Premier League suspension watch: Chelsea, Newcastle and Fulham men two bookings from another ban

Dave Tickner
Kai Havertz in talks with the referee
Kai Havertz in talks with the referee

The cut-off has been and gone for players to have to worry about suspensions for picking up five Premier League bookings this season, but that doesn’t mean your Cristian Romeros and your Joao Palhinhas and the Nicolas Jacksons of this world can now just go around merrily getting yellow cards anywhere they like. No, because if they get themselves to 10 bookings before game 32 then guess what? That’s right. That’s also a ban. There are a surprising number of players in genuine danger of achieving that. It really is almost impressive.


Most bookings: Kai Havertz (5)
Anyone else in danger? Absolutely not.

We’re about to get very cross with a lot of teams for the daft amount of yellow cards they get, so you’ll have to allow the hypocrisy in us getting cross with Arsenal for getting too few. Too nice, aren’t they? Too easy to play against at the moment, aren’t they? Need more mongrel. Havertz toppled carelessly off the four-yellow tightrope in the 1-1 draw at Anfield and served a ban. They’re a nauseatingly well-behaved bunch, though, on the whole: Ben White and Gabriel Jesus are the only other players even to reach four bookings, with Eddie Nketiah on three. Mikel Arteta, now that’s a different story.


Aston Villa
Most bookings: Boubacar Kamara (6)
Anyone else in danger? John McGinn, Ezri Konsa, Douglas Luiz and Lucas Digne all on five.

Major beneficiaries of the suspension rules against City, Villa found themselves scrambling past Brentford without both Douglas Luiz and Lucas Digne after collecting fifth bookings of the season in the 1-0 win over Arsenal. Matty Cash also got himself suspended but that might be the least of his worries having mangled his shoulder in the process of collecting that fifth booking. 


Most bookings: Marcos Senesi (5)
Anyone else in danger? Nope.

There is a striking correlation between Senesi bookings and Bournemouth’s results. Booked once in the first 11 games of the season, of which Bournemouth won only won, he has now been cautioned in four of his last eight games, of which Bournemouth have won six, drawn one and lost one. He’s also scored in two of those games, arguably more significantly. Cannily picked up booking five in game 20 to avoid a suspension. Lovely touch, that. His recent one-in-two rate of caution collecting does mean he could yet get himself to 10 too soon if care isn’t taken.


Most bookings: Christian Norgaard (7)
Anyone else in danger? Frank Onyeka, Saman Ghoddos and the injured Aaron Hickey have all hit the five-yellow barrier

Norgaard definitely one of those most in contention for a 10-yellow ban. He’s in rare yellow-card form having collected all seven of those in the space of 14 games – which includes the one he missed for his five-card suspension.


Most bookings: Lewis Dunk (5)
Anyone else in danger? Facundo Buonanotte has only four yellows, but has accrued them in barely 400 minutes

Dunk picked up his fifth yellow after 82 minutes of game 19 against Spurs, which you have to say is magnificent. Especially having served a two-game ban for a red card along the way. He was pretty lucky not to see red again in truth for a pretty naughty lunge on Dejan Kulusevski. Players on four bookings you’d generally consider safe – including other Brighton offenders Billy Gilmour and Kaoru Mitoma – but an exception must be made for Buonanotte. For one thing, he played in only one of Brighton’s first nine games and didn’t pick up his first booking until their 12th game of the season. He’s now got four despite playing more than an hour only once. Three of his bookings have also come in either first-half or second-half injury-time with the other in the 43rd minute, so he has a type too. His four yellow cards have come in the space of 310 minutes of playing time. At that rate he’s in trouble even if he continues averaging only half-a-game’s playing time per match.


Most bookings: Charlie Taylor and Jordan Beyer (6)
Anyone else in danger? Josh Cullen’s on five, Sander Berge (4) could yet go on a run

Taylor and Beyer definitely live contenders here, but don’t sleep on Berge who is more than capable of a five-bookings-in-seven-games kind of caper.


Most bookings: Nicolas Jackson (8)
Anyone else in danger? Raheem Sterling, Moises Caicedo, Cole Palmer and Marc Cucurella all reached five before the halfway point.

They love a booking, do Chelsea. Nicolas Jackson is the Premier League’s co-leader in the most cautioned man competition with an absurd eight – outrageous areas for a striker. Despite the very best efforts of Tottenham, Jackson still has more Premier League cautions than goals by an 8-7 margin. A keenly contested battle to keep an eye on, that one. Marc Cucurella got to five and missed the Brighton game despite at that point only playing seven times, while Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer were both ruled out of the Palace game after collecting bookings in the defeat at Wolves.


Crystal Palace
Most bookings: Jordan Ayew, Joel Ward, Joachim Andersen and Tyrick Mitchell (4)
Anyone else in danger? Not even those four are in danger really.

Managed to sneak beyond the 19-game deadline without any of their precarious players toppling off the tightrope, so you’d expect Palace to maintain that kind of care over the coming months. Especially if they manage to keep themselves from getting embroiled in any unpleasantness at the wrong end of the table.


Most bookings: Jarrad Branthwaite and Idrissa Gueye (6)
Anyone else in danger? The smattering of players currently on four cautions should all be fine.

Jarrad Branthwaite and Idrissa Gueye sat out the Dycheball Derby at Burnley and you’d have to consider both men at meaningful risk of getting round to 10 before the music stops given the nature of their playing styles.


Most bookings: Joao Palhinha (8)
Anyone else in danger? Palhinha has twice as many cautions as any other Fulham man.

There are no certainties in life, but it’s tremendously hard to see how Palhinha with his eight bookings in 17 games manages not to collect two more in the next 12.


Most bookings: Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endo and Trent Alexander-Arnold (5)
Anyone else in danger? Not really. Although when it comes to Darwin Nunez (4) we’d always be loathe to rule anything out.

Alexis Mac Allister had to sit out the 3-0 win over Brentford, but Trent at least waited until Newcastle in game 20 to get a very silly fifth booking for dissent. Endo picked up his fifth booking in the same game, but the fact he’s got five bookings in under 700 minutes of Premier League action suggests less careful planning and more dumb luck. Decent chance he’s move involved over the weeks ahead, so his minutes-per-booking rate could yet put him on track for a 10-card ban


Most bookings: Marvelous Nakamba (5)
Anyone else in danger? A couple of players on four but Issa Kabore and Jacob Brown have both gone over 1000 minutes for those four and would thus need to get far naughtier to be in real trouble.

Nakamba has only featured in one of the last seven games. He got booked.


Manchester City
Most bookings: Rodri and Jack Grealish (6)
Anyone else in danger? Nobody else has more than three.

For the big clubs, there’s the possibility to try and game this suspension system slightly. To try and pick up that fifth booking in such a way that it takes you out of a game where it’s unlikely to matter and thus wipe the slate clean. Or, if you’re Manchester City, you can instead have Rodri and Jack Grealish collect daft bookings in a madness against Tottenham that meant they missed Aston Villa away. They did not understand the assignment. They’ve both already added a sixth booking to their tallies..


Manchester United
Most bookings: Bruno Fernandes (7)
Anyone else in danger? Luke Shaw’s four from eight games puts him in the ballpark on a games-per-booking basis. If he stays fit…

No Premier League player covered more ground or created more chances in 2023 than Bruno Fernandes. Nobody’s saying he’s perfect, but it’s perhaps not all that surprising that frustration sometimes gets the better of him and silly bookings ensue. Imagine being him and playing with this rabble twice a week. It’d test the patience of a saint.


Most bookings: Bruno Guimaraes (8)
Anyone else in danger? Anthony Gordon has seven with Joelinton, Kieran Trippier and Sean Longstaff all on five

Another club with lots of bookings and it’s been pretty costly already. Anthony Gordon sat out the 2-2 draw at West Ham, Bruno Guimaraes the 2-0 defeat at Bournemouth, while Kieran Trippier’s miserable return to Tottenham had a suitably bleak conclusion as a late yellow ruled him out of the game against Fulham. Sub-optimal, especially for a squad currently stretched to breaking point. Bruno has now collected yellow cards in each of Newcastle’s current run of three straight defeats, putting him firmly in 10-card territory with Gordon alarmingly close behind.


Nottingham Forest
Most bookings: Orel Mangala and Ibrahim Sangare (5)
Anyone else in danger? Nah.

Forest should be fine here, although it is worth noting that Sangare’s five bookings have come in just 11 appearances> He’s trending the right way, though: four of them came in his first six appearances in Our League. Might have got the hang of it now.


Sheffield United
Most bookings: Oliver Norwood, Jack Robinson and Jayden Bogle (6)
Anyone else in danger? Gus Hamer and Anel Ahmedhodzic on five

Oliver Norwood missed the win over Brentford and Jack Robinson the defeat at Chelsea after an injury-time yellow card in that Brentford win. Jayden Bogle missed the costly defeat against Luton after a fifth yellow of the campaign at Villa. We’ll go ahead and say it’s not at the top of Sheffield United’s list of problems, but three players banned in quick succession isn’t exactly ideal for the new manager trying to somehow steer a wreck of a team out of trouble. All three have picked up further bookings since.


Most bookings: Dejan Kulusevski, Destiny Udogie and Yves Bissouma (5)
Anyone else in danger? Cristian Romero has four, but injury surely takes him out of the running. Injury and AFCON does likewise for Pape Sarr.

Spurs have had a ruinous injury list this season, one it’s hard not to sympathise with. Alongside, that, though, has been a wildly damaging list of suspensions where there can be no sympathy. A lot of them have been incredibly thick. Cristian Romero should still be having nightmares about the consequences of his red card against Chelsea, Destiny Udogie has been brilliant but has also already served two suspensions while Yves Bissouma is currently serving his third suspension of the season having completed the trifecta of five yellow cards, a sending off for two yellow cards and a straight red card in the space of 15 appearances. Throw in Kulusevski getting his fourth and fifth bookings of the season in games 18 and 19 just before the cut-off and you’ve got some extremely careless goings-on, but ones entirely in keeping with the chaos of England’s premier banter football club.


West Ham
Most bookings: Emerson Palmieri and Edson Alvarez (7)
Anyone else in danger? Lucas Paqueta has six, everyone else should be fine

Two very likely lads here with Paqueta a lively outsider to reach 10 cautions before the amnesty.


Most bookings: Mario Lemina (7)
Anyone else in danger? Nelson Semedo, Joao Gomes, Craig Dawson and Rayan Ait-Nouri all a couple behind and needing to avoid carelessness.

Lemina managed to get himself six yellow cards in his first eight games. Two of those came in the eighth, against Villa, which has the counter-intuitive effect of bringing his overall number of yellow cards down for our purposes. Made up for it, though, with three more cautions in his last six. Four goals in his last nine is probably the stat he’d be more keen on telling you about, mind.