After a good, profitable week two columns ago, last week the Card Shark was more ill-judged than an Ashley Cole tweet with only one of our selections (Fulham v Manchester City) coming in: it would have been two were it not for Ramires’ injury-time booking for Chelsea at Arsenal, which denied us a 31/20 winner.
But this week we’re hoping to do an Ed Miliband and regain your confidence, so without further ado, here are this week’s selections.
West Ham to be booked more than Arsenal @ Evens
To say there is something of a culture clash happening at Upton Park on Saturday evening is an understatement and it could be that West Ham v Arsenal follows the perceived wisdom when it comes to the bookings market.
Sam Allardyce’s, er, shall we say ‘agricultural’ style of football goes against Arsene Wenger’s urbane sophistication and even if it plays to every cliche in the book, West Ham have to be backed at even money to receive more yellow cards than the Gunners.
The Hammers are the most booked team in the Premier League so far with 15 bookings, eight of which came on Monday night against QPR, while Wenger’s side have only been booked four times in six matches. Phil Dowd likes to get his cards out, having booked 24 players in six games this year, and with Arsenal sure to monopolise possession I see the even money on more home bookings as a sure bet.
(Read a full betting preview of West Ham v Arsenal here)
Under 3.5 yellow cards in Fulham v Southampton @ 7/10
Southampton and Fulham both have a reputation for being teams that aren’t aggressive lump-kickers and with that image proving true so far this season, it is worth backing there to be few cards when the sides meet at St Mary’s on Sunday.
Both the Saints and the Cottagers have kept out of trouble with referees this term and this fixture is one where the official – even if it is Mark Clattenburg – should be keeping his cards in his pocket.
There have only been eight bookings between the two all season (four apiece) so the 7/10 on there being fewer than four on Sunday looks fair to me.
Clattenburg booked ten players and showed a red card in Monday’s London derby between QPR and West Ham at Loftus Road, but in his other four fixtures he has brandished two, four, three and one yellow cards, so he hasn’t been too card-happy and I think the players on show won’t give him much opportunity to be so.
(Read a full betting preview of Fulham v Southampton here)
Aston Villa to be booked more than Tottenham @ 3/5
Aston Villa have been among the worst offenders in the Premier League this season and the 3/5 that they receive more yellow cards than their hosts Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday looks a cracking price.
Paul Lambert’s side have been booked 13 times in six games this season – only West Ham have seen yellow more often – and they look set to be in trouble with ref Neil Swarbrick more often than a Spurs team who have only been booked five times in half a dozen matches.
Villa are particularly bad away from home, where they have been booked eight times, compared to Spurs’ two at White Hart Lane. And with Swarbrick having booked the away team more often in four of the five matches he has overseen, the 3/5 on Villa looks a good thing.
(Read a full betting preview of Aston Villa v Tottenham here)
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