Naughty Hammer Nayef!


Following on from a CandH piece yesterday on added minutes in Premier League games, there is in fact a correlation with the amount of yellow cards being dished out.

According to the various stat sites, this season we are finding that games are averaging 1.68 cards per game for either dissent or time-wasting, up from 0.47 per game last season. So, that’s 0.84 per team per game compared to 0.23 last season, meaning 0.61 more cards for dissent or time-wasting every game for every team.

Nayef Aguerd-West Ham-Saudi

If this were to continue over the entire season, teams would pick up, on average, 23.1 more cards each. Chances are, most teams would then end up with more suspensions for players racking up five or 10 yellow cards.

Whether or not referees have been told to be stricter, more red cards are being given out for two bookable offences too, as we already know to our cost.

Naughty boy Nayef !

 So far in 2023-24, there have been four dismissals given to players for receiving two yellow cards – a rate of one every 4.8 games. Last season, just 13 such dismissals were dished out – a rate of one every 29 games.

It probably wasn’t the intention of the game’s lawmakers when they decided to bring in these new directives to see an increase in suspensions, but it is a likely consequence.

More frequent suspensions would be yet another advantage to the bigger teams with more resources. They are the teams best set up to contend with playing without important first-team players, after all.

There is also an argument that the best and most dominant teams are less likely to be in situations when they might feel they need to waste time. Should the worst teams really be expected not to slow games down if they are clinging on to a slender and invaluable lead?

The intention is laudable but don’t expect that to happen right away. It takes a long time for players to change their habits, especially when screaming at the ref or taking a long time to take a throw-in when you’re winning, is so ingrained in the game.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon