- Arsenal’s new tactics explored in detail and what it means for the season ahead
- When a club wins the first 3 games of the season, does it win the league?
By Tony Attwood
The first point to be reiterated is that the website that was our source of data of much of our data in the past (Footstats) still exists but is not publishing any data for this season on the key issue of fouls against specific teams.
It has in past seasons also been the main source for information on tackles – particularly tackles upon specific teams and its demise is much to be regretted. Data from past seasons is still there, but not for this campaign. There is no explanation as to why.
But Whoscored is still with us and still working and we are able to work from that data. Although they don’t have the tackles committed against each specific team, which is quite a loss. It almost seems someone didn’t like what that data revealed. (Actually, I doubt that is true, for if that were true it would make the impact Untold Arsenal has seriously significant, and I don’t think that is so. PGMO just sails ahead seemingly with the view that nothing we say could possibly affect them. But then you never know).
So we continue as best we can, and in the table below we have selected specific teams so we can compare their data, and you will see that the range of the figures is quite extraordinary.
Tackles: After just three games these are ranging from 7.7 per game for some teams to around three and a half times that number, for Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United. Leeds were big tacklers last season but Tottenham seem now to have gone tackle mad. Why???
Fouls: The number of fouls committed per game, runs from Bournemouth at 13, down to Manchester City at 6.7. (Thus seeing Bournemouth as picking up double the number of fouls as Man C). These are huge differences – almost as if quite different games are being played, and how the referees react to such variant approaches is going to be very interesting this season.
Not surprisingly given this variance the number of tackles a team must commit before it is shown to have committed a foul goes from 1.15 tackles per foul up to Tottenham’s 2.23 (a range of 193%). Yellow cards range from 3 to 8 (267%) while the range of yellow cards per foul is just as huge.
Tottenham, in short, can tackle twice as much as some other teams and get away with it. Here is the data for a selection of clubs.
|tackles per foul
|yellow per game
|fouls per yellow
|3. Manchester City
|16. Crystal Palace
Much of this is in keeping with what we have observed before, and it may well be that clubs have picked up on the statistical situation we have discovered: the more tackles a club puts in, the more reluctant referees become to give a foul. Thus Tottenham commit 2.23 tackles per foul – the highest ratio – and only Leeds have committed more tackles than they have.
Likewise, there is an enormous variation in the number of fouls that a club can commit before getting a yellow card.
We can see a similar range of variation in refereeing responses to events last season and this is where we really do have to start worrying about the activities of PGMO. They must be as aware of these figures as we are, which lead to the conclusion that there is no consistency in refereeing. But would they actually ask a website to take down its statistics?
A foul should be a foul, irrespective of how many tackles and fouls a club has committed so far in the game. But this is far from being the case.
So with that background let us consider referees in relation to home teams last season including of course Jarred Gillet who will be in charge at Arsenal this weekend.
And the referees in relation to away teams
Gillet hands out yellow cards to home teams far more readily than to away teams, and as result home teams are penalised for more fouls per game than away teams. He is an “away team” man which is not good news given we have him at home..
But what happens in games overall when Jarred Gillet is in charge?
|Jarred Gillett home team
|Jarred Gillett away team
|Home team bias
The home team gets around two more fouls per game than the away team but gets fewer yellow cards than the away team.
These numbers are seriously odd, and Arsenal need to be seriously careful.
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