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With the likes of Mario Balotelli and Joey Barton out of sight (for now), there is room for a new batch of bad boys to vilify!
While none of the players on my list are ‘pantomime villains’ as the aforementioned two most certainly were, this bunch have been noticeably card-happy this season, falling nicely into the necessary parameters I’ve set.
To get into my ‘dirty half-dozen’ you’ll need to have at least one red card this season, and preferably a chunk of yellows to back that one up.
Just seeing yellow, no matter how many times the card is waved at you, simply won’t cut the ice. I’ve also decided that whilst only including Premier League players, to count all games that a player has took part in, be they league, domestic or European cups or even international matches.
At the end of the day, a card is a card…
So, here is my Premier League ‘Hall of Shame’ for the 2013/14 season so far…
6. Chris Brunt, West Brom
In the best tradition of these things, I’m going to work in reverse order, so in sixth place is West Bromwich Albion’s Chris Brunt.
The midfielder with the cultured left foot has been a seasoned campaigner at the Hawthorns, playing regularly for the past seven years or so, and is the club’s current skipper.
Strangely enough, it’s not so much his disciplinary record for the Baggies that gets him into sixth place in this particular table though, it’s his record on international duty with Northern Ireland.
Turning out for his club in Premier League action, Brunt has only accumulated six yellow cards and not a single red in 22 appearances; it’s not saintly, but hardly enough to qualify for a top-ranking in this particular league.
Donning the green of his country however apparently transforms his outlook. In a mere seven games this season, two as a substitute, he has been dismissed once and cautioned on four occasions. At that rate, a few more international games and Brunt could be challenging for a top three position.
5. Ramires, Chelsea
In fifth place comes Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Ramires.
If you’re looking for a typical Brazilian midfielder, gifted with outrageous skills and Samba-flair, look elsewhere. This unsurprisingly favourite of Blues’ manager Jose Mourinho is the hard-running, grafter of a midfielder, with a penchant for an over-exuberant challenge or two.
A bit like Brunt, Ramires also seems to undergo a change with the type of game he is involved in. In 27 appearances in Premier League action for Chelsea, he has been cautioned seven times.
As with Brunt, it hardly constitutes a qualification for beatification, but there are many midfielders with far worse records than that.
For Ramires however, it seems that Cup football, be it domestic or European is the sort of fare that floats his boat. In just ten games comprising FA Cup, Champions League and UEFA Super Cup, he has been sent off once, and shown five yellow cards.
The dismissal occurred in the Super Cup game against Bayern Munich, and probably cost his club the trophy. Ramires is also the player in this top six with the highest total number of cards, totting up an unlucky 13.
4. Laurent Koscienly, Arsenal
There’s only one club with more than one representative in the top six of this league. That club is Arsenal, and the first of their players to figure is Laurent Koscielney who drops in at fourth place.
Now here’s a player who, if he knew how I was going to compile this league could be said to have focused his attentions on getting the job done. Koscielney has the second lowest total number of cards, amassing just five times that the referee has waved one under his nose.
Two of them have however been red and it’s that particular distinction that carries the French defender into such a high position in this league. Regarded widely as the more elegant sweeper of the pairing at the heart of the Gunners’ back line with Per Mertesacker, Koscielney has only seen a mere three cards playing for Arsenal this season, although one was red.
His other sins were committed in the name of his country where he received one yellow and one red whilst turning out for Les Bleus.
3. Kevin Nolan, West Ham
Observant readers will have noticed that the last two players represent London clubs. It’s a trend that will continue awhile yet as, in third position, is West Ham’s Kevin Nolan.
The player, much beloved of Hammers’ boss Sam Allardyce who has taken the Scouse midfielder along with him on his managerial jaunts had a particularly bad run when he was dismissed on a couple of occasions in fairly rapid succession before Christmas.
But that sort of performance is what is required to get a high placing in this league. Now back and scoring regularly for his club with again, he may have put that unfortunate period behind him, but it still qualifies him. Those two red cards are backed up by a further five yellows.
That’s a fairly small number, but still puts him ahead of Koscielny.
2. Mikel Arteta, Arsenal
The runner-up in my league is also from a London club, and the second Gunner in the list. He’s not however a defender or the blocking type of midfielder such as Mathieu Flamini.
The player in second place is the cultured Basque midfielder Mikel Arteta.
The player who never seems to have a hair out of place has been sent off twice and has seven yellow cards to his name. Unlike some of the others mentioned above, Arteta does not seem to have a particular liking for a type of competition for his club, and his cards have been spread across all of the competitions he has competed in.
Even his two red cards were in different competitions, one in the Premier League and the other in the Champions’ League.
1. Wes Brown, Sunderland
And so we arrive at the top of the league, and we’re off to a northern club to acclaim Sunderland centre-back Wes Brown as the main man.
The former Manchester United stopper has been sent off three times this season. To date, he’s the only Premier League player to have that distinction. But here’s the controversial bit. Although he has three red cards to his name, he hasn’t seen a single yellow. So, with a grand total of three cards Brown is also the player with the least number of total cards.
This means we should probably go back to the way these footballing misdemeanours have been have been interpreted. Is Brown’s three red cards worse than Ramires’ one red and twelve yellows? Who should be top of the Bad Boy League?
- Wes Brown
- Mikel Arteta
- Kevin Nolan
- Laurent Koscielny
- Chris Brunt
What do you think? Get involved in the comments below…
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