Never mind the BBC, the Card Shark is having an inquest into what the hell happened last weekend when none of our three selections came in for the first time since the column started in August. Our performance in front of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in the week has led to the tabloids calling for heads to roll, but seeing as there is only me here and I can’t really sack myself, I am defiantly stating it’s going to be business as usual.
And to be fair, last week was the first really bad week we’ve had and after three weeks of pure profit, I’m sure you can let it slide and just put it down to the law of averages, you can’t win ’em all or any of those other cliches that get trotted out to make you feel better about not winning any money.
But this is a new week and these three selections can get us back on track until the media frenzy dies down.
Aston Villa to receive more cards than Norwich City @ 17/10
Paul Lambert welcomes (if that is the right word) his old club to his new one on Saturday lunchtime in what is now a grudge match of epic proportions and in what is sure to be a lively encounter, there is a price in the cards market that looks too good to ignore.
From the outset, Lambert’s defection from Aston Villa to Norwich seemed to be fraught and unseemly, and the fact that both parties are now suing each other over the incident has not only left a bitter taste, but made this match potentially explosive.
But with ill-feeling on both sides, Villa should not be as big as 17/10 to get more yellow cards than their visitors. I realise there is an argument that the Canaries will be fired up for this, but then so will the Villans, as Lambert will have them as pumped as at any time this season.
And the facts are that with 18 yellow cards, no side have been booked more than Villa this season and with City in the notebook just six times, take the 17/10 that a season trend continues.
Under 2.5 bookings in Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur @ evens
On paper, this looks like a contest between two sides who play the game in the right spirit and are more interested in getting the ball down and playing rather than getting stuck in. And with the statistics actually backing that theory up, the match between Southampton and Tottenham could be relatively card-free.
The Saints have been booked just ten times in eight games and Tottenham nine, which means in 16 games between them they have been booked just 19 times.
That makes up an average of 1.19 bookings a match and I see no reason why this will suddenly become a card-fest. Five of Southampton’s eight league games so far this season have seen less than three yellow cards, while four of Tottenham’s have seen two or fewer.
Spurs have only been booked three times in three away league matches and at even money, it is worth taking a chance on under 2.5 bookings.
A red card to be shown in Everton v Liverpool @ 5/2
It may seem like a bit of an obvious shout given the recent history between these two sides, but it would be remiss of a column about cards not to tip up a sending off in the Merseyside derby.
Considering this was known for years and years as ‘the friendly derby’ (a situation that could well return after the way both clubs came together when the recent revelations about Hillsborough were made public), on the pitch it has been uglier than Phil Neville. In the Premier League era, no other fixture has seen more red cards handed out than Everton v Liverpool.
There have been 20 red cards in the meetings between red and blue since 1992, which is six more than any other fixture has produced over that period (the second also features Everton, this time against Newcastle). There have been three red cards in the last six matches in all competitions and at 5/2, it must be worth having a punt on Sunday seeing another player taking an early bath.