that???

The data vanishes

By Tony Attwood

This is the moment where we would normally start putting in the fouls per game per club in the Premier League.  This data comes from Footstats and Footcharts and normally appears a day or so after the games.   But this season although both sites still have a page for the tables there is no data.

Worse, it is at the moment difficult to find any site anywhere that is publishing data on fouls analysed by club.   Of course, I know we could go through each and every player’s individual data and allocate that per team, but that really needs a level of programming ability that we don’t have at Untold.  I think we are quite good at analysing the implication of the data, but we are not programmers.  Other sites are the other way round.

Now it has also long been a puzzle that although the Premier League’s own site is packed with data including the number of fouls by player and a vast array of data per club including, among many other factors, tackles and yellow cards per club per season, they have never published the number of fouls committed per club, nor against each club.

And now suddenly it seems Footstats and Footcharts have either decided not to publish this one set of data (number of fouls per club) or have been told not to publish it by the Premier League, because they simply don’t have it.  And, at least as far as I can see (and I would be utterly delighted if you would correct me on this) nor has anyone else.

And this happens just as we published for the first time a comparison of fouls committed by clubs and fouls against each team, which showed the enormous difference in the way clubs are treated.  You might recall one little chart we did which summarises the situation rather well…


Fouls committed by Opposition
Position Team Total Per Game
1 West Ham 292 7.68
2 Liverpool 311 8.18
3 Man United 333 8.76
18 Norwich 443 11.66
19 Crystal Palace 500 13.16
20 Aston Villa 512 13.47


The difference, in terms of the number of fouls against certain teams, is huge – far bigger than one would ever imagine, given what we know about fouls by certain teams and raises the question of why Palace and Villa are being fouled so often.

Now, either permanently or temporarily, we can’t explore this because the data is not being published by the normal sources.

Of course, seeing any link between our activities in analysing these figures and their sudden unavailability would be simple paranoia on my part, and contrary to popular belief there isn’t much paranoia around Untold Arsenal.

Our aim is to use figures to highlight issues, and then comment WITHOUT paranoia. Indeed I’d argue we publish far more analyses with commentary on the way referees behave than any other site and when we do suggest a conspiracy it is of the type in which journalists simply follow each other, rather than go out and do serious investigative work of their own – such as looking at this type of data.

And so we do it, and it is indeed from this data that our conclusions about the variability of referees in the Premier League is drawn.

So it must be a pure coincidence that just as we start analysing the fouls committed by and against each team and find some extraordinary figures, that the raw data ceases to be available from our two normal sources.

And in case you think it is just one person endlessly creating statistics in this issue on Untold, you might like to go back to the excellent article by “Proud Kev” 

You might also find Why do Crystal Palace players get fouled so often? of interest.

So we are now lacking data suddenly.  Let’s hope there is no conspiracy and it is just a glitch.  Meanwhile we can see this information for this weekened’s referee throughout his career.


GAmes Fouls pg Fouls per Tackle Pen pg Yel pg Red pg
Home Team 207 11.37 0.67 0.09 1.65 0.06
Away Team 207 11.38 0.66 0.12 1.88 0.09
By Arsenal Home 8 10.88 0.73 0.25 2.00 0.00
By Arsenal Away 14 9.50 0.62 0.07 1.43 0.14


While he does give more fouls against Arsenal at home than away, the Arsenal fouling record with him is below his average as is the number of yellow cards he gives against Arsenal.

Fouls this season

This is the data on tackles and fouls committed by teams so far this season from WhoScored, but as elsewhere without the “fouls against the team” data – going down as far as Bournemouth

Team Tackles pg Fouls pg TACkles per foul
1. Tottenham 24.5 10 2.45
2. Leeds 24 12.5 1.92
3. Chelsea 23.5 10 2.35
4. Fulham 22 10.5 2.09
5. Crystal Palace 20.5 12 1.70
6. Everton 20 10.5 1.90
7. Arsenal 18.5 13 1.42
8. Wolverhampton 17 8 2.12
9. Brighton 16 10 1.60
10. Southampton 15.5 8 1.94
11. Newcastle 15.5 7.5 2.07
12. Liverpool 15.5 8 1.94
13. Nottingham Forest 15.5 12 1.29
14. West Ham 15 9.5 1.58
15. Bournemouth 15 13.5 1.11

As we can see Tottenham can commit 2.45 tackles before they have a foul called, while Bournemouth can only commit 1.11 tackles before a foul is called.  Which is interesting given that Tottenham are tackling more than any other team in the list.

Arsenal are near the bottom, with 1.42 tackles before a foul is called.

But concerning the missing data, it is a funny old thing, this collecting data lark.

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