Counting Cards: Under 4.5 cards at Arsenal and Fulham, Liverpool booked more than Norwich

Not only were we counting cards a fortnight ago in our last column, but we were also counting money as well, as two of our tips came in to give us a nice little profit on the Premier League cards markets.

As predicted, Norwich and West Ham were pretty well behaved, while Chelsea ensured that our tip of two or more yellow cards in the first half at Loftus Road came good. The fact there was no red card at Goodison Park – always a slightly speculative punt – mattered not as profit was secured.

So with the wind in our sails, onwards we go with these three beauties for this weekend.

Under 4.5 cards in Arsenal v Chelsea @ 31/20

Whilst recognising that this a London derby that is bound to be fiercely contested between two sides who have made very good starts to the season, there could be a bit of value in taking a decent odds against price on there being no more than five yellow cards when Arsenal host Chelsea at the Emirates.

I always find a lunchtime kick off can sometimes take the edge off a match in its early stages, and that, as well as a closer inspection of both sides’ disciplinary records (as well as the referee’s statistics) make that 31/20 price look rather big.

Arsenal have only been booked twice in five Premier League matches, while Chelsea have been in the ref’s notebook on seven occasions, which puts them in the middle of the Fair Play table.

Martin Atkinson is never slow in getting his cards out, but only once in seven games this season has the West Yorkshire official booked more than four players and his average bookings thus far is 3.66 a game.

A look at the history of this fixtures shows that, more or less, every other game has five or more bookings but when you see that over 4.5 cards is as short as 9/20, than unders is the value.

Under 3.5 yellow cards in Fulham v Manchester City @ 9/20

Fulham and Manchester City haven’t been in too much trouble with the referees so far this season and there is every chance that will continue when the two sides meet at Craven Cottage.

There have only been nine bookings between these two teams so far this season – four for Fulham, five for Manchester City – and with these two sets of players reasonably well behaved (even last season, when the teams were booked just 51 and 54 times respectively) there is no reason to suggest that the cards will be out in force this afternoon.

Mark Halsey is the referee, and with eyes likely to be on him given what happened at Anfield last weekend and the subsequent fall-out, the Lancashire whistle-blower might want to err on the side of caution with his cards and normally, that is exactly what he does.

Halsey has booked just ten players in five matches, and in three of his fixtures he has shown a yellow card to just one player. There have been no bookings in either of the league matches at Craven Cottage this season, and the 9/20 on three yellow cards or fewer looks nailed on.

Liverpool to receive more yellow cards than Norwich @ 23/20

Both Liverpool and Norwich go in search of their first Premier League win of the season at Carrow Road today, but in what would be a tight encounter the cards markets could be the way to play this one and the Reds look a great price to get more yellow cards than their hosts.

Quite a bit has been made of Norwich’s disciplinary record (especially by this column) but it really is quite remarkable: Jonny Howson’s booking in the 88th minute of the Canaries’ match against Newcastle was the first time a Norwich player has been in the official’s notebook in five league games this season.

That is an incredible record, and there is no reason to think that is going to change as Norwich seem to be playing in Chris Hughton’s image. Whether that explains away why they are struggling is open to debate – are they getting close enough to the opposition? – but that isn’t our concern and the odds against on Liverpool being booked more often is must bet stuff.

The Merseysiders have been booked ten times year – only Aston Villa have have been booked more often – and the 23/20 that they are in trouble more often than Norwich is a great bet.

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