Arsenal v Everton: the tackles, the fouls and the ability to score


By Bulldog Drummond

Arsenal now have the second lowest level of tackling of any Premier League club other than Manchester City – a result that comes as the culmination of the drive to wrest back control of the club from the PGMO officials who in 2019/20 took yellow carding to previously unseen levels.

Since then Arsenal have cut the number of yellow cards they get in half, largely by cutting down on such jolly activities as tackling.   Everton have however not followed the trend and are this season putting in 26% more tackles than Arsenal.

And yet, amazingly, Everton have had fewer fouls given against them than Arsenal.   Only marginally it is true, but with 26% more tackles than Arsenal, and a club whose defence has let in almost 40% more goals than Arsenal, that seems very strange.


Team Tackles pg Fouls pg Yellow cards PG
Arsenal 14.7 9.9 1.63
Everton 18.5 9.8 2.21


However, this issue of putting in more tackles but getting called out for fewer fouls is commonplace in the Premier League.  The clubs that have tackling as a central part of their defensive activity are always awarded fewer fouls per tackle than the clubs that restrict their tackling.  It seems to be a standard PGMO thing.

By way of example, consider Leeds, the club that tackles more than any other.  They put in 1.83 tackles before a foul is called.  Arsenal can only put in 1.48 tackles before a foul is called.   Those figures suggest Leeds United players are 24% better at tackling than Arsenal’s players.   Which if true, should mean that Arsenal should sell their defence and go and buy Leeds’ defence.

But of course it is not true.  The fact is that Premier League referees look more benignly on clubs that tackle a lot.  It is an outrage and a scandal, but that’s what they do.


Team Tackles per foul Tackles per yellow Fouls per yellow
Arsenal 1.83 9.02 6.07
Everton 1.89 8.37 4.43


So Everton can get away with more tackles before a foul is called, because PGMO refs, for reasons that will not become clear at this point, always treat heavy-tackling clubs more leniently.  But when it comes to handing out cards they reign their instincts in.   Everton can only put in 8.37 tackles before getting a yellow, compared to Arsenal’s 9.02, and indeed when referees do decide to give a foul against a high-tackling club like Everton, it turns into a yellow more often that one expect.

4.43 fouls before a yellow card is given for Everton.  6.07 fouls before a yellow card is given, for Arsenal.

One might have thought that such referee lenience in terms of calling out fouls, (however it has come to pass) would be something that the club could benefit from, but it seems not.

Between 2006/7 and 2013/14 Everton was a club always in the top half of the table come the end of the season, but since then times have been more uncertain.  12th in 2019/20, 10th in 2020/21, 16th last season and currently 18th this season.   But perhaps even more worrying for the club is, or ought to be, the fact that they are the lowest-scoring club in the league at the moment with just 17 goals.  Arsenal, you may have noticed have knocked in 52.

Last season two of the relegated teams went down having scored 34 goals – Everton in fact got 43.  This season however Everton have got 17 goals in 24 games which is a rate of 0.71 goals a game.  Across the entire season that would give them 27 goals – fewer than the relegated clubs last season and the same number as relegated Fulham the season before.  Indeed the season before that two clubs were relegated with 40 and 36 goals scored.

So that Evertonian attack is a problem.  And just how big a concern it is, is shown by their list of top scorers this season


No. Player League FA Cup EFLC Europe Total
11 Gray 3 0 2 0 5
10 Gordon 3 0 0 0 3
7 McNeil 2 0 0 0 2
30 Coady 1 1 0 0 2


To be fair eight players in all have scored one goal each for Everton this season.  Here is the Arsenal top scorers list courtesy of the BBC.


Rank Name Goals Assists Played Mins per Goal Total Shots Goal Conversion Shot Accuracy
Bukayo Saka
10 8 32 248 45 22% 56%
Gabriel Martinelli
9 3 32 261 46 20% 50%
Eddie Nketiah
9 0 31 195 52 17% 44%
Martin Ødegaard
8 6 30 274 34 24% 56%


That’s not a bad chart – and there is still a chance that Jesus will return to the front line before the season ends.

One Reply to “Arsenal v Everton: the tackles, the fouls and the ability to score”

  1. From the evidence presented whether we get a ‘homer’ ref
    or an ‘away’ ref everything depends on the result they’ve decided on long before the match comes around . Last weekend we had to score 3 to make 1 count . Will we be robbed blind yet again ? Furthermore when some media deadwood clown decides to yet again form a league table based on points we were stitched up over. Will we be the most ripped off club for the 3rd year on the trot ? If so , then those findings need to be gone into on every available platform . UA had these matters bang to rights years ago the research has been done , time for it to be known more widely.

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