Referees suggest that Tottenham are twice as good at tackling as Man City!

By Tony Attwood

Across the last ten years, seven clubs have been in the Premier League every season.  The regular big six and Everton.  Two clubs stand out for having kept tackles down: Arsenal and Liverpool.   Two are known for throwing tackles in as they please: Everton and Tottenham.

The question we are seeking to answer is whether referees take account of this, and allow the high tackling clubs to get away with more tackles before a foul is called, or whether the clubs are treated more or less the same.

Historically the clubs are all fairly equal in terms of tackles – the gap between the most tackling and least tackling club is that of Manchester United and Liverpool and is under 9%.

Tackles per club per season

2011/2 2012/3 2013/4 2014/5 2015/6 2016/7 2017/8 2018/9 2019/20 2020/1 2021/2 total
Arsenal 374 360 348 377 350 397 383 412 421 345 363 4130
Chelsea 403 371 420 382 408 394 363 340 386 433 409 4309
Everton 449 413 365 388 315 459 459 432 472 386 368 4506
Liverpool 366 372 410 385 422 397 344 315 331 396 363 4101
Man C 384 443 394 445 409 395 344 328 361 361 320 4184
Man U 367 361 399 453 472 497 404 433 433 452 395 4666
Tottenham 340 342 403 441 452 432 384 375 423 439 386 4417

 

But are we seeing such a narrow range between tackles, fouls and yellow cards at present?  The answer is no.

Leeds are committing over three times as many tackles as Manchester City match by match – an amazing difference.   But Leeds still have players on the pitch because Leeds have only twice as many tackles called as fouls.   So we are being asked to believe that Manchester City fouls are 58% worse than Leeds fouls.

But the club that has become the supremo when it comes to tackling without giving away fouls is Tottenham Hotspur.   Tottenham can commit almost twice as many tackles before being called for a foul than Manchester City.

Indeed hardly anyone can get close to Tottenham in terms of getting away with tackles without actually being penalised.

Tackles, fouls and yellow cards per game

Team Tackles pg Fouls pg tackle / foul yellow PG
1. Leeds 24.7 13.7 1.80 1.67
2. Chelsea 23 11.7 1.97 2.00
3. Tottenham 22.3 10 2.23 1.67
4. Fulham 18.7 11.3 1.65 2.67
5. Crystal Palace 18.3 13.3 1.38 2.33
6. Everton 17.7 9 1.97 2.33
7. Nottingham F 17.7 11 1.61 3.00
8. Wolverhampton 17.3 8 2.16 1.67
9. Bournemouth 17.3 13 1.33 2.67
10. Arsenal 17 12 1.42 1.33
11. Aston Villa 17 13 1.31 2.67
12. Southampton 16.7 10.3 1.62 1.33
13. Brighton 16.3 9 1.81 1.00
14. Newcastle 14.7 9.7 1.52 2.33
15. Liverpool 14.6 8 1.83 1.00
16. Leicester 13.3 8.7 1.53 1.00
17. West Ham 12.7 9.7 1.31 1.00
18. Manchester U 16 11 1.45 3.67
19. Brentford 9.7 6 1.62 2.00
20. Manchester C 7.7 6.7 1.14 1.00

 

What we can see at this early stage in the season is that clubs are varying enormously in their approach to tackling.

Leeds are putting in over three times the number of tackles that Manchester City are delivering but referees are helping them out by the fact that Leeds can get away with many more tackles than Manchester City before a yellow card is pulled out.

And if we are to believe these figures, in the sense that they reflect the actual number of fouls that clubs commit then the conclusion has to be that Tottenham’s defenders are twice as good at tackling as Manchester City’s.  Tottenham can commit 2.23 tackles before a foul is called while Manchester City can commit 1.14.

The alternative explanation is that as clubs commit more and more tackles (as Tottenham do this season) so the referees become less and less willing to call fouls against them. So they get away with more.

And the gap is large…   The clubs who can get away with the fewest tackles per foul are

  • Manchester City: 1.14 tackles per foul
  • West Ham 1.31 tackles per foul
  • Aston Villa 1.31 tackles per foul

while the clubs that can get away with the most tackles per foul are

  • Tottenham Hotspur: 2.23 tackles per foul
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers: 2.16 tackles per foul
  • Chelsea: 1.97 tackles per foul
  • Everton: 1.97 tackles per foul

We really are being asked to believe that Tottenham, Wolverhampton, Chelsea and Everton are between one and a half and two times as good at tackles as Manchester City, West Ham and Aston Villa.

That is quite a challenge to believe, given that Manchester City are one of the State Funded clubs and can buy anyone they want, following the collapse of FFP regulations after Uefa were over ruled by the Court of Arbitration in Sport.

The question then arises, does this ability to undertake tackles without getting many fouls given – an ability that seems to be beyond most teams, affect the number of goals conceded?

Here’s the league table in order of goals conceded with the number of tackles each team can put in before a foul is called…

 

lge Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts Tackles per foul
5 Brighton and Hove Albion 3 2 1 0 4 1 3 7 1.81
1 Arsenal 3 3 0 0 9 2 7 9 1.42
2 Manchester City 3 2 1 0 9 3 6 7 1.14
3 Leeds United 3 2 1 0 7 3 4 7 1.80
4 Tottenham Hotspur 3 2 1 0 7 3 4 7 2.23
6 Newcastle United 3 1 2 0 5 3 2 5 1.52
10 Nottingham Forest 3 1 1 1 2 3 -1 4 1.61
18 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 0 1 2 1 3 -2 1 2.16

 

Overall what we are seeing is the same effect as last season – the more tackles a club puts in the fewer fouls per tackle are called.

No one else seems to want to mention this, but it does raise the question, why?

Gaslighting: how refereeing in the Premier League is manipulated, and why the media never speak about it.

3 Replies to “Referees suggest that Tottenham are twice as good at tackling as Man City!”

  1. It’s within Man City’s gameplan to commit deliberate fouls. Due to there style of play they commit fouls very quickly when counter attacked. Spurs meanwhile are much less likely to need to commit these types of desperate fouls as they are less frequently counter attacked.

    As for Arsenal they have poor DMs. Xaka particularly who can’t tackle.

  2. @DMVZFDAC,

    I’m glad your technical expertise has been able to put the whole discussion to rest. Finally someone who sees through the fog and can say things as they are. And you have no need to actually read what has been written, it’s all crap, right ?

    Arsenal still have a few days to sell all their DMs and get new ones. And if they don’t, fire the manager, right ?

  3. One of the greatest of modern defenders (Maldini) famously said”If I have to make a tackle I’ve already made a mistake.” He’s absolutely spot on because if you can make interceptions, force turn overs & other errors you avoided the potential for being a foul magnet or at worst red carded. I’m a big fan of non tacklers.

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