Arsenal v Manchester United: the tackles, the fouls and the yellow cards



The Sunday games

When we look at the tackles, fouls and yellow card data we can see that Arsenal commit fewer tackles per game than Manchester United, and fewer fouls per game than Manchester United, and therefore as we would expect get fewer yellow cards per game.


Club Tackles pg Fouls pg Yellows pg
Arsenal 14.8 10.4 1,78
Manchester United 16.5 11.7 2.53


Arsenal, therefore, have to commit more tackles to have a foul given against them, and more tackles and more fouls before a yellow is given.  So for once, the numbers are working without any oddity beyond the standard one, that referees always give out more cards per foul as the number of fouls goes up.  As a result of this high level of tackling Manchester United suffer in terms of the cards.


Club Tackles / foul Tackles / yellow Fouls / yellow
Arsenal 1,43 8.31 5.84
Manchester United 1.41 6.52 4.62


In fact Manchester United are the third-highest fouling team in the league although this is a statistic that the Premier League’s official site refuse to give us. Only Crystal Palace and Leeds United exceed them, so we know what sort of game we can expect.

We have also seen that Manchester United are doing well against the other Big Seven clubs before this weekend’s matches.  Only Arsenal are doing better.


Arsenal 6 4 1 1 13 2.17
Manchester United 7 4 2 1 14 2.00
Liverpool 5 3 0 2 9 1.80
Manchester City 5 2 1 2 7 1.40
Newcastle United 6 2 3 1 6 1.00
Chelsea 5 0 2 3 2 0.40
Tottenham Hots 6 0 1 5 1 0.17


So all in all it looks like one of the toughest games for us, and it is notable of course that Manchester United are the only team to beat Arsenal this season.

Manchester United are also one of the few teams to have bettered Arsenal in terms of the games between the sides through the history of the league: they have won 101 to our 86.  50 games have been drawn.

However across the last ten meetings in the League, Arsenal have just won four, but then Manchester United have done worse, winning just three.  The remaining three were draws.  In the last three games the winning team (twice Manchester United) have scored three goals.  Their victory this season was Arsenal’s only defeat.

Thus our form against Manchester United of late is far better than for example between 2009 and 2014 wherein the clubs played each other in the League, the Champions League and the FA Cup 15 times with Arsenal only winning once, and that by just 1-0.   That run also included the 8-2 defeat away at Manchester United on 28 August 2011. 

But what is often not recalled when that game is mentioned is that Arsenal then only lost one of the next 15 games.  Arsenal finished third in the league, and of course qualified for the following season’s Champions League.   Tottenham Hotspur, whose fans spent a lot of time crowing by proxy over that 8-2 defeat, finished behind us.  And despite the size of that defeat Arsenal also finished with the third best goal difference in the league that season.

Thus while we always, of course, want a win, as and when a defeat comes along it is not normally the end of all things, as the media and some fans who are taken in by the media, like to report.

The biggest difference in terms of the numbers this season, between the two sides, is that Arsenal have a goal difference of +28 while for Manchester United it is +8, putting them at the level of Tottenham Hotspur.  In fact a 2-0 win to Arsenal will give the club a goal difference equal to that of the highly lauded and eternally praised, Manchester City.

In fact if we look at the top 20 PL goal scorers by club, we find that Arsenal are still outranking the rest with Odegaard on eight, Martinelli on seven, Trossard on seven, and Saka on six.  Manchester United have one player in the top 20 (Rashford).  Manchester City, Liverpool and Newcastle have two, Tottenham Hotspur, rather like Manchester United, have but the one.

So all in all it’s not going too badly.

Up next, the team.

One Reply to “Arsenal v Manchester United: the tackles, the fouls and the yellow cards”

  1. Gary Neville was quite complimentary to Arsenal, but kept saying it was a great game between two evenly matched teams. What nonsense, we were a class above Man Utd. 3-2 actually flattered them

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