The Discipline of Three Leading Teams in European Football League Competitions 2014-2015



I have been interested in officiating behaviours and fair play in sport for as long as I can remember. This European football season (2014-2015) I have been looking at fouls and cards in the English Premier League.
This post compares Chelsea’s performance with the leaders of two other European football leagues, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.
I have used secondary data from the website for this post.


Chelsea‘s Premier League status is:
Chelsea are 7 points ahead of Arsenal having played one game less.
This season, Chelsea have played seven games in which they were awarded no cards (5 home games and 2 away games). Chelsea have won six of these games and drawn the seventh.
Chelsea‘s cards in comparison to their opponents this season have been:
C01There are seven games in which Chelsea has received more cards than their opponents. These appear above the line in the chart.

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich‘s Bundesliga position is:
Bayern are 10 points ahead of Wolfsburg.
This season Bayern have played in thirteen games in which they have not received a card (8 home and 5 away). They have won 11 of these games, drawn 1 (v Koln away) and lost 1 (v Borussia Moenchengladbach at home).
Bayern‘s cards in comparison to their opponents this season have been:
BM01There have been only five games in which Bayern has received more cards than their opponents. Two of the five games have been draws, one away and one at home).

Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain‘s Ligue 1 position is:
They are one point ahead of Lyon.
Paris Saint-Germain have played in 3 games in which they have received no cards. They have won all three games (two at home and one away). All three games took place in the first half of the Ligue 1 season.
Paris Saint-Germain‘s cards in comparison to their opponents this season have been:
PSG01Paris Saint-Germain have played in 16 games where they have received more cards than their opponents. Four of these games have ended as home draws, 4 as away draws, and 2 as away losses. (On the other six occasions, Paris Saint-Germain have won at home 5 times and away once.)


Chelsea and Bayern Munich have comprehensive seven and ten-point leads in their respective leagues. Paris Saint-Germain are involved in a much closer contest.
Bayern’s discipline is very impressive. Their 13 games without cards raises some fascinating issues about their approach to football and officiating in the Bundesliga.
Chelsea are much closer to Bayern’s pattern of discipline than to Paris Saint Germain’s. Chelsea’s middle third of the season was particularly impressive. They had a run of 13 games in which their opponents were carded more than they were. Ironically, they lost their only two games of the season in this period both away from home (versus Newcastle and Tottenham).
I do think there are some important lessons here for game management by coaches and players. Paris Saint-Germain’s season leads to some interesting questions about their approach to games and to officiating in Ligue 1.
As well as the general trends in these data, there are some great opportunities for phenomenographic study of specific games.


There is a mindmap to accompany this post. It can be found here.

Photo Credits

München 11-2014 (117) (Armin Rodler, CC BY-NC 2.0)
QPR 0 Chelsea 1 (cfcunofficial, CC BY-SA 2.0)
München 11-2014 (116) (Armin Rodler, CC BY-NC 2.0)
Maxwell, Javier Pistore, David Luiz and Thiago Silva gather round the ball ahead of a free kick (Ben Sutherland, CC BY 2.0)


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