Aston Villa v Arsenal: there is something seriously amiss with the refereeing.



Aston Villa were promoted to the Premier League via the play offs in 2018/19.  It wasn’t until their third season in the Premier League that they were able to take the number of tackles that they could put in before a foul was called, up to the level of Arsenal and Manchester City.  But they have done this with success for both last season, and this season, they have put in more tackles before a foul is called than either Arsenal or Manchester  City.

Yet even then, they have still not reached the ludicrous levels of Leicester City in terms of the number of tackles that they can put in before a foul is called, but obviously, it is the Leicester City model they are following.   But it is strange that the one year when Leicester’s figures changed so that they were only able to put in the same number of tackles before a foul was called as other clubs, was also (by the purest chance of course), the season we focussed on their figures.

So the long and short of it is that Aston Villa can put in more tackles before they get a foul called and they have been working on this year on year.   It shows clear and logical thinking by Unai Emery who learned this lesson about PGMO while at Arsenal, and who joined the Villa in October last year.

At that time the table looked like this… (PPG as usual means, points per game).


Team P W D L F A GD Pts PPG
1 Arsenal 11 9 1 1 25 11 14 28 2.55
15 Aston Villa 12 3 3 6 11 16 -5 12 1.00


As of 17 February, Arsenal’s points per game has slipped by 0.23 while Villa’s PPG has gone up by 0.27.


2 Arsenal 22 16 3 3 47 21 26 51 2.32
11 Aston Villa 22 8 4 10 26 34 -8 28 1.27


The gap is narrowing, but surely not so much as to make Villa a real threat to Arsenal.  They will put in 21% more tackles than Arsenal, but will only get 10% more fouls called.  So Arsenal really need to be sure they are ready for this level of attritional tacklinh without intervention from the regrtrr, and not retaliate.

So let’s do the usual check on tackles, fouls and yellows cards for the two teams, adding to the data discussed in the last article.

Tackles. fouls and yellow cards per game

Team Tackles per game fouls per game Yellow cards per game
Manchester City 12.7 9.2 1,17
Arsenal 14.7 10.2 1.64
Leicester City 18.2 10.5 1.45
Aston Villa 17.8 11.5 2.14


Looking at these figures, if Arsenal were not about to play Aston Villa one would actually feel sorry for Villa.  All one can say to Aston Villa, its management and its supporters is – you are being utterly shafted by PGMO, and if you want to do something about it, start writing about it.

For the simple fact is that Aston Villa only get called out for 13% more fouls called than Arsenal and yet get 30% more yellow cards than Arsenal, which is clearly ludicrous.  

As for Leicester, they are clearly continuing with their close liaison with PGMO and its staff.  They are tackling 43% more than Manchester City, yet are only getting 14% more of those tackles called out as fouls.

So let’s have a look at the ratios…


Team Tackles Per Foul Tackles per yellow Fouls per Yellow
Manchester City 1.38 10.85 7.86
Arsenal 1.44 8.96 6.22
Leicester City 1.73 12.55 7.24
Aston Villa 1.55 8.32 5.37


The improvement that Arsenal previously found in terms of cutting down the number of tackles that the club can deliver before getting a yellow, has now vanished.  Leicester City can put in 50% more tackles before getting a yellow card than Arsenal can!

If that sounds a realistic reflection on the way Arsenal tackle compared with the way Leicester tackle, then we’ll just have to disagree on that.  I do not see Arsenal’s tackles as 50% worse than Leicester’s tackles – but that is clearly what the referees see.   And not just one referee but all the referees.

Comparing Arsenal and Villa however, the results are very similar, for even though Manchester City need to put in fewer tackles before a foul is given against them, these fouls are 9% less likely to become yellow cards for Manchester City than they are for Arsenal.

It’s a funny old game (which translated means, “if these figures are right” (which they are, coming from WhoScored who get them from the League) “there is something pretty seriously amiss with the consistency of refereeing.”

4 Replies to “Aston Villa v Arsenal: there is something seriously amiss with the refereeing.”

  1. Well, hear hear…

    Lee Mason has been terminated. Won’t be refereeing in any capacity anymore for PGMOL. He’s gone.

    One incompetent out. who’s the next ? This is a first. Things are changing. Even if he is the sacrificial lamb, the black sheep, it has happened. And this will change the dynamic.

    The fact Arsenal are the posterteam outside of England and the Young Gunners so popular is starting to have ripple effects.

    And UA and Tony need to keep banging the drum about the general total moronic incompetence of PGMOL, not just of Lee Mason. So it is not just a one-off but becomes a push for better.

    Ah and yes, least I forge : good riddance, you won’t be missed here

  2. Lee Mason departure does not give us the 2 points which he cost us.

    Also, this token gesture still leaves the rest of the PGMOL in place to continue as before.

  3. @John L,

    yep, just that it has created a precedent.
    And put PGMOL incompetence straight into the limelight.
    This is a first step.

  4. The PGMOL are not letting us off the hook just yet. Today we have the home win specialist Simon Hooper as ref. He has not overseen a single away win result in sixteen matches this season and has been specially chosen by Webb to continue his extraordinary run of home wins today.

Leave a Reply

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