Arsenal v Manchester City: tackles, fouls and cards



By Bulldog Drummond

In terms of yellow cards away from home, Manchester City have had 11 cards – fewer than any other team.  Indeed they have picked up under a third of the total of away yellow cards that Fulham have had.

In home games, Arsenal have picked up 13 yellow cards – so really not much different from Manchester City.  So if we suddenly see Arsenal getting the cards and City not ,we will know that something odd is happening somewhere – probably in the mind of the referee.

What is interesting is that when we come to look at the attribute of the game that tends to cause yellow cards to be given we find the two clubs once again linked together.  In this table I’ve shown the three most and three least tackling clubs home and away.  Figures come from Who Scored.


Team Tackles pg Fouls pg Tackles per Foul
1. Manchester City 12.5 8.9 1.40
2. Arsenal 14.8 10.1 1.47
3. Liverpool 15 9.3 1.61
18. Crystal Palace 19.4 11.9 1.80
19. Chelsea 20 10.8 1.85
20. Leeds 23.2 12.9 1.79


As we have seen time and again across the years the more tackles that a club puts in, the more tackles are required for the referee to blow for a foul.   So Leeds United need to put in 1.79 tackles before a foul is called, and yet Manchester City get called up for a foul every 1.40 tackles

There are two explanations on offer.   One is that referees subconsciously feel that they will be seen as biased if they keep giving fouls against the most tackling teams, so they let them get away with more.  The other is that clubs like Palace, Chelsea and Leeds United have developed better ways of tackling, and so fewer of their tackles are fouls.

Obviously, each of us can make up his/her mind, and my view very clearly is that Palace, Chelsea and Leeds do not possess players who are cleaner tacklers than Arsenal and Manchester City.   So it is pure bias.

But now let us look at an even more fascinating yellow card table.  In this case. I am taking the Big Seven clubs 


Team Yellows Goals against Tackles per foul Possession%
1. Liverpool 10 28 1.61 58.8
2. Manchester City 12 22 1.40 65.2
3. Arsenal 13 18 1.47 61.7
12. Chelsea 21 11 1.85 56.4
14. Newcastle United 22 13 1.55 55.6
16. Manchester United 23 28 1.83 51.9
19. Tottenham Hotspur 25 35 1.44 51.2


Now here we can see another huge difference.  Tottenham have two and a half times as many yellows as Liverpool, and around twice as many as Arsenal.

But Chelsea and Manchester United are getting away with putting in many more tackles before a foul is called.   Chelsea for example are getting away with 26% more tackles before a foul is called than Arsenal are.

In fact it gets crazier than this if we compare Manchester City and Leeds United.  Manchester City put in 12.5 tackles a game, and Leeds United 23.2 fouls per game.  Manchester City get called for 8.9 fouls per game but Leeds get 12.9 fouls per game. 

So 71% of Manchester City tackles are called out as fouls by referees.   But only 56% of Leeds United tackles are called out as fouls by referees.

Are we really being asked to believe that Leeds United defenders are much much better tacklers than the defenders of Manchester City?  It just defies belief, and the evidence of my eyes in watching the teams on TV.

But let’s move away from the tackles and fouls to finish with today, and consider the league games against the rest of the big seven.  


Date Match Result Score
4 Sep 2022 Manchester United v Arsenal L 3-1
1 Oct 2022 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 3-1
9 Oct 2022 Arsenal v Liverpool W 3-2
6 Nov 2022 Chelsea v Arsenal W 0-1
3 Jan 2023 Arsenal v Newcastle United D 0-0
15 Jan 2023 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal W 0-2
22 Jan 2023 Arsenal v Manchester United W 3-2


That is Arsenal’s record with five wins, one draw and one defeat.  13 goals have been scored and eight conceded.  A win ratio of 71%.  Now the opposition.


Date Match Result Score
2 Oct 2022 Manchester City v Manchester United W 6-3
16 Oct 2022 Liverpool v Manchester City L 1-0
5 Jan 2023 Chelsea v Manchester City W 0-1
14 Jan 2023 Manchester United v Manchester City L 2-1
19 Jan 2023 Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur W 4-2
5 Feb 2023 Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City L 1-0


Manchester City’s record is three wins and three defeats.They have scored 12 and conceded eight.  Their win ratio is 50%.

One Reply to “Arsenal v Manchester City: tackles, fouls and cards”

  1. Whilst the media is reminding everyone of our poor record against Man City in recent seasons, they forget to mention last season’s match at the Emirates, in which we played them off the park and were unfortunate to be only 1-0 ahead,

    The referee had to intervene to get Man City their expected result : – denial of a clear Arsenal penalty; award of a dubious Man City penalty; then, in order to make sure, the red card to Gabriel for a minor offence. Referee succeeded in delivering them a 2-1 win.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *