- Watch the Arsenal goal again, and again; plus some weird and odd statistics
- Sevilla v Arsenal: the team and a headlong rush into media negativity
- Arsenal take on the Tottenham Hotspur of Spain tonight
By Tony Attwood
Let’s put this another way: Why is football journalism so averse to asking interesting questions?
Like, why are Tottenham Hotspur, currently top of the league, getting so many yellow cards? 29 in fact. OK not the most (that is Wolverhampton Wanderers with 31) but second (equal with Chelsea), and followed closely by the likes of Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest.
Or put another way, why is Tottenham adopting the approach of clubs from the lower parts of the league (Chelsea are currently 11th) in order to maintain its position at the top?
Is it perhaps because the referees have got it in for Tottenham? Or are they using illegal tactics to achieve and maintain their position at the top? The Express did comment on one of Tottenham’s yellow cards tally noting, “Maddison was not happy at a decision from referee Peter Bankes. He put his hands on his head and slumped to the floor to express his disbelief.” But they didn’t go on to note that Tottenham are currently heading for an all time record number of yellow cards in the Premier League.
Yet surely these are interesting points and interesting questions worthy of debate. And to see why that so, let’s look at last season (Yellow 2022/3 in the table below), how many each of the top 10 clubs has this season (Yellow after 13 games) and what this will mean if things carry on like this (the last column on the right).
|Pos||Team||Yellows 2022/3||Yellow 2023/24 after 13 games||Yellow after 38 games Est 2023/24|
|6||Brighton and Hove Albion||59||25||106|
The numbers look as if they will grow significantly and clubs will be penalised for that – although as far as I know the penalties for multiple yellow cards remain the same as before.
The PFSA website explains:
- Five yellows accumulated before match week 19 results in a one-match ban.
- Ten yellows accumulated by week 32 will result in a two-match ban.
- Fifteen yellows by week 38 means a three-match ban.
- Twenty yellows in a season can result in the Regulatory Commission punishing the player in a manner that they deem to be most fitting.
In other words there is no punishment for the club or the team, just punishments for players, so clubs with totals heading into the 40s will know they are teetering on the edge if they haven’t already gone past it in terms of an individual player getting five cards. Tottenham are on 29 cards after 13 games which is starting to look dangerous.
And that is especially because cards are not evenly spaced out among the team. If we look at the situation as it stands we can see a whole raft of players either on the five card level or about to hit it, probably next weekend.
Tottenham have one player on four cards and two players on three. West Ham have two players on five yellow and one on four cards already. Chelsea have one player on five cards , and three on three, and we have only played a third of the season!
Other records are tumbling. Goal.com for example noted that “The 13 bookings in Tottenham’s win over Sheffield United set a new Premier League record for most yellow cards in a single game.” Interestingly they didn’t really contemplate why or comment on Tottenham’s sillyness at letting that happen.
Does it mean that Tottenham have found that the approach used by Wolverhampton, Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest (currently 12th, 20th and 15th in the league) which leads to lots of cards is a good approach to use at the top of the league? That might be so, which doesn’t bode well for the image of English football. Or does it say more about how Tottenham are playing?
Or should we contemplate what the PGMO is up to, or how clubs such as Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City (all sitting on roughly half the number of cards Tottenham have suffered) are achieving their success without all the cards?
Well, we have to work all that out by ourselves, because according to the media, yellow cards are not a story. I think that might be because Arsenal are not shown in a bad light so no journalist wants to know, but maybe there are other reasons.
- Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers: where will each team finish?
- Arsenal v Lens: what we found, what we felt, what they did
- Arsenal v Lens: the team, the home/away form and the strange coincidences
- Arsenal v Lens: they had a poor start but are now flying
- Where there is power, money and greed there is corruption