- Arsenal play Southampton as League attack Arsenal with discipline charge and brawls become commonplace
By Bulldog Drummond
The Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl joined the club in 2018/19 taking over from Mark Hughes of whom it has often been said. In his three full seasons since then, the club has come 11th, 15th and 15th. In 2020/21 they also reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
Southampton’s problem of course is that their ground only holds around 29,500 which severely inhibits their income. Their one major trophy was the FA Cup win in 1975/76 and they were runners’ up in 2002/3.
Southampton’s reputation was severely marred by the Bob Higgins case – Higgins having been dismissed by the club in 1989 after abuse allegations were made against him. At the second trial of Higgins in 2019 he was found guilty of 45 charges of indecent assault against teenage boys and was sentenced to 24 years in prison. A subsequent FA review found numerous failures by Southampton to act promptly on allegations of abuse. A Barnados report said that Southampton FC “did not consider the welfare and wellbeing of the boys involved with the club as their prime consideration.” Southampton FC admitted it had “completely failed to protect so many young people from suffering abuse over a long period of time.”
It is a reminder of past events at a time when we are trying (with of course limited resources) to investigate the way in which clubs today fail to protect young players by not keeping proper records of their injuries, and by not adopting training methods appropriate to the young people’s needs. (See The scandal of the lack of medical records in football).
Back with the football Southampton have been helped in recent years by Danny Ings who scored an amazing 34 goals in 67 games, before going to Aston Villa where he has managed just eight goals in 40 matches.
This season Che Adams has scored five and Jo Aribo two. No one else has scored more than one goal. We might compare this with Arsenal’s goalscoring this season: Jesus and Saka have got five each, Martinelli has four, Odegaard and Xhaka have three each, while Vieira, Eddie and Saliba each have two.
A look at the basic statistics of the two clubs reveals some very interesting details. PG = per game.
|Team||Shots pg||Tackles pg||Fouls pg||YelLow PG||Fouled PG|
Southampton are putting in 63% more shots per game than Arsenal but score 62% fewer goals than Arsenal!
Southampton tackle a lot more than Arsenal (30% more in fact) but the number of fouls given against each of the two teams is almost the same. And in fact, Arsenal pick up 20% more yellow cards than Southampton.
Arsenal also suffer 22% more fouls against them than Southampton.
So to summarise, Arsenal tackle less than Southampton but have more fouls given against them. Arsenal are fouled far more than Southampton but Arsenal get more yellow cards than Southampton. Does any of that make any sense at all?
Of course it doesn’t for this is the PGMO. So let’s do the comparison table
|Team||Tackles per foul||Tackles per yellow||Fouls per yellow|
Southampton can tackle more than Arsenal before getting a foul called against them. Southampton can tackle a lot more (an amazing 56% more in fact) than Arsenal before getting a yellow card against them. Southampton can foul a lot more than Arsenal before getting a yellow card.
There are only two explanations. Either Arsenal are a stunningly dirty team or the referees are biased against Arsenal in a way they are not biased against Southampton.
Now if Arsenal were indeed a stunningly dirty team, I would expect Match of the Day and Sky’s not very pro-Arsenal pundits to be commenting upon this all the time. But they don’t. Likewise, I would expect the print media to be covered in “dirty Arsenal” stories. But they are not
So given that these are the officially agreed figures, which we pick up from WhoScored maybe this is an example of referees having it in for Arsenal.
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