By Tony Attwood
Here is an interesting pair of statistics concerning Arsenal and Leeds…
Arsenal commit 10.2 fouls per game but they are fouled 11.7 times per game. So they are fouled just a little more than they foul.
Leeds commit 15 fouls per game but are fouled 10.5 times per game. So they foul many more times than they are fouled.
And with all the statistics that we can find that is the one that stands out, beyond the two clubs actual place in the Premier League table.
But this is an improvement for Leeds. They were still top of the fouling table last season but the rate was 12.3 fouls per game Arsenal’s rate was 9.6 fouls per game.
Last season Arsenal and Leeds were quite a distance apart when we look at the final league table, both in terms of points (a 31-point difference) and goal difference (a 50 goal difference).
Such a gap suggests Arsenal should win fairly easily although such predictions always make me nervous. Here’s the final table from last season for the two clubs…
But again this season so far the difference is 15 points and 14 GD although Arsenal have played a game more. I
If Arsenal carry on like this they will end up with 101 points (although I am not suggesting this is the likely outcome) while Leeds would end up with 43.
And the gap only narrows when we compare the Leeds home and Arsenal away record this season when the difference is down to one point and two goals. On that basis Leeds might have a chance of securing a draw, if that is what they play for.
|7||Leeds United home||4||2||2||0||6||2||4||8|
And the motivation for Leeds will be added to by the fact that they are only three points above Wolverhampton who are in 18th, the first of the relegation spots, although Leeds have a much better goal difference.
Looking at Arsenal’s matches away this season we can see that leaving the Manchester United game aside there have not only been wins, but clear wins.in which the opposition are completely stopped from scoring.
|05 Aug 2022||Crystal Palace v Arsenal||W||0-2||Premier League|
|20 Aug 2022||AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal||W||0-3||Premier League|
|04 Sep 2022||Manchester United v Arsenal||L||3-1||Premier League|
|18 Sep 2022||Brentford v Arsenal||W||0-3||Premier League|
Leeds at home this season gave them a good start against two teams in turmoil in the early days, and then two draws against modest opposition – for Chelsea, this was a time when they were losing every other game.
|06 Aug 2022||Leeds United v Wolverhampton Wanderers||W||2-1||Premier League|
|21 Aug 2022||Leeds United v Chelsea||W||3-0||Premier League|
|30 Aug 2022||Leeds United v Everton||D||1-1||Premier League|
|02 Oct 2022||Leeds United v Aston Villa||D||0-0||Premier League|
As for the tactics – the issue for which Leeds are notorious, referees are still being very generous Leeds, giving out yellow cards to them at home, far less often than the norm.
|Club||Tackles by PG||Fouls PG||Yellows PG|
and therefore the relationships between the figures do look very weird for Leeds. They can put in more tackles before they get a yellow, and more fouls before they get a yellow than Arsenal. Yet Leeds are the team that have been notorious for picking up record numbers of yellow cards in the past!
|Club||Tackles / foul||Tackle / yellow||Fouls per yellow|
But there is an interesting development for Arsenal. The club is able to put in more tackles per foul being called away from home than Leeds can put in at home. The figures only move in Leeds favour when we consider yellow cards. Referees are much more inclined to give Arsenal yellow cards when playing away, than they are with Leeds at home.
And again remember this is a Leeds team that last season picked up 101 yellow cards – putting them way out in front of everyone in terms of the yellow cards table. The nearest to them was Aston Villa on 79.
Arsenal are on 10.2 fouls per game but they are fouled 11.7 times per game.
Leeds commit 15 fouls per game but are fouled 10.5 times per game. And that factor is the most important clue as to how Leeds will play this game. They will foul, knowing they will face much greater leniency over fouls than Arsenal will be granted.
As ever, the playing field is not even.