Which Premier League football players have earned the most cards over the past year, and which players have played the most minutes without a single card.
With the World Cup coming to a close, attention returns to domestic leagues around the world. The Premier League kicks off again on Boxing Day after a month-long break, with Brentford hosting Tottenham at the Gtech Community Stadium.In the spirit of the Christmas season, which players are getting coal for Christmas for getting too many yellow and red cards? And which players are at the top of Santa’s present list due to a lack of cards… Here’s how we worked out this year’s Naughty and Nice List.
How Santa calculated a player's “Card Points”.
The 2021/22 and current 2022 season has seen hundreds of players receiving either a yellow card, a red card, or two yellow cards which turned into a red card. There were also hundreds of players who haven’t received a single card - some playing thousands of minutes of game time! The card point system works like this:
Yellow cards = 1 point
Yellow turning into red cards = 3 points
Straight red cards = 5 points
So if a player gained six yellow cards, two yellows which turned into a red card, and a red card, they’d gain 14 points.
Most Premier League Cards
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka gained the most card points out of any player in the Premier League. Gaining 10 yellows and a red last year, he started his 2022/23 campaign with two yellow cards, and has averaged 0.41 cards points per appearance! Definitely top of the Naughty List. His straight red came just three games into the 2021/22 season against Manchester City - who you’ll be hearing about quite a lot… With a career total of 131 yellow cards, seven double yellows and seven reds, it’s safe to say Xhaka has been receiving coal in his stocking since 2008!
Portuguese star Rúben Neves literally can’t stop getting yellow cards! Not only has he been shown one in the World Cup, but he’s also already picked up six this Premier League season, and finished with nine last year playing for Wolves. No red cards though, in fact in his nearly ten-year career he’s never been shown a straight red….On the other hand, he’s also picked up 68 yellows, so definitely a permanent fixture on the Naughty List.
Nathan Collins might not have topped the list, but he’s the only player in the Premier League to have received two straight red cards in the past year. The Wolves centre-back picked up his first red of this season against Man City in the 33rd minute, and his red card last year came against Brentford whilst playing for Burnley. A whirlwind year for the Irishman.
(Dis)Honourable mentions also go to Raúl Jiménez. The Wolves forward is the only player in the Premier League to have gained two yellow to red cards in the last year. He’s yet to receive a straight red in his career though, so that’s a positive…
This table looks at how many card points players earned and compares it to the number of times they appeared in a Premier League game either during the 2021/22 season or the current 2022 season.
The ultimate winner of the Naughty List has to be Nohan Kenneh, who managed to get a yellow card without playing a single minute of football for Leeds United. Kenneh managed to get a yellow card whilst on the bench against Wolves after he joined in with the wild goal celebrations following a late injury-time winner. He moved on a free transfer to Hibernian FC at the end of the season.
In terms of players who actually played, Nathaniel Chalobah managed to receive more card points than appearances. The Fulham defensive midfielder has only played a total of 11 minutes of Premier League football this year, but in the 8th minute of their game against Newcastle, he was shown a straight red card for a bad tackle against Sean Longstaff. He’s not played since.
Manchester United’s Paul Pogba comes in at eight on our list, he’s been unavailable in the 2022 season, but managed to rack up seven yellows and a red card last season in his 20 appearances! He played over 1349 minutes of football and averaged 0.6 card points per appearance.
These are the players who managed to play the most amount of time over the last two seasons without gaining a single card!
Top of the Premier League’s Nice List is Manchester United keeper David de Gea. He’s appeared in more games, and played more minutes of football, without receiving a card than anyone else in the PL. De Gea hasn't received a card since January 2020, and has only ever received six in his entire career!
He only just pips Liverpool rival Alisson by two appearances, as Alisson (also on zero cards) wasn't in the squad against Watford last October, and had Covid in their draw against Chelsea last December. Alisson hasn’t always been on Santa’s Nice List, after being shown a straight red during Liverpool’s 2:1 win over Brighton in 2019.
West Ham winger Saïd Benrahma is the top non-keeper on the Nice List - which is almost a bigger achievement given they’re on the ball a lot more. He still played 45 appearances, missing two games this season, and missed a chunk of games last year after being called up to the Algerian National Team. Benrahma has actually never received a card in the Premier League! His latest yellow was during the Europa League semi-finals against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Although Manchester United have struggled to break into the top four over the last two seasons, they’re the only club to host two players with the Nice List, with Jodon Sancho coming in at number six. At 22, the winger hasn't picked up a card in English football since his Man City under-18 playing days; he played 104 games and picked up a couple of cards over in the Bundesliga, but since moving back to City’s cross-city rivals, he’s been card free.
What do you guys think? Can David de Gea keep up his perfect record? And is there any chance Xhaka can ever make it onto the Nice List? Don't forget, you can check out our full analysis and card betting tips here.
Card points are calculated for all players given a card during 2021/22 season and the current 2022 season. Yellow card: 1 point, second yellow card: 3 points, Red card: 5 points. Card Points per Apperence calculated by dividing each players Card Points by the number of Premier League appearances. Card point data accurate as of 25/12/2022.