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Sendings-off stacking up – Premier League on course for record red card haul

Referee Craig Pawson shows a red card to Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher against Brighton (John Walton/PA)
Referee Craig Pawson shows a red card to Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher against Brighton (John Walton/PA)

Conor Gallagher’s red card in Chelsea’s win over Brighton on Sunday was the 31st in this season’s Premier League – already more than the whole of last season.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how the two seasons compare to Premier League history.

Dirty thirty

Oli McBurnie, second right, reacts after being sent off against Burnley
Oli McBurnie, second right, was sent off for the second time this season (Martin Rickett/PA)

Gallagher’s was the second red card of the Premier League weekend, following Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie’s second of the season in Saturday’s defeat to Burnley.

Thirty players in total have seen red already this campaign, with 14 clubs having experienced at least one dismissal – Aston Villa, Brentford, Crystal Palace, Luton, Manchester United and Newcastle are the exceptions.

Liverpool are the worst offenders with four red cards, though Alexis Mac Allister’s against Bournemouth was overturned on appeal. Virgil van Dijk, Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones are their other culprits.

Gallagher became the third Chelsea player sent off this season, joining Malo Gusto and Reece James and moving them alongside Burnley, Tottenham and Wolves.

Last season saw 29 Premier League players sent off, with Manchester United midfielder Casemiro the only repeat offender. Wolves’ six, for Nelson Semedo, Mario Lemina, Jonny, Nathan Collins, Diego Costa and Matheus Nunes, were twice as many as any other club.

Over-correction

Casemiro, centre, is consoled by Antony after being sent off against Southampton last season
Casemiro, centre, was the only player shown two Premier League red cards last season (Martin Rickett/PA)

There were only 17 straight red cards last season, the fewest in the Premier League era, while the overall total was the lowest since the 28 shown in 1993-94.

While an increase on that figure was always likely, this season’s average of one red card every 4.5 games means the top flight is currently on course for 84 over the course of the season.

That would comfortably be a new record, beating the 75 shown in the 2005-06 season.

That campaign brought red cards for all 20 teams, and more than one for all bar Portsmouth. Eleven teams had four or more, topped by Blackburn and Everton with seven apiece. A 76th red card initially shown to Newcastle’s Jermaine Jenas against Arsenal was rescinded after referee Steve Bennett reviewed his own decision, with no need for a formal appeal.

Before last season, the total had been in the 40s for four years in succession – and before that, over 50 every season as far back as 1997-98.

Goals galore

Dejan Kulusevski, second left, scores for Tottenham against Manchester City
Dejan Kulusevski’s equaliser for Tottenham against Manchester City was the 442nd goal of the Premier League season (Martin Rickett/PA)

Another statistic on the rise this season is the most important in football – goals.

With Burnley’s 5-0 win over Blades followed on Sunday by Liverpool and Chelsea winning 4-3 and 3-2 respectively and a 3-3 draw between Manchester City and Tottenham, there have now been 442 goals in 140 matches this season.

That average of 3.16 per game would, if sustained over the full season, be the highest in Premier League history – beating the record of 2.85 set last season.

The 1,084 goals scored on that occasion were a record for a 20-team season, with this season currently on track for 1,200.

There have still been only three 0-0 draws – Bournemouth against Chelsea and Crystal Palace’s home games against Fulham and Nottingham Forest.