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Football | Friday, March 1, 2024 1:08 PM

The Cards Column Tips: MD27 Player Cards, Team Bookings and Referee Data

The Cards Column Tips: MD27 Player Cards, Team Bookings and Referee Data
IMAGO / ANP - Waturu Endo of Liverpool FC during the UEFA Europa League.

We’ve got a full fixture list to get stuck into across the Premier League and EFL, including a Manchester derby. So, Matt Kirby is on hand to bring you the latest referee data and some of his favourite cards and bookings tips.

Odds via bet365 and Sky Bet as of 21:30, February 29th 2024. Odds may now differ.

The Data from the Premier League and the Championship: Team Bookings and Referee Data

Andy Madley is the man tasked with keeping the peace at the Etihad in Sunday’s Manchester derby, as United visit City. After winning the EFL Cup last weekend, Liverpool make the trip to the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest – a game which Paul Tierney is in charge of.

There are derbies in the Championship for Sam Allison and Lewis Smith. There’s another trial game at this level for Thomas Kirk, while Select Group 1 Thomas Bramall also finds himself in the second tier.

The Data from League One and League Two: Team Bookings and Referee Data

Card-happy Thomas Parsons takes charge of a relegation six-pointer between Cheltenham and Burton in League One. There’s a Lancashire derby for Jeremy Simpson between Fleetwood and Wigan. Bobby Madley has Lincoln versus Stevenage.

The ‘Dons derby’ can get tasty, so seeing Charles Breakspear with the whistle in that one should bring cards into play. Meanwhile, Ruebyn Ricardo and Farai Hallam have further trial games in League Two after overseeing matches in midweek.

Stoke vs Middlesbrough: Take cards in the Potteries

England, Championship, Saturday, March 2nd, 15:00 (UK)

We’ll start this weekend in the Championship, where Stoke’s slump has seen them slide into the bottom three. They welcome Middlesbrough to the Bet365 Stadium in a game that could see a few cards.

It’s just one win in seven league games for the Potters, which sees the pressure firmly on Steven Schumacher to turn things around. Yet they face an unpredictable Boro side that won away at leaders Leicester one week, then lost to Plymouth the next – a head-scratcher for Michael Carrick.

Now, onto the cards. Only Southampton (46) have seen more yellow cards in home games than Stoke (45). That’s an average of 2.7 for the Potters in front of their fans, with 13 of their 17 at the ‘Betting Bowl’ seeing them pick up two or more.

That’s a solid foundation with the side battling for their second-tier status. Meanwhile, Boro average 2.1 yellows on the road and have hit 2+ in eight of their last 11 on their travels, including four cards at Leicester.

What helps the case for cards is that these two sides both sit in the top 10 for fouls committed per game – Stoke at 12.3 with Middlesbrough at 11.3. That should keep referee John Busby busy.

And if you combine those team foul averages, you’ll get something near what Bubsy tends to give, with the official averaging 22.6 free-kicks per game.

More importantly, Busby has had a productive 2024 with his six league games producing card counts of 6, 6, 4, 6, 2 & 6 – four times he’s shown six is high by any ref’s standards.

But if you look at those splits, those sixes have been 3-3, so he is even-handed. That’s backed by the fact that from the 13 times he’s dished out 4+ cards, 11 of those have seen at least a split of two each.

Busby oversaw Boro’s defeat at Bristol City in November – which saw four cards split two each. While the referee returns to Stoke for the first time since the opening weekend – a game he showed nine yellows and one red – five Potters players entered his notebook.

When the sides met at the Riverside in October, Stoke ran out 2-0 winners. That game saw four cards with the perfect two-each split. Something that surprises me given the referee that day, Andrew Kitchen, is currently the lowest-cards issuer of the Select Group 2 officials.

Everything points quite nicely towards cards with the team averages, fouls and referee. What boosts hope is the rallying call Stoke’s interim technical director Super Jon Walters has given to the players and fans. There’s meaning to this game, so it could well be on the edge.

  • Selection: Both Teams to Receive 2+ Cards (TRACKED BET)
  • Best Odds: 2.00
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 10/10

Japhet Tanganga To Be Booked: Hornets to gang up on Japhet

England, Championship, Saturday, March 2nd, 15:00 (UK)

There might be a suggestion that Millwall and Watford don’t get on. Their recent meetings have produced plenty of cards with 20 yellows and a red across their last five.

The two most recent clashes have produced 11 yellows and a red, so with Millwall gearing up to welcome home Neil Harris, things could be spicy at The Den.

You won’t believe me when I say this, but I had Japhet Tanganga on my radar last week. However, his price shortened before I got around to penning the preview, so ended up swerving. Typically, he was booked early on at Southampton.

But this week has seen his price remain steady at 4.00, and I feel that’s worth taking. The Spurs loanee has now been booked in his last two starts and was lucky to escape sanction at Coventry for his three fouls.

Despite being a central defender, he still wins his fair share of tackles, making two in each of his five starts. But his seven fouls across his last four – to go with a couple of cards – take my eye.

Gavin Ward could be an official who gets overawed by the crowd, so if tensions are high, the cards could fly.

Ward booked four Millwall players in their win at Boro on the opening weekend. Plus, he booked two more in their 4-0 thrashing of Sheffield Wednesday. So, he’s taken a few names of Tanganga’s team-mates.

What also catches the eye is in Ward’s three Watford games, he’s brandished 13 cards. One was in the FA Cup, where he booked four Chesterfield players. Even more to the point, Spireites defender Tom Naylor saw yellow in that cup tie, while Blackburn’s Dominic Hyam saw a card from Ward for bringing down a Watford player.

Tanganga could potentially face Ken Sema, who is fouled on average 1.4 times per game, and attempts 1.5 dribbles. That could see the defender leave a foot in and catch the Watford attacker.

  • Selection: Japhet Tanganga to be Booked
  • Best Odds: 4.00
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 10/10

Wataru Endo To Be Booked: No Endo to the good prices on Wataru

England, Premier League, Saturday, March 2nd, 15:00 (UK)

I usually end with a second match or team pick, but nothing stood out – other than potentially taking cards with David Coote in charge of Burnley v Bournemouth. So, I’m going for another player pick.

Looking through the markets, I saw Wataru Endo at 4.50 on bet365 – my eyes lit up. Then a quick look elsewhere pointed out that Sky Bet are going even bigger at 5.00 – now that’s a price we can’t ignore.

The Japan international has been a card magnet since becoming an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s side. He’s been cautioned in seven of his last 11 Premier League appearances.

That’s a 64% strike rate across those 11 games, yet Sky are giving us an implied probability of 20% for landing this bet. It just feels too big!

It’s also hard to ignore Endo’s foul count. On just his second start, he recorded four fouls against Brentford. His last nine league appearances have seen him yield 2, 3, 4, 2, 0, 3, 4, 2 & 1. So, plenty of infringements that can draw the referee’s attention in his direction.

Paul Tierney is the man with the whistle. His card numbers have dropped this season compared to last. But he rekindled some of his previous form, showing nine yellows across 120 minutes of Leicester’s FA Cup win at Bournemouth on Tuesday. Plus, if you go back to the end of January, he recorded six yellows in Liverpool’s cruise against Chelsea.

Endo missed that game due to his involvement in the Asia Cup. But he did feature in Tierney’s other Liverpool game. That’s the aforementioned Brentford game where the midfielder escaped a card despite four fouls. Time to make amends Paul!

Alexis Mac Allister was booked when the Reds beat Forest 3-0 in October. That role to protect the back four is now filled by Endo. Plus, in Forest’s last home game, they saw opposing central midfielder Kalvin Phillips sent-off for two quick yellows.

Hopefully, the likes of Morgan Gibbs-White, Anthony Elanga, and Callum Hudson-Odoi all prove too much of a handful for Endo and he ends up hauling one of them down. If he does, this price of 5.00 is too good to turn your nose up at.

  • Selection: Wataru Endo to be Booked
  • Best Odds: 5.00
  • Bookmaker: Sky Bet
  • Stake: 10/10


At bettingexpert, we always take a safe approach to gambling. We’ll never bet more than we can afford or chase losses. For more advice, head to our Safer Gambling hub.

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