Looking Closely at The Gunners – The Dirtiest Team In The Field?

Arteta himself recently suggested as much, saying: “I don’t know what we have done to get those red cards – it’s really unfair.”

But statistics tell a different story. In fact, the only teams with more red cards than Arsenal since 2019 are West Ham (16), Bournemouth (13), and Liverpool (11).

Then again, it is true that no other side has had its players sent off as often (three times) for handball this season as the Gunners. So let’s take a closer look at some of the incidents that led to those dismissals.

It’s worth noting that Arsenal has had more players sent off against West Ham than any other side since the start of 2019. The Gunners have had two men dismissed against West Ham this year, both for handball.

Arsenal was reduced to 10 men once again when Alex Iwobi handled the ball on the goal line during their 2-0 home defeat by Cardiff City last month. However, justice was finally done in that game when the Gunners were awarded a penalty by referee Mike Dean only for it to be saved by Neil Etheridge.

But Arsenal’s ill-discipline has not been limited to simply being caught handballing. The Gunners have picked up 21 yellow cards since the start of 2019, only Wolves (25), Cardiff City (23), and Bournemouth (22) have accrued more…

Arsenal is the dirtiest team in the league one red card every three games.

The Gunners

The club’s home ground since 1891, is the Emirates Stadium in Holloway, London. Arsenal is a professional football team based in Islington, London. The club has won 13 league championships (including one unbeaten title), two League Cups, 16 FA Community Shields, the League Centenary Trophy, one European Cup Winners’ Cup, and one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

One of the most successful football clubs in English history, Arsenal was the first club from the South of England to join The Football League, in 1893. They entered The First Division after finishing second in Division Two in 1894–95, and they have since accumulated the second-most points (after Manchester United).

Nicknamed "The Gunners", due to their historic association with the military industry at Woolwich Arsenal

Arsenal contested more matches than any other team in English football; only 8 sides contest more meetings around the world. They are one of four teams that have never been relegated from the Premier League.

Nicknamed The Gunners, due to their historic association with the military industry at Woolwich Arsenal. Since 1995, they have moved south London for a quieter life at Arsenal Stadium in nearby Holloway.

In one of the previous articles, it is mentioned that Arsenal players have been involved in what some call “dark arts” in football. And in this article examining their dirty tactics will be studied to see if they are indeed the dirtiest team on earth or not?

The first incident of note was after (then) Newcastle manager, Kevin Keegan had publicly criticized referee David Elleray for awarding Manchester United a penalty which contributed to his side’s defeat at Old Trafford. The following year, he did exactly the same thing by criticizing officials when his side was beaten at home by Arsenal. After losing once again at Highbury, (this time 3-1), he accused certain members of Arsenal’s squad of cheating.

The next incident of note is one that has been discussed by fans greatly. This again involves Kevin Keagan and once again he had his opinion about Arsenal’s superior ability to do things underhand in comparison to other clubs. 

Whilst coaching Manchester City, it is reported that he once accused referee Graham Poll of cheating him during a Premiership clash against Arsenal at Highbury. After the match finished 1-1, KK said something similar about certain members of Arsenal’s squad and he then suggested that Arsenal had not won the match fairly.

It is reported that after this, Shamed of his words and clearly upset, Kevin Keegan went searching for Graham Poll to apologize but the referee was nowhere to be found.

The issue has since been brushed aside as many Manchester City fans still suggest that their club was robbed by the referee on this occasion. The incident was put under scrutiny recently by Gary Neville who claimed that Graham Poll said to him years later: “Manchester City should have got a replay”.


There is no saying that the United is given special treatment but Arsenal is being punished in many different ways. The referees are bending over backward to ensure that the balance is maintained in the league. 

No team should be allowed to dominate another team by officiating decisions, it is clearly evident that any time Arsenal starts to show dominance in a game, something happens to make sure they do not win comfortably. 

This season has been very difficult for Wenger because he could see the frailties of his squad and he thinks we can cut it with these opponents who we know traditionally we had trouble against. He tried putting more pressure on opponents at their respective half but opponents have found a way around it and now opponents play like they were playing at home until deep into the game.

It is pathetic to see the referees handing penalties to teams for very silly challenges when their opponents are not given penalties under the same circumstances. The way players close down in midfield with each team will mean that games are going to be more open this season, unlike last season which was relatively boring every time I watched every team, apart from Arsenal of course.

Referees have been instructed to let teams play and they have done just that. It is difficult for me to predict how things are going to go because you will always get disparities but it is still possible if the refs are the same throughout all games, at least you can predict what may happen when they play different opponents. All in all, it seems if Arsenal keeps its powder dry, it will come good but the referees are just there to make sure that all are equal.