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Arsenal already getting more yellow cards for far fewer tackles than other clubs

By Tony Attwood

At the end of 2018 we ran an article with the headline “How four clubs commit fouls with impunity, while others constantly get punished”

It was a unique piece of research by Andrew Crawshaw which shone the light on the variations in the ways referees handle different clubs in different ways.

I have long since pondered how this is engineered, and following the Burnley game I was fascinated by the way that the Burnley manager, a Mr S Dyche, manipulated reality to complain about referees.   Among his comments was this, “The game is in a really poor state, with players literally falling on the floor.   I’m the only one who ever talks about it. I find that really weird.”

The fact is of course that it is Mr Dyche who is really weird – his gesturing in the game for example showing a complete lack of knowledge about how the handball rule had changed this year.

His comment about falling over did get reported, but this being the Premier League, with commentaries written by reporters for English newspapers and blogs, the real point behind Burnley’s problems at the moment was never mentioned.  And Burnley do have a real problem – their players don’t touch the ball.  Here are the statistics for touches this season…

Club

Touches
1.

Leicester City

1,561
2.

Arsenal

1,550
3.

Manchester City

1,529
4.

Tottenham Hotspur

1,492
5.

Manchester United

1,479
6.

Chelsea

1,422
7.

Liverpool

1,397
8.

Norwich City

1,357
9.

Brighton and Hove Albion

1,354
10.

Everton

1,258
11.

Sheffield United

1,219
12.

Watford

1,213
13.

Crystal Palace

1,185
14.

West Ham United

1,158
15.

Aston Villa

1,151
16.

AFC Bournemouth

1,139
17.

Newcastle United

1,090
18.

Southampton

1,076
19.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

1,023
20.

Burnley

986

In just two matches Arsenal players have had 564 more touches of the ball than Burnley players.

Of course touching the ball isn’t all there is to the game – Leicester touch the ball a lot but have so far just got two points from one goalless draw and one 1-1 draw.

There are other indicators too that something not right is going on for the early yellow card totals show – and here we can see just how much effect the Burnley manager is having with his endless whinging and whining before and after every single match.   By suggesting that players are falling over, he is ensuring that Burnley, a fairly physical team, are not getting yellows, whereas other clubs are…

Club Yellow
1.

Arsenal

5

Chelsea

5

Manchester United

5
4.

AFC Bournemouth

4

Newcastle United

4

Sheffield United

4

West Ham United

4

Wolverhampton Wanderers

4
9.

Crystal Palace

3

Everton

3

Manchester City

3

Norwich City

3

Watford

3
14.

Southampton

2
15.

Brighton and Hove Albion

1

Burnley

1

Liverpool

1

Tottenham Hotspur

1
19.

Norwich

0

Aston Villa

0

The difference between Arsenal and Burnley comes with passes too.  I won’t put the whole table in as that can get boring, but here are the highlights.  All these figures come from the Premier League’s official site (more on that in a moment).

Club 

Passes
1.

Manchester City

1,158
2.

Arsenal

1,145
3.

Leicester City

1,120
4.

Manchester United

1,101
5.

Tottenham Hotspur

1,093
6.

Liverpool

1,007
7.

Chelsea

977
8.

Norwich City

966
18.

Southampton

689
19.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

643
20.

Burnley

566

And incidentally just while we are looking at these tables there is an interesting issue when it comes to shots.  Arsenal are mid table for shots with 23, and Manchester City way out in front, but take a look at the bottom.

Club

Shots
16.

Manchester United

20
17.

Watford

19
18.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

14
19.

West Ham United

13
20.

Crystal Palace

12

Palace and Watford are the two teams without a single goal so far this season, but Man U are simply not getting the shots in either.

Arsenal have also, thus far, been given offside more than any other club (eight times in two games), against Liverpool for example (who have only been caught offside once).  And for people who are still very worried about our defence, we have put in only half the tackles that Chelsea have, and indeed fewer tackles than any club except Southampton.  But that could be a new tactic.  Arsenal tackles are much more likely to get yellow cards than most other clubs’ tackles so the solution is, tackle less.

Club

Tackles
1.

Leicester City

49
2.

Chelsea

46
3.

Watford

46
4.

Brighton and Hove Albion

44
5.

Crystal Palace

42
8.

Manchester United

39
15.

Manchester City

33
16.

Tottenham Hotspur

33
17.

Liverpool

28
18.

Norwich City

26
19.

Arsenal

23
20.

Southampton

22

What is particularly notable however is that despite having a whole website given over to analysing Premier League teams and games, and despite measuring clubs by 21 different statistics, the PL’s official site still does not have a statistic for fouls given by referees against clubs.  And yet that is one of the most important statistics there is.

Even more oddly, the league’s official tables do give fouls committed by individual players, but not by teams.  If you go looking for it under Premier League Stats there is an entry for “Fouls” but if you click on it you get the notice “No stats are available for your search.”

Of course that is just an honest mistake and nothing to do with hiding referee bias.  We all know that.

Original article: https://untold-arsenal.com/archives/76745

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