by Bulldog Drummond
- Arsenal v Nottingham Forest and the choice of the Championship
- Arsenal v Nottingham Forest: Form, fouls, tackles and cards
Such were the results of yesterday we really do need to start with an updated league table. You’ll know of course that our four nearest rivals have now all played more games than Arsenal and so we have sunk to the depths of second while the mighty Tottenham have crept to within two points of Arsenal, and Newcastle within four points.
But we’ve got two games in hand.
Of Liverpool, tipped by every newspaper pundit we could find during the summer, to come second this year, there is no sign. They are in fact 12 points behind us having played one game more, and their sense of entitlement is making them deeply angst-ridden.
Anyway, on to things nearer to home. Here are the officials.
- Referee: Simon Hooper.
- Assistants: Adrian Holmes, James Mainwaring.
- Fourth official: Thomas Bramall.
- VAR: Andre Marriner. Assistant VAR: Darren Cann.
Simon Hooper is a referee less prone to giving fouls and yellow cards than most of his fellow referees. At 18.88 fouls per game he is 16th in the foul-awarding table, while in terms of the number of yellow cards, at 3.13 cards per game he is 15th in the card-giving table. If we look at penalties he is giving 0.13 per game which again puts him at 15th for that calculation.
So he is a referee of caution,
But there is going to be a problem for him since we are playing Nottingham Forest. Simon Hooper hands out 9.25 fouls against the away team on average, but Nottingham Forest commit 15.6 fouls per game on average this season. So either they are suddenly going to turn into a clean side (from the referee’s and hence the media’s point of view) or else they will behave as normal and Mr Hooper is going to have to open his eyes to what Forest are regularly getting up to and dish out the foul awards and the cautions.
A similar situation applies to yellow cards. Mr Hooper normally gives 1.5 yellows to the home team (Arsenal are averaging 1.73 cards) and 1.63 cards to the away team – but here Forest are averaging 2.67 yellows per game. It will be interesting to see if Mr Hooper sticks to his normal average, or once more recognizes that Forest are an exceptionally dirty team.
For alongside Manchester United and Everton Nottingham Forest have picked up 32 cards this season. Arsenal have been given 19.
The Evening Standard gives us this team
White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu;
Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka;
Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.
Nottinghamshire Live gives the self-same lineup, which isn’t surprising really because both are owned by Reach plc
Paul Merson said this week, “Mikel Arteta has been quite clever with Arsenal. He has played four solid defenders at the back – Ben White, Tomiyasu, and the two centre-backs. Thomas Partey plays in front of them – he’s played for one of the most disciplined teams in world football in Atletico Madrid. Arteta’s told the rest of the team to go out there and express themselves, and it’s worked wonders for his side,” Merson was speaking to Sportskeeda , and is predicting a 3-0 Arsenal win.
“I know they suffered a bad result the other day against Southampton, but they didn’t lose – that’s a big compliment,” he continued. “Last season, they would’ve lost that game. If Arsenal are at the top of the Premier League table come the World Cup break, it’ll be a massive feat.”
The Mole’s view is that “Not since Newcastle United in November 2010 has a newly-promoted side come away from a Premier League clash at the Emirates with all three points to their name, but Nottingham Forest and their newfound defensive resilience should fear no team after putting Liverpool to the sword.”
They give the same team as above but add, “Should Gabriel be ruled out of this contest, Ben White could shift across to partner William Saliba at centre-back, with Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney bombing down the flanks. Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka – who has been penalized twice for diving in Arsenal’s last two games – will also be among the players to return to the first XI.”
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