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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Card count may not be high at Camp Nou even with Barca smarting

Result-related markets expect this match to be fairly typical

Leganes players celebrate their victory over Barcelona
1 of 1

Barcelona should be smarting. The reigning Spanish champions have not won either of their last two games. On Wednesday they lost at Leganes, last Sunday they drew at home to Girona. On Wednesday there were six yellow cards and on Sunday there were eight yellows and a red.

Barcelona should be even more eager than usual to win on Saturday at home to Athletic Bilbao. But there may not be another high card count. The prospect of a low one might have been underestimated by bet365. 

Back under five Asian total cards at decimal odds of 1.8 – equivalent to fractional odds of 4-5. Each yellow will count as one and each red as two. If the total is lower than five the bet will win, if it is five stakes will be returned and if it is higher than five the bet will lose.

Arguably Barcelona’s recent history can be divided into the Pep Guardiola era and afterwards, when results have not been quite so good, but still almost as good.

In Barca’s home games in La Liga in the last five and a bit seasons there were 52 card make-ups below five, 12 make-ups of five and 34 make-ups above five. Low make-ups were a lot more numerous than high ones. Fair decimal odds for under five Asian total cards in a randomly chosen game during that period, hindsight suggests, would have been about 1.65.

Read Pullein on Football in The Assist football pullout every Friday

In that time Barcelona won 83 per cent of their home games, drew 11 per cent and lost six per cent. The result-related markets for this match imply an 83 per cent chance of a Barcelona win, a 12 per cent chance of a draw and a five per cent chance of a Barcelona loss.

In other words, the result-related markets expect this match to be fairly typical of La Liga matches in Camp Nou in recent seasons. And that makes sense. Athletic are fairly typical La Liga opponents.

They are also another of Spain’s grand old clubs. There is no evidence, however, of this raising card counts. In the 18 seasons before this one the average card make-up in Barcelona’s home games against Athletic was the same as it was in Barcelona’s home games against all other opponents.

The referee in Camp Nou will be Santiago Jaime Latre. This is his fifth season in La Liga. His make-ups were high in his first season but since then they have been in line with those of a typical colleague.

Under 5 Asian total cards in Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao
1pt 4-5 bet365

Bet on this match at

Thought for the day

There were 27 corners last week in the Champions League game between Real Madrid and Roma. That was a lot, roughly one every three-and-a-half minutes. But, somebody asked me, was it a record?

There have been football games with more corners, but what the record is I cannot say. For most of the many years football has been played nobody counted much more than the goals.

I have corner stats for Champions League games since the start of season 2000-2001, and during that time the total of 27 between Madrid and Roma is the highest.

For the Premier League, Football League and Scottish Premiership I have corner data going back a bit further, to the start of season 1997-98. During that period 26 was the highest total in the Premier League and Scottish Premiership.

But there were three make-ups of 29 in the Football League – Barnet v Doncaster in League Two in November 1997, Oxford v Bristol City in the Championship in January 1999 and Swansea v Scunthorpe in League Two in April 2003.

The lowest possible corners total is of course zero. That may have occurred in other games elsewhere, but it certainly occurred in August 2010 in a Premier League contest between Wigan and Chelsea and, I believe, in a 2017 Confederations Cup fixture between Russia and Mexico.

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In Barca’s home games in La Liga in the last five and a bit seasons there were 52 card make-ups below five, 12 make-ups of five and 34 make-ups above
E.W. Terms
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