Tackles, fouls and yellow cards: Chelsea three times dirtier than Man City



By Bulldog Drummond

And so moving on to comparing the tackles, fouls and yellow cards of Arsenal and Chelsea, and comparing these with Manchester City who tend to tackle and foul less than anyone (according to referees) and Leeds United who tend to tackle and foul more (according to referees).   Although we might add that this season Nottingham Forest seem to be headling for much greater numbers than Leeds at the moment – but we’ll take a look at that in detail in a separate article.

The raw data comes from WhoScored – here for the yellow cards and here for fouls and tackles


Club Tackles pg Fouls pg Yellows pg
Arsenal 14.9 10.0 1.58
Chelsea 18.0 9.5 1.92
Man City 12.5 7.8 0.58
Leeds 23.7 13.0 1.83


Manchester City have the lowest level of tackling in the league and Leeds United the highest, which is why we are comparing the Arsenal and Chelsea figures with these two clubs.

And we can see the difference between the two. Leeds are tackling very close to twice as much as Manchester City.  The gap between the two clubs in terms of fouls however, although large, is smaller than one might expect.

However when it comes to the handing out of yellow cards referees have totally reversed last season’s approach in which the clubs that fouled the most received fewer yellows per foul.  Leeds are tackling and fouling around twice as much as Manchester City but they are getting three times as many yellow cards.

It is almost as if PGMO read our analyses from last season, decided to do something about it, and have gone berserk in handing out yellow cards to Leeds.

But now look at this…


Club Tackles per foul Tackles per yellow Fouls per yellow
Arsenal 1.49 9.43 6.33
Chelsea 1.89 9.38 4.95
Man City 1.60 21.55 13.40
Leeds 1.82 12.95 7.10


Leeds can commit many more tackles than Arsenal or Chelsea before they get a yellow card.  But both Leeds and Arsenal clubs can commit many more fouls before getting a yellow card.  The referees really don’t seem to like Chelsea!

In fact the differences are ludicrous.  Manchester City can commit nearly three times as many fouls as Chelsea before getting a yellow card, and over twice as many fouls as Arsenal before getting a yellow card.

And if you don’t think that is worrying try this: Even Leeds with their mega level of fouling can commit many more fouls than Arsenal or Chelsea before getting a yellow card.

Put this another way: referees consistently think that Leeds United’s tackling is fairer and less worthy of punishment by a yellow card than Arsenal’s!!

As for Manchester City, even when they are adjudged to have fouled it is considerably less likely that the foul will seen to be worthy of a yellow card.

We are seriously being asked to accept that Leeds United’s fouls are less deserving of a yellow card than Arsenal’s.  Really?  Has anyone seen Leeds play this season?

The fact is that what we are seeing here is the same issue that we saw last season.  The more a team fouls, the more it gets away with.  Except in the case of Manchester City who have either perfected the art of the perfect tackle or else referees simply will not believe that Manchester City players are capable of fouling!

5 Replies to “Tackles, fouls and yellow cards: Chelsea three times dirtier than Man City”

  1. Manchester city’s red card against Fulham was a surprise. Still, the referee made up for it with the 95th minute penalty award.

  2. Cheating ref how the hell saja get a yellow should have been VAR. same fouls on us seconds later we get penalised. Your ref analysis was right.
    @John L that was a pathetic penalty for Man City

  3. Great result from a scrappy game – we are top of the league

    Our Women are playing against Leicester this afternoon. 15 minutes in and we are one nil up and totally dominant

    It’s on the BBC Red Button and digital channel

  4. 22 minutes and it’s two nil well worked team goal ending with a delightful Mead cross which Caitlin Foord met at the back post for a simple tap in.

    34 minutes and Zinsberger made a good save with her feet to maintain her clean sheet

    We godown the other end force a couple of corners the secondof which is a wicked inswinger which goes straight in for a three nil lead

  5. Three minutes after the restart and Stina Blackstenius mKes it four nil running onto a wonderful long through ball from Lotte Wubben-Moy before rounding the keeper and passing into an empty net

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