The Analyst: Newcastle should pick up points under Howe but for bookings rather than wins

Andy Schooler drags out the key stats that punters need for their Premier League card bets and believes there will be little change at Newcastle under Howe - at least when it comes to discipline.

Newcastle have the second-worst disciplinary record in the Premier League this season but anyone expecting them to improve under Eddie Howe may be disappointed.

Under Howe, Bournemouth finished in the bottom five of the Fair Play table when they were relegated in 2019/20, while a recall for Fabian Schar will also keep the referees busy - Schar has been booked in 24 of his 67 Premier League appearances.

The Magpies have hit 20+ booking points in 10 of their 12 games and face an Arsenal side this weekend that have only seen more cards than their opponents in three of their 12 outings.

Chelsea and Liverpool are the joint cleanest sides, which may be a reflection of the possession stats, with the teams sitting second and third in that particular table. 

A standout fixture for punters interested in the cards markets is Leeds' trip to Brighton on Saturday. Marcelo Bielsa's side, despite sitting fourth in the possession stats, lead the way in the 'most cards' market, while the Seagulls have received more cards than anyone else.

Card figures are actually up considerably on last season, suggesting the return of fans has had a major part to play.

Last season, during which the vast majority of games were played in empty grounds, the yellow-cards-per-game average was just 2.88, almost a half a card down on the previous campaign. The last season played entirely in front of full crowds was 2018/19 and that produced an average of 3.21.

This season, that average is up at 3.72.

In this piece, we look at the card figures behind teams and players in England's top flight, but let's start with a look at the other key men in these markets - the referees.

Which Premier League refs are the strictest?

Darren England yellow card Crystal Palace vs Newcastle Oct21

It's fairly early days - most referees are still in single figures for games - but so far Australian import Jarred Gillett has proved the most card-happy official of those to have taken charge of multiple games.

However, his six yellows-per-game average has come across just two matches. A better data sample comes from second-placed Peter Bankes - 29 yellows shown in five games.

Kevin Friend, Darren England (pictured above) and David Coote are the other officials averaging more than five yellows per game - each has also shown at least one red.

Given the pretty small data sample available, it's also worth looking back at last season to get a longer-term picture.

Paul Tierney was last season's strictest Premier League referee. He's currently just above the average with 3.78 cards per game. His figure across 2020/21 was 3.9.

Mike Dean is well known for his no-nonsense approach when it comes to cards - he's been in the top three of the strict list in each of the last three seasons, topping it in 2018/19.

However, this season, he's below the league average, having shown 3.38 yellows per game and no reds.

Which Premier League refs are the most lenient?

Jon Moss and Man City's Kyle Walker Sep21

Despite having shown two red cards, Jonathan Moss claims the most lenient honour thus far. He's produced just 16 yellows in his eight games.

Andy Madley (2.4) and Martin Atkinson (2.44) are the others to have a yellows-per-game average below 3.

While they have only taken charge of a handful of matches, it's worth pointing out all three were below the league average last season too so they have earned a fairly long-standing reputation for leniency.

Which Premier League teams and players are best for cards?

Arsenal - booking points and player cards

Granit Xhaka red card Arsenal Aug21

Arsenal are a team long remembered for having something of a chequered history in terms of cards, going back to the days of Patrick Vieira.

One thing often thrown at Arsene Wenger was his inability to rein in his 'bad boys' but that's not been an issue for Mikel Arteta this season.

Some of that is undoubtedly due to Granit Xhaka's long-term injury. Sent off at Manchester City early in the season, he's been a regular card collector in the Premier League and his return cannot come soon enough for card-backing punters!

Booking points

20+ booking points - 6 of 12

30+ booking points - 3 of 12

Most cards - 3 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Albert Sambi Lokonga - 4 times

(Last season - Hector Bellerin, 9 (since left))

Aston Villa - booking points and player cards

John McGinn tackle on Pablo Fornals Villa vs West Ham Oct21

Villa's John McGinn was the Premier League's most-carded player in 2020/21 with 12 and the Scottish midfield terrier is already up and running with four this season.

McGinn has actually reached that 12 mark in three of his last four seasons, once in Villa's promotion season in the Championship and once for Hibs in the Scottish Premiership.

He's helped Villa hit 20+ booking points more often than not this term. Whether that changes under Steven Gerrard's stewardship remains to be seen.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 9 of 12

30+ booking points - 6 of 12

Most cards - 3 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

John McGinn - 4

Tyrone Mings - 4

(Last season - John McGinn, 12)

Brentford - booking points and player cards

Brentford's Frank Onyeka tackle vs Forest Green

It's been a pretty calm Brentford side we've seen so far in the Premier League - hardly a surprise to those who watched them in the Championship.

Only Reading were carded less often in the second tier in 2020/21.

One potential angle for punters is to follow midfielder Frank Onyeka. He was carded in 11 of his 39 starts for Midtjylland last season, following on from 12 in 32 in 2019/20. Despite making only seven starts, Onyeka is already in the top six for fouls conceded in the Premier League so should be expected to pick up more bookings in the near future.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 6 of 12

30+ booking points - 4 of 12

Most cards - 3 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Christian Norgaard - 4

(Last season (in Championship) - Vitaly Janelt & Ivan Toney, 9)

Brighton - booking points and player cards

Yves Bissouma Brighton red card Sep20

Brighton have seen more yellow cards (32) than any other team across the first 12 games of the campaign.

As shown below, they've regularly collected 20+ booking points and often delivered for their backers in the 'most cards' market.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 10 of 12

30+ booking points - 5 of 12

Most cards - 6 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Shane Duffy - 4

Joel Veltman - 4

Adam Lallana - 4

(Last season - Yves Bissouma, 9)

Burnley - booking points and player cards

Ashley Westwood booked Burnley Dec20

Burnley's card figures are pretty high but speak to Sean Dyche and he'll tell you referees often buy in too much to his side's reputation.

Jurgen Klopp was particularly critical of Burnley's approach earlier this season and it could certainly be an interesting game when the pair meet again in February.

James Tarkowski and Ashley Westwood both reached five bookings last weekend so they will miss Sunday's home game with Spurs - a big blow to the Clarets' hopes of continuing what has been a decent recent run. Burnley are the first team to have two players reach that five-bookings mark.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 10 of 12

30+ booking points - 5 of 12

Most cards - 6 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

James Tarkowski - 5

Ashley Westwood - 5

Josh Brownhill - 4

(Last season - Ashley Westwood, 7)

Chelsea - booking points and player cards

Thomas Tuchel Antonio Rudiger Chelsea Sep21

Chelsea famously tightened up under Thomas Tuchel last season, improving so much they went on to become European champions.

The German had a similar effect in terms of the club's discipline and they've regularly landed under 20 booking points, often avoiding cards completely.

After 12 games of this season, no Premier League side has seen fewer cards.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 3 of 12

30+ booking points - 2 of 12

Most cards - 3 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Marcos Alonso - 2

Antonio Rudiger - 2

Edouard Mendy - 2

(Last season - N'Golo Kante, 7)

Crystal Palace - Booking points and player cards

Conor Gallagher foul on Harvey Barnes Crystal Palace Leicester Oct21

Palace's style of play has changed significantly under Patrick Vieira and their discipline stats are on the rise.

They are committing almost a foul more per game than last season, reflecting the fact they are happier to press rather than drop deep as they often did under Roy Hodgson. They remain in the middle of the fair-play table, however.

In terms of players, one man stands out - Conor Gallagher. Only Villa's John McGinn picked up more cards last season (Gallagher was at West Brom at the time) and he's already very much up and running this term.

One player potentially going under the bookies' radar is Tyrick Mitchell. Only Everton's Allan has made more tackles than the full-back - always one of the best positions in terms of picking up cards - this season so Mitchell may find it hard to keep out of referees' notebooks.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 8 of 12

30+ booking points - 4 of 12

Most cards - 3 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Joachim Andersen - 3

Conor Gallagher - 3

James McArthur - 3

Joel Ward - 3

Christian Benteke - 3

(Last season - Luka Milivojevic, 9)

Everton - booking points and player cards

Richarlison about to be booked by Lee Mason Jul20

A pretty middle-of-the-road team in card terms, as shown by the fact they've hit 20+ booking points in exactly half of their games.

Player cards see Richarlison, Lucas Digne and Abdoulaye Doucoure making the early running despite the fact all three have missed matches already this season due to injury.

The former picking up a suspension and missing this weekend's trip to Brentford is a big blow to a struggling side already without their main goalscoring threat, Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 6 of 12

30+ booking points - 3 of 12

Most cards - 4 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Richarlison - 5

Lucas Digne - 3

Abdoulaye Doucoure - 3

(Last season - Mason Holgate, 9)

Leeds - Booking points and player cards

Liam Cooper Leeds walks after red card Apr21

'Dirty Leeds' are your best friends when it comes to the 20+ booking points market - they've seen at least two cards in a league-high 10 of their opening 12 games.

They've also been handy to have onside in the 'most cards' market, landing that bet more often than not, one of only two sides to do so.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 10 of 12

30+ booking points - 6 of 12

Most cards - 7 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Rodrigo - 4

Liam Cooper - 4

Raphinha - 3

(Last season - Kalvin Phillips, 10)

Leicester - booking points and player cards

Leicester's Jonny Evans is booked by Martin Atkinson Feb21

The Foxes have been arguably the biggest disappointment in this season's Premier League in terms of results - few would have predicted them to be in the bottom half after 12 games.

To be fair, injuries have hit hard and it's notable that two of those affected, Jonny Evans and Wesley Fofana, were last season's most-carded players.

Perhaps Brendan Rodgers needs to tell his players to get stuck in a bit more…

Booking points

20+ booking points - 5 of 12

30+ booking points - 3 of 12

Most cards - 4 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Harvey Barnes - 2

Caglar Soyuncu - 2

Jamie Vardy - 2

Jonny Evans - 2

Wilfred Ndidi - 2

(Last season - Jonny Evans & Wesley Fofana, 7)

Liverpool - booking points and player cards

Liverpool's Fabinho booked by Craig Pawson

Here's a remarkable statistic - in every one of Jurgen Klopp's full seasons at Anfield, Liverpool have finished top of the Premier League's fair-play table.

And, sure enough, in 2021/22, no-one has received fewer cards than the Reds - just 14 in their opening 12 games.

High possession rates lower the need to make tackles so Liverpool games are ones to avoid if you are looking to play the cards market - unless, of course, you are aiming for the unders.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 4 of 12

30+ booking points - 2 of 12

Most cards - 2 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Fabinho - 3

James Milner - 2

Andrew Robertson - 2

(Last season - Fabinho, 6)

Manchester City - booking points and player cards

Manchester City's Aymeric Laporte about to be sent off by Andre Marriner Oct21

Like Liverpool under Klopp, City's discipline has been pretty good under Pep Guardiola, albeit not up to their north-west rivals' level.

Notably it's got worse in times of trouble and with City clearly facing a proper title challenge this season, it's interesting to see they've already delivered for 'most cards' backers as often as they haven't - at good prices too.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 6 of 12

30+ booking points - 3 of 12

Most cards - 6 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Aymeric Laporte - 4

Joao Cancelo - 3

Bernardo Silva - 3

(Last season - Rodri & Fernandinho, 6)

Manchester United - booking points and player cards

Fred and Mike Dean Man Utd Dec19

United became a real cards team under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer so it will be interesting to see if things change following his departure from Old Trafford.

Only the relegated duo of Sheffield United and Fulham saw more cards last season, while just five sides have received more in the current campaign. The Red Devils have proved a great team to back in the most cards market - they've landed in seven times out of 12 with no side having a better record.

They have card regulars too - Paul Pogba, Fred, Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire (last season's most-carded player at Old Trafford) have long been short prices in the 'to be carded' market.

The Shaw-Maguire-Fred treble has already landed twice this season (against Liverpool and Spurs).

Booking points

20+ booking points - 7 of 12

30+ booking points - 6 of 12

Most cards - 7 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Paul Pogba - 5

Fred - 4

Luke Shaw - 4

Harry Maguire - 4

Bruno Fernandes - 3

(Last season - Harry Maguire, 11)

Newcastle - booking points and player cards

Fabian Schar Newcastle United May21

With 31 yellows and one red already received this season, only Brighton have worse discipline than Newcastle so far this season.

Not surprisingly, that's reflected in their card-related betting stats. They've hit 20+ booking points in 10 of their 12 games (no side has a higher ratio) and have seen more cards than their opponents as often as the have not.

One player worth noting is Fabian Schar. He returned to the starting line-up in Eddie Howe's first game in charge. The Swiss defender wasn't booked but he was in his two other appearances this season - something that sums up his time in the Premier League. He's been carded in 24 of his 67 PL appearances.

It's worth mentioning that Howe's Bournemouth finished in the bottom five of the fair-play table when they were relegated in 2019/20.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 10 of 12

30+ booking points - 6 of 12

Most cards - 6 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Matt Ritchie - 4

Jamaal Lascelles - 4

Callum Wilson - 4

Isaac Hayden - 3

(Last season - Isaac Hayden, 8)

Norwich - booking points and player cards

Pierre Lees-Melou Nice Jan21

As already shown, relegated teams made a big impression in terms of cards last season and Norwich are beginning to make inroads on that front too.

Aston Villa were high in the poor discipline stakes last season under Dean Smith, seeing four red cards, and with Norwich very much in a relegation fight, his new team may well be worth following for cards in the coming weeks.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 8 of 12

30+ booking points - 5 of 12

Most cards - 6 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Mathias Normann - 4

Pierre Lees-Melou - 3

Max Aarons - 3

Brandon Williams - 3

(Last season (in Championship) - Oliver Skipp, 7 - since left)

Southampton - booking points and player cards

Oriol Romeu Southampton Aug21

Build-a-bet fans should note the fact that Southampton have been hitting 20+ booking points regularly this season.

And a man who often puffs up a Bet Builder price is the tough-tackling Oriol Romeu.

He topped the Premier League card standings in 2017/18 with 11 and hit the same number the following season. Last term he picked up a card in six of his 20 starts.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 9 of 12

30+ booking points - 3 of 12

Most cards - 2 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Mohammed Salisu - 4

Moussa Djenepo - 3

Oriol Romeu - 3

Kyle Walker-Peters - 3

(Last season - Oriol Romeu & Jan Bednarek, 6)

Tottenham - booking points and player cards

Bryan Gil Tottenham Nuno Aug21

Will a change in manager result in a change of disciplinary traits?

Antonio Conte is a boss who likes his centre forward to put himself about - Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata were card regulars in his Chelsea days - so perhaps Harry Kane could be one to follow in the coming weeks. He's certainly got a bit to prove after a poor start to the season.

An under-the-radar card play could be Bryan Gil, if and when he gets a chance. The winger was carded in six of 26 La Liga starts for Eibar last season and in four of his 14 appearances for Sevilla in 2019/20. The Spaniard has already been booked on multiple occasions in the Europa Conference League for Spurs.

Further back, it's noteworthy that right-back Emerson Royal already sits second in the Premier League tackles list despite having only played nine matches.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 7 of 12

30+ booking points - 4 of 12

Most cards - 4 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Oliver Skipp - 5

Cristian Romero - 4

(Last season - Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, 9)

Watford - booking points and player cards

Emmanuel dennis Watford challenge Sep21

A round of applause for Watford's Emmanuel Dennis, who was the first man to five Premier League cards this season, thus earning himself a suspension after just nine appearances.

He's now on six - more than any other Premier League player - and also leads the fouls table so the Nigerian is clearly one to keep an eye on going forward.

Team-mate Juraj Kucka is second on that particular list - he had eight cards in 28 Serie A starts last season, plus six in 22 the season before, and has also been carded regularly for the Czech national team.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 9 of 12

30+ booking points - 7 of 12

Most cards - 4 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Emmanuel Dennis - 6

Peter Etebo - 3

(Last season (in Championship) - Nathaniel Chalobah, 12 - since left)

West Ham - Booking points and player cards

Tomas Soucek West Ham Mike Dean red card Feb21

David Moyes' teams have always known how to get up for the fight but his high-flying West Ham have managed to keep things in check so far - they've collected just 14 cards this season, putting them level with Liverpool and Chelsea in terms of good behaviour.

Moyes has made few changes to his Premier League team this season and it will be worth keeping an eye on them in terms of suspensions as players reach four bookings - remember the card 'amnesty' comes after 19 games.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 6 of 12

30+ booking points - 1 of 12

Most cards - 5 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Declan Rice - 4

Pablo Fornals - 3

(Last season - Tomas Soucek, 8)

Wolves - booking points and player cards

Yesron Mosquera Wolves Carabao Cup injury Sep21

As was the case last season, Wolves are a pretty average side in terms of card collection - they are already in mid-table in the fair-play league which is where they finished in 2020/21.

Some advice for later in the season is to keep an eye on centre-back Yerson Mosquera, a 20-year-old Colombian signed in the summer.

He received nine cards in his 24 games for Atletico Nacional in his homeland before heading to England. Sadly a knee injury picked up in the Carabao Cup has left him sidelined until the New Year.

Booking points

20+ booking points - 6 of 12

30+ booking points - 4 of 12

Most cards - 3 of 12

Player(s) with most cards

Ruben Neves - 4

Romain Saiss - 3

(Last season - Ruben Neves, 8)

READ MORE: Bookies have their say on just how far Cristiano Ronaldo can carry Manchester United this season

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