I must admit, cards have never really been my thing before. I’ve never had much of a poker face, I always forget to send my dad one on his birthday and the less said about the time I gave a Valentine’s one to a girl at college, the better for all concerned (although I’ve still got the scar as a constant reminder).
But this is all going to change, bwinners, now that I am going to be taking a look at the card markets in the Premier League matches every weekend and with a lot of research and a healthy faith in the utter incompetence of top-flight referees, there is certainly money to be made and together we can turn a profit quicker than you can say ‘Howard Webb has given a penalty at Old Trafford’.
Before you know it, you’ll be shouting at the TV screen, either waving your imaginary yellow in the air like a poor man’s Roberto Mancini as Lee Cattermole flies into yet another studs-up tackle, or punching the air in frustration as Djibril Cisse gets booked for kicking the ball away, sending your under 1.5 cards bet the same way as one of his tubs of used hair dye.
And so to this weekend, where these three little beauties could make us card happy come Sunday night…
Chelsea v Newcastle to have over 4.5 cards @ 23/20
Phil Dowd takes charge of what could potentially be the match of the weekend at Stamford Bridge and it could be worth backing the card-happy referee to be waving at least five when Newcastle visit Chelsea.
Dowd has never been slow to get his cards out of his pocket and the man once described as ‘unfit’ by Sir Alex Ferguson has picked up from where he finished last term.
In 2011/12, Dowd officiated 28 Premier League games and brandished 105 yellow cards at a rate of 3.75 a match and was at his busy worst last weekend when giving out five yellow cards and a red at the Hawthorns as West Brom beat Liverpool.
Eleven times last season Dowd produced at least five cards and there is a chance a competitive match between two top sides could yield similar results.
Chelsea finished bottom of the fair play league last year, receiving more bookings than anyone else (74) while Newcastle weren’t a great deal better in 13th, with 66 bookings to their name.
Wigan to get more yellow cards than Southampton @ 11/10
The Saints didn’t just win over neutrals with their positive, attacking football and ever-likeable manager last year, they were also nice guys on the pitch and the 11/10 that Wigan pick up more yellow cards than Southampton when they travel to St. Mary’s on Saturday looks a fine bet.
Nigel Adkins’ men played in their manager’s image and their firm but fair attitude meant Saints were top of the fair play league after picking up just 49 bookings in 46 Championship games – this is unlikely to change now they are in the big league.
Wigan, on the other hand, were one of the worst offenders in the top flight last season, with only Chelsea and Aston Villa picking up more bookings than the Latics’ 67. Andrew Taylor, the referee, has booked more players from the away side than the home team in five of his last six fixtures and the 11/10 looks a play here.
Stoke to receive under 1.5 yellow cards @ 11/10
Now this is a bet which, taken on face value, would seem unlikely. But it looks like there is some value in the 11/10 that Stoke get less than two bookings when Arsenal visit the Britannia Stadium on Sunday.
There is no love lost between the clubs, managers and fans in this fixture and the general perception is that Tony Pulis sends his team out to kick Arsenal’s Fancy Dans, much to the annoyance of Arsene Wenger.
But the facts don’t actually bear that out, or at least if Stoke are kicking lumps out of the Gunners, they are getting away with it. Because after a bloodbath of a first meeting on the Potters’ return to the Premier League (six bookings and a red card), in the subsequent four matches Stoke’s yellow card tally in their home games against Arsenal reads: 0,0,1,1.
Admittedly, Ryan Shawcross was sent off in one of those games for the infamous tackle which broke Aaron Ramsey’s leg in six places. But those are the bookings stats and as scarcely believable as it may be, Stoke have been booked twice in four home games against Arsenal.
The man in the middle on this occasion will be Lee Mason and considering he booked just 59 players in 24 Premier League games last year, it could be worth swimming against perceived wisdom on this one.
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