Arsenal v Manchester City and the issue of yellow cards


By Tony Attwood

There is something very odd going on with yellow cards this season.     I’ve mentioned it before, but on that occasion, I must admit I had hoped that there was some sort of glitch and within a few days different sources on whom we rely for statistics would have sorted themselves out.  But no, WhoScored and the Premier League official site still disagree on how many yellow cards each club has had.

And no one else seems to have noticed.

WhoScored do give us a breakdown of the situations from which cards have arisen,  but the Premier League simply give us a total.  Sometimes WS is higher sometimes PL.  There’s no rhyme or reason.

But more than this some of the clubs have had huge numbers of cards so far.  Take Tottenham for example.  Who Scored has them received 25 yellow cards, the Premier League 26.   Last season they got 75 all season – which had them 10th in the yellow card table.  Now if they continue at the present rate they will have 141 cards this season!!!

Which suggests that in a few weeks time they are going to start having payers unable to play because of suspensions.

Here are the figures with the breakdown from Whoscored and just the total from the PL site (which is all they give).

Team Yellow for Fouls Yellow for Unprofessional Yellow for Other Who’s Total Prem Total
1 Liverpool 6 3 9 18 13
2 Tottenham 13 2 11 25 26
3 Nottingham Forest 15 4 6 25 22
4 Wolves 9 3 12 24 21
5 Chelsea 14 2 7 23 22
6 Sheffield United 14 0 9 23 21
7 Brighton 10 2 10 22 22
8 Fulham 12 0 9 21 17
9 Aston Villa 13 0 7 20 20
10 Manchester United 11 1 7 19 19
11 West Ham 14 0 4 18 16
12 Newcastle 11 1 6 18 18
13 Burnley 11 0 6 17 15
14 Manchester City 5 3 5 13 12
15 Luton 7 0 6 13 13
16 Brentford 11 0 2 13 13
17 Everton 10 0 2 12 11
18 Arsenal 7 0 5 12 10
19 Crystal Palace 8 0 3 11 11
20 Bournemouth 7 0 4 11 11


So let us look in a little more detail at Arsenal.

Who Scored has Arsenal as the lowest yellow card total of 10.  Whether we look at the Premier League’s own figures or the WhoScored figures, Arsenal’s number of yellow cards is half the number of Tottenham’s, which is rather extraordinary.

And now let us compare like with like: The Premier League’s own figures for this season and last season.

Club Yellow 2021/2 Yellow 2022/23 Est 2022/23 Difference
Arsenal 52 10 52 0
Tottenham 75 26 141 +66


These figures really are quite extraordinary, and I really am not at all sure how one might explain them, except that Arsenal’s figures are staying exactly the same (obviously) while Tottenham’s have gone up by 88%.

Now of course Tottenham do have a new manager so that could well be the source of the problem.  So let’s try it with someone else.

Manchester City are estimated this season to have 65 yellow cards.  Last season they had 44, which means they are, like Tottenham, looking at an estimated rise, although in their case it is by just under half – 48% to be correct.

But what really bemuses me here is that no one seems to be commenting on the Tottenham figures.  I mean they are utterly extraordinary, and yet there is silence.  No one seems to be calling them the dirtiest team the league has ever seen, or anything.  Yet these numbers are bizarre.

Of course we have seen high numbers before.  Leeds United in 2021/2 got 101 yellow cards but Tottenham’s estimated 141 is 40% higher than that which we have seen before.

It really is the weirdest thing.  However the Daily Mail has offered an explanation saying,

“This season, whenever more than one player approaches the referee, at least one of those players, and potentially more, will be shown an automatic yellow card. 

“Any player that runs from distance to approach match officials are more likely to be booked.”

So maybe that is it.  Although that doesn’t really explain why Arsenal players have managed to learn the new rule and others haven’t.

However, we can say that at least Arsenal and Manchester City have got the hang of the new regulations.

One Reply to “Arsenal v Manchester City and the issue of yellow cards”

  1. Bissouma has received 6 yellow cards in 8 PL games this season, and will have to serve his first suspension after the international break.

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