KING of the cards Gavin Murphy (@GamePlanGavin) has found an angle to exploit in Saturday’s crunch clash between Arsenal and Chelsea.
Arsenal v Chelsea | Saturday 17:30 | Sky Sports 1
The latest chapter of the Arsenal versus Chelsea saga takes place at The Emirates stadium on Saturday evening.
Arsene Wenger’s Gunners sit fourth in the table and they host Antonio Conte’s fifth-placed Blues.
There is plenty of recent history between these two – Chelsea have had Arsenal’s number by winning four of the past six league matches; the Gunners claiming just a solitary success in that period.
Moaning Gooners will of course place the blame on referees with the stats showing four red cards to Arsenal (Per Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla, Gabriel and Kieran Gibbs) during those battles.
Do they have a case? I think in terms of the Diego Costa match, yes. But they can’t blame the officials for all four cards – Mertesacker’s early bath in the most recent match for example, was a correct decision.
The four red cards were shown by three different referees (Mike Dean twice, Mark Clattenburg andAndre Marriner) so, to me, it’s silly to talk about conspiracies, but you’ll have your own view.
Perhaps their beef isn’t regarding their own red cards but more the lack of red cards for their London rivals? That’s a more reasonable point I feel.
Personally I find Arsenal a bit precious and Chelsea know exactly what to do to wind them up so to gain an advantage. Their recent success in this fixture would suggest that it works.
The bad news for the Arsenal faithful is that Michael Oliver is in charge of this fixture. In 19 previous games covering the North London outfit they have a very mixed record of W7-D6-L6. By contrast, in 19 career games officiating Chelsea, Oliver has overseen a record for the Stamford Bridge boys of W11-6-L2.
Oliver also typically gives Arsenal more cards-per-game (1.89) than he does Chelsea (1.57). The past five encounters between these two teams in league action yielded card totals of 6-10-7-7-3 – the three was a game Chelsea won 6-0 after Gibbs was sent off after just 15 minutes, so I’m ignoring that.
Therefore, that gives a revised average of 7.50 cards-per-game.
Thirty-one year-old Oliver dished out seven cards last weekend when Watford beat Manchester United. So far this season domestically he has shown total cards of 7-6-3-7 at an average of 5.75 cards-per-game.
Oliver covered this fixture in April 2015 and managed to show seven cautions despite it being a drab 0-0 affair.
In their five Premier League games so far, Arsenal average 2.00 cards-per-game and Chelsea 3.00 cards-per-game – Arsenal’s average increases in home matches to 2.50 cards-per-game.
It is impossible to look past the history between these two clubs who simply don’t like each other. With good recent stats, I’m backing Over 55 Bookings Points at 19/20 with William Hill.
If you’re new to Bookings Points, a yellow card earns 10 points and a red card earns 25 points. If a player receives two yellow cards and is consequently shown a red card, he receives a total of 35 Bookings Points.
Arsenal v Chelsea – Over 55 Bookings Points (19/20 William Hill)