The new ‘Counting Cards’ feature returns for a second time this week as we take a look at the weekend’s Premier League fixtures and try to second guess what each team, in conjunction with our ever incompetent refereeing friends, might get up to in relation to the cards markets.
And to be honest, we have a bit of making up to do this week after a pretty dodgy debut two weeks ago. In fact, as debuts go, the one delivered by Counting Cards was somewhere between Jonathon Woodgate’s for Real Madrid and the guy who Graeme Souness thought was George Weah’s cousin all those years ago when in charge of Southampton. Except at least Woodgate actually got among the cards that day, while poor old Ali Dia was given the hook after 20 minutes before he could embarrass himself even further.
But we are putting all that down to first day-nerves and this week’s selections, which include a punt on a red card, look like they can make us a bit of money over the weekend.
More than 1.5 yellow cards in the first half of QPR v Chelsea @ 31/50
Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea had terrible disciplinary records last term and in what is bound to be a highly charged west London derby at Loftus Road, there is every chance there are going to be cards and it is worth getting on there being at least two in the first half.
No side were booked more than Chelsea last season (74) while Rangers had a man sent off more than any other team (nine) and with the added spice of a derby – not to mention the John Terry/Anton Ferdinand affair – I expect a highly charged match and more than a few cards.
Andre Marriner has been among the cards, too. The Midlands ref has brandished 19 yellows and one red in his last five Premier League matches, as well as six yellows and a red in a Champions League qualifier between PAOK and Rapid Wien in August. With that form, and a feisty derby to be played out, cards are highly likely.
Under 3.5 yellow cards in Norwich v West Ham @ 3/5
Early afternoon kick-offs can often take a while to get going before anything happens and that counts for bookings as well as goals – so it is worth looking towards the 3/5 that there are fewer than four cards when West Ham travel to Norwich.
Incredibly, Norwich are yet to receive a booking in three Premier League games so far (which gives you some idea of how they play) and the trio of games involving the Canaries have seen just three yellows given to the opposition, too.
West Ham have received just four bookings themselves, all coming in the one match, and there is every reason to believe there will be three or less cards at Carrow Road, especially with Chris Foy in charge. Foy has booked just three players in two games this year and averaged just 2.25 bookings a match over 35 fixtures last campaign.
One red card in Everton v Newcastle @ 18/5
We might be going out on a limb here tipping a red card, but there is logic and (more importantly) statistics to back up what could end up being a nice little bet at 18/5.
On the face of it, there seems to be no animosity between Everton and Newcastle United, certainly not compared to some of the rivalries that exist in the Premier League, but this is a match that has a penchant for sending offs.
Over the Premier League era, only the explosive Merseyside derby has seen more red cards (20) than the 13 produced in the fixture between the Blues and the Toon, and with Mike Jones in charge on Monday night, there is a chance that number could extend to 14.
Jones brandished nine red cards last year, more than any other regular top-flight ref other than Martin Atkinson. The Cheshire official oversaw 33 games and averages a sending off every 3.6 matches. The floodlit Goodison will be his fourth game this term and the 18/5 is worth a play.
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