Premier League Saints and Sinners

Today’s Spotlight piece takes a look at the Saints and Sinners of the Premier League era. Which teams have gone through whole seasons without being booked? Who has received the most yellow cards ever in the league? And which players have never been sent off in their whole career? We delved deep into the dark seedy underbelly of the Premier League Fairplay league to fish out the answers for you!

First up, the Sinners:

Teams With the Most Red Cards in the Past 10 Seasons:
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So, the dirtiest teams of the past ten years have been Neil Warnock/ Mark Hughes’s QPR side in the 2011/12 season, and Ricky Sbragia/ Steve Bruce’s Sunderland in 2009/2010; with both teams having clocked up 9 red cards over the course of the season.

Teams With the Most Yellow Cards in the Past 10 Seasons:
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Last season’s Sunderland side have received the most Yellow Cards in the past ten seasons. with a whopping 94 bookings, which is on average, 2.47 bookings a game. the 2009/2010 Sunderland side which received the joint most red cards in the past 10 seasons also received the most yellow cards that season with 77, so it is fair to say that the North-Eastern team aren’t afraid to get stuck in… even if it’s in an illegal fashion.

Players With the Most Reds in the Premier League Era:

Roy Keane and Patrick Viera truly were the best of enemies.
Roy Keane and Patrick Viera truly were the best of enemies.

5. Lee Cattermole – 7
4. Roy Keane – 7
3. Richard Dunne – 8
2. Patrick Viera – 8
1. Duncan Ferguson – 8

It is no surprise that arch-rivals Roy Keane and Patrick Viera appear on this list. There has always been bad blood between the two, and over the years of their bitter rivalry, the players were involved in countless scuffles and arguments, and on one famous occasion, they even fought in the Highbury tunnel in 2005.

Players With the Most Yellow Cards in the Premier League Era:

Paul Scholes was never the best at getting the ball off the other team...
Paul Scholes was never the best at getting the ball off the other team…

5. Scott Parker – 92
4. Kevin Davies – 99
3. Paul Scholes – 99
2. Lee Bowyer – 100
1. Gareth Barry – 107

Interestingly, 4 out of the 5 players featured here were England centre midfielders, although there is no doubting the fact that the centre of the park is the place where you are most likely to receive a yellow. Paul Scholes was famous for his incredible goals from distance, and pin-point accurate passes, however, he was also known for his lack of any tackling ability – at times it seemed like he wanted to get cautioned. Perhaps the lack of good tackling ability must be a requirement in order to play for England.

Now for the Saints:

So far we have focused on the bad side of the English Premier League, however, not much is usually said about the players and teams who play the beautiful game consistently within the rules. This section is for those Saints who enjoy playing fairly.

Teams With 0 Red Cards in a Season:

In 2 of Benitez's years in charge, his Liverpool team managed to survive the whole Premier League season without getting a single player sent for an early bath.
In 2 of Benitez’s years in charge, his Liverpool team managed to survive the whole Premier League season without getting a single player sent for an early bath.

2013/14 – Aston Villa
– West Bromwich Albion
– Southampton
2011/12 – Fulham
2008/09 – Liverpool
2007/08 – Bolton Wanderers
2006/07 – Liverpool

Each of these teams managed to last a whole season without any of their players receiving a single Red Card. That is a very impressive feat, considering that modern day referees like to flash cards on a regular basis! Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool feature twice in this list, therefore they deserve the most credit… although, maybe they were missing that nasty edge that could help them compete for 1st place?

Players to Never Receive a Red Card in the Premier League Era:

10. Peter Schmeichel – 27,900 minutes
9. Edwin Van Der Sar – 28,170 minutes
8. Thomas Sørensen – 32,760 minutes
7. Nigel Martyn – 33,480 minutes
6. Luke Young – 34, 020 minutes
5. Damien Duff – 35,280 minutes
4. Michael Carrick – 39,330 minutes*
3. Shay Given -39,870*
2. Aaron Hughes – 40,950
1. Ryan Giggs – 56,880 minutes

Champion: Giggs did not see red once in his club career. His only Red Card came for Wales against Norway in 2001.
Champion: Giggs did not see red once in his club career. His only Red Card came for Wales against Norway in 2001.

*Carrick and Given are still playing, so there is still time for them to tarnish their reputation.
It is no surprise that of the 10 players in this list, 5 of them are goalkeepers. Of course goalkeepers experience the least physical contact, therefore are least likely to be sent off in a match. However, Ryan Giggs at the top of the list is absolutely incredible. In 632 appearances for Manchester United, Giggsy was never sent off, that stat alone is almost unbelievable, but added to the fact that he only received 36 Yellow Cards in his Premier League career, it is clear to see that the Welsh Wizard was a true Saint of the game.

Honourable Mentions:
Although the following three players never played in the Premier League, they still managed to last their whole career without seeing a single card flashed their way, red or yellow.
Gary Lineker
Billy Wright
John Charles
These are the only three men to have achieved this noble feat in the history of the English top flight. For that reason, they deserve massive respect.

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