If you think that referees are quicker to book Arsenal players than any other side, I’m here to tell you that you aren’t paranoid because it’s (almost) true.
For a few years, I used to track yellow cards and fouls.
One season, I remember Arsenal needing around four fouls to pick up a yellow while Leicester and Liverpool, that same season, needed closer to 10.
It was a depressing endeavour that I eventually stopped because nobody outside of Arsenal cared that this was happening on a regular basis.
Were Arsenal just putting in worse fouls than every other side in the league? That seemed unlikely, especially given the fact many of these same seasons overlapped with the Gunners being called ‘spineless’.
In the season just finished, we watched in amazement as Arsenal players were booked and sent off for fouls that weren’t even given as freekicks when they were committed by the opposition.
We watched Harry Kane kick his way around the football pitch, a genuine danger to his fellow professionals.
He still hasn’t had a red card in 11 years and has never been sent off while wearing a Tottenham shirt.
We watched Arsenal players being kicked with the ball nowhere in the picture and saw Arsenal faces stamped on without punishment.
Everyone else, however, told us that we were just whining, just imagining what we were all clearly seeing.
Now, thanks to those wonderful people over at Untold Arsenal, we can see, once again, that Arsenal were punished for fouls more than any other side, except Watford.
Untold write, “For Arsenal, after 1.48 tackles they were shown a yellow card. Only Watford got yellow cards more often than Arsenal per tackle at one yellow card for every 1.40 tackles.
“Clubs like Leeds (1.68), Everton (1.92), Leicester (1.94), Wolverhampton (1.84), Brighton (1.71) and Newcastle (1.68), which were engaging in many more tackles per game than Arsenal were getting away with more tackles before a yellow card was called.
“So although Arsenal have worked hard to reduce the number of tackles they put in per game, with Mikel Arteta following the approach that he learned at Manchester City, this has not resulted in referees showing the same leniency to Arsenal as they do to clubs like Leeds, Everton, Leicester, Wolverhampton etc etc.”
In addition, Arsenal, Watford and Tottenham all get the most yellow cards (although we can argue how many more Tottenham should get in a season that they don’t).
Those three teams highlight one of the major problems with PGMOL and their referees, with all of them hailing from the north and those sides, of course, coming from the London area (Watford’s training ground is next door to London Colney).
In this map, you can see where referees are from (yellow pins) and where last season’s Premier League clubs are located: