Why are the rest of the league fouling Arsenal so much?

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By Tony Attwood

Of course, the media is full of the new Arsenal, ignoring their past predictions that this would be another season just like last season.   And let us remember that all those predictions were made by super-computers.  Of course, they weren’t and the media was lying (whoever could imagine that?) but just think for a moment if supercomputers really could get everything so wrong.  The defence of our nation, the safety of the nuclear reactors, the weather forecasts – all in the hands of machines that simply make mistakes all day long.  That would be frightening.

So for once it is good news that media journalists and their editors lie constantly.  The supercomputers do work as they should, and it was the journalists who simply made up fairy stories. 

And now they are trying to wheedle their way out of their past commentaries, but even here they can’t get the get facts clear in their minds.

So I’ll offer up some facts apart from the one you already know – that we are top of the league.  For example, we are four points ahead of Tottenham, who were widely tipped to… well, to be something this season.

We are eight points above Chelsea who have spent billions upon billions on building a team and who now occupy fourth spot – the one that the media universally proclaimed we would not get because well, because we wouldn’t, that’s why!  And such a proclamation by the media is usually enough… for the media.

After just nine games we are nine points above Manchester United who are always in the news because they are Manchester United.  One of their very old timers scored a goal it seems.

But we are now ten points about Newcastle United who have access to more money than the whole of the rest of the Premier League put together.  In fact more than the gross domestic product of the entire UK.

We are 14 points above Liverpool who are the best team on the planet and deserve to win the league no matter what the points table because, well, because the media say so.

And we are 20 points above Leicester City who never do anything wrong, and don’t ever manipulate the rules of football, nor the attitude of the referees to their advantage.

But what lies beneath all this?

We don’t have the best defence in the league.  Of the clubs that have also played nine games   Manchester City, Newcastle and Everton have all conceded fewer.   We don’t have the best attack in the league – Mancheter City have scored ten more.  But we are still top.

And one factor is becoming very clear and that is that other clubs are attempting to deal with Arsenal by fouling Arsenal players.  While we are very much mid-table in terms of having our tackles considered as fouls by referees, when it comes to being fouled we are the third most fouled team in the league – only Crystal Palace and Aston Villa are fouled more.

Arsenal are fouled 11.7 times per game on average – over 50% more than the likes of West Ham, Tottenham and Manchester United.  Quite why that is so I don’t know, but it seems to be that the word is, if you want to stop Arsenal, foul Arsenal players.

There is also a lot of talk around about Arsenal being a left-side team and that this will be Arsenal’s undoing as the rest of the league work out how to handle that.  And yes it is true that most of our goals are scored with the left foot.

But again the media have got it wrong.  Only 35% of our attacks move down the left.  37% of our attacks go down the right.   The rest are through the middle.

But where we are getting it absolutely right and distinguishing ourselves against most of the rest is in terms of shots on target per game. 6.4 per game in fact.  Only Manchester City is knocking in more.

Here’s the league table, just in case you want to check...


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 9 8 0 1 23 10 13 24
2 Manchester City 9 7 2 0 33 9 24 23
3 Tottenham Hotspur 9 6 2 1 20 10 10 20
4 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 13 10 3 16
5 Manchester United 8 5 0 3 13 15 -2 15
6 Newcastle United 9 3 5 1 17 9 8 14
7 Brighton and Hove Albion 8 4 2 2 14 9 5 14
8 AFC Bournemouth 9 3 3 3 8 20 -12 12
9 Fulham 9 3 2 4 14 18 -4 11
10 Liverpool 8 2 4 2 20 12 8 10
11 Brentford 9 2 4 3 16 17 -1 10
12 Everton 9 2 4 3 8 9 -1 10
13 West Ham United 9 3 1 5 8 10 -2 10
14 Leeds United 8 2 3 3 11 12 -1 9
15 Crystal Palace 8 2 3 3 10 12 -2 9
16 Aston Villa 8 2 2 4 6 10 -4 8
17 Southampton 9 2 1 6 8 17 -9 7
18 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 1 3 5 3 12 -9 6
19 Leicester City 9 1 1 7 15 24 -9 4
20 Nottingham Forest 8 1 1 6 6 21 -15 4

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