Seeing Red: Who’s The Premier League’s Best At Grinding Out Results?

Nathan Hilditch

Red cards are the ultimate punishment in football, at least on match day. Being reduced to 10-men provides an uphill struggle to see out the rest of the game. Each player has to make up the extra ground, resulting in the offending team often going on to lose the match.

If we have learnt anything from Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, though, it’s an old adage – that any seasoned FIFA player will know – ‘it’s harder to play against 10-men’.

So, who’s right? Well, the answer depends on which team you support. BetBonusCode recently conducted a study to determine the best and worst teams at grinding out a result. Findings are based on teams who have received four or more red cards over a five-year period in the top flight.

The Best:

5. Queens Park Rangers – 33% Win Rate, Six Red Cards

A surprise entry in the top five, none other than perennial Premier League cellar dwellers, QPR. The Rs may not have what it takes to survive a Premier League campaign but they know how to shut up shop. If only they could maintain that performance with 11-men.

4. Liverpool – 33% Win Rate, Nine Red Cards

Liverpool share a win rate with QPR but have an extra win overall after being reduced to 10-men an additional three times. Liverpool’s defence has been under fire recently but there is obviously defensive leaders in this team – they are capable of keeping the opposition out under pressure.

3. Everton – 38% Win Rate, 13 Red Cards

The blue side of Liverpool just edges their fierce rivals to this accolade. The Merseyside derby has seen a lot of sending offs over the years which adds to both sides numbers. The Reds may still be the famous side in Liverpool but the noisy neighbours are the better at seeing games out.

2. Arsenal – 44% Win Rate, 18 Red Cards

What’s most staggering about this is the number of red cards Arsenal have received. Arsene Wenger is quick to complain about protection for his stars but his own side is the most ill-disciplined in the league over the last five years. It doesn’t stop them turning the screw, though, the Gunners go on to win nearly half those fixtures.

1.Manchester City – 70% Win Rate, 10 Red Cards

Manchester City are one of the most dominant sides in the league so it’s no surprise to see them at the top. They like to beat sides by large margins, which are a lot easier to defend, contributing to their success. Still, 70% is a win rate most sides can only dream of with 11-men, very impressive from City.

The Worst:

5. West Bromwich Albion – 10% Win Rate, 10 Red Cards

West Brom have enjoyed Tony Pulis for the past two years, who is no stranger to locking up or grinding out results. It hasn’t helped them a lot here, though, with the Baggies only claiming all three points once.

3. Joint: Bournemouth & Burnley – 0% Win Rate, Four Red Cards

Both are relatively new and inexperienced sides in the Premier League, with contrasting styles. Burnley have been applauded for their defensive play, whilst Bournemouth like to play on the front foot. Neither has had what it takes after seeing a man sent-off, though, without a win between them.

2. Swansea City – 0% Win Rate, 11 Red Cards

As you may have guessed none of the teams left has won a game after being reduced to 10-men. Swansea have enjoyed plenty of success in their time in the top flight. A League Cup win being a particular highlight, but they have also endured plenty of struggles and this is one area they certainly do not excel.

1.Stoke City – 0% Win Rate, 16 Red Cards

A team who has often been painted as a villain and a master of the ‘dark arts’ of defending. Unfortunately for Stoke, their disciplinary record of late does reflect this, with only Arsenal boasting a worse one. Unlike Arsenal, Stoke do not at all thrive under such conditions, without a single win in 16 attempts.

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