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Card trends point to a punt at the Emirates

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka is shown a yellow card
1 of 1

Bet365 may have underestimated the chance of Arsenal receiving at least as many cards as Crystal Palace in the Premier League game at the Emirates. Back Arsenal +1 Asian handicap cards at decimal odds of 1.9 – equivalent to fractional odds of 9-10.

Each yellow will count as one and each red as two. If Arsenal’s total is equal to or greater than Palace’s the bet will win, if it is one lower stakes will be returned and if it is anything else the bet will lose.

Let’s be cautious as we consider the chances of different outcomes. It is usually a sensible thing to do when betting.

The way cards are distributed between teams varies with the difference in ability between them.

Palace have risen up the table under new manager Roy Hodgson. Their performance-related stats suggest they deserve to be in the top half of the table. But before kick-off today they are 12th, and the wise and experienced Hodgson says they must still think of themselves as being in a relegation scrap.

Palace’s average finishing position in the four other seasons since they returned to the Premier League was 13th. So at the risk of doing them a disservice let’s take them as still a bottom-half-of-the-table team.

Arsenal have suffered some disappointing results recently but they have always been and still are one of the top few teams in the Premier League.

What happened at the Emirates in previous seasons when Arsenal played teams who finished in the bottom half of the table? Fifty times Arsenal received as many or more cards than the visitors, 28 times the visitors received one more card than Arsenal and 32 times they received at least two more cards.

So backers of Arsenal +1 Asian handicap cards would have won noticeably more often than they lost.

The ratio of wins to losses would have been more heavily in their favour than is suggested by bet365’s odds. But there is nothing in the recent card counts of either team or the referee to indicate that the chance of each outcome is much different than is suggested by what happened in the past.

The referee will be Chris Kavanagh, a good young official in his first full season in the Premier League who, rightly, seems to be highly regarded by his bosses. His Football League debut was as recent as August 2014.

Recommendation
Arsenal +1 Asian handicap cards
1pt 1.9 bet365


Thoughts for the week

Liverpool 4 Manchester City 3. “Wow. What a game. Two teams, full throttle… Take your heart, throw it on the pitch and play like this.” And that was only the reaction of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Others were equally enthusiastic. We could watch that over and over again seemed to be the consensus.

But what if we could? What if Liverpool and Manchester City played against each other in the same way over and over again? What would happen?

The commonest score would probably be 1-1, based on Opta’s expected goals calculations from Anfield last Sunday. With that number and quality of chances they would expect both teams to average just under one goal.

Other games played in the same way would be just as exciting – or at least they would be for those of us who can enjoy play independently of goals – but rarely would the aggregate score reach seven. More often than not, backers of under 2.5 goals would also be delighted.


Perhaps we should be more understanding of players who retaliate.

French referee Tony Chapron was suspended for kicking a player he thought had tripped him deliberately. He then showed them a second yellow card and sent them off.

Afterwards when he saw television replays he realised the collision had been accidental and asked for the second yellow card to be rescinded.

Chapron is an experienced referee. He has officiated in Ligue 1 since 2006 and also appeared in the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers.

Perhaps hitting out when you feel you have been attacked – instinctively, before you have collected your thoughts – is a deep-rooted, animalistic reaction.


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Arsenal have suffered some disappointing results recently but they have always been and still are one of the top few teams in the Premier League
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