Being top of the points table is the dream for every Premier League club, but there is certainly one table that you don’t want to be top of, and that is the table for the most red cards in the history of the competition.
Be it talking back to the referee, fighting on the pitch, persistent fouling or simply rocking up with a horrendous tackle on an opponent, there have been plenty of dramatic red cards dished out to Premier League players over the years.
While the game is undeniably changing, the drama and controversy of a red card will always remain, but which clubs have the most red cards in the history of the Premier League?
The top 10 clubs with the most Premier League red cards
Aston Villa – 65
The likes of Gareth Barry, Lee Hendrie and Dion Dublin all chipped in to help Aston Villa clinch a spot in the top 10 list, with Douglas Luiz doing his best to keep up with them this season.
Elsewhere, it’s been somewhat of a team effort that has resulted in the Villans seeing red so often, but it is indeed unsurprising given the fact Villa have played in 27 Premier League campaigns, just three short of the likes of mainstays Manchester United and Liverpool.
Manchester United – 70
Speaking of the Red Devils, they find themselves ninth in the all-time Premier League red cards list, with the footballing giants handed 69 such cards during their constant stay in the competition.
Again unsurprisingly, it is a certain midfielder by the name of Roy Keane who leads the way in terms of ex-Man United players, well supported by the likes of Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Nemanja Vidic, Nani, Paul Pogba and even Cristiano Ronaldo. Casemiro is now on the list after his overly aggressive moment in the recent meeting with Crystal Palace.
Tottenham Hotspur – 72
Another club that has played in all 30 full seasons of the Premier League are Tottenham Hotspur, with the north London outfit constantly battling it out with the big guns in the aim of toppling the likes of Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and of course rivals Arsenal.
Former players Gus Poyet and Younes Kaboul were no strangers to an early bath, but current men Hugo Lloris and Heung-min Son are also high up on the list. Such cards are perhaps inevitable given just how long the current stars have been at the club.
Manchester City – 75
Man City weren’t always Premier League title challengers, but the financial income of recent years has helped etch their name in the competition’s history. The Manchester outfit have now played in 25 of the 30 full campaigns so far.
And one constant from them, as with most other clubs, has been red cards, with City picking up 75 in total. Former centre-backs Richard Dunne and Vincent Kompany lead the way alongside ex-midfield anchor Fernandinho, all of whom have three. Current full-back Joao Cancelo could, however, top the list very shortly should he return to the Etihad.
Blackburn Rovers – 77
They may not be playing Premier League football anymore, but Blackburn Rovers were once a mainstay of the competition, and as the evidence shows, the team were not afraid of flying in with a tackle or two.
The 1994/95 Premier League winners are now playing Championship football, but a strong showing this season so far means they are now well in contention to finally return to the top tier.
West Ham – 80
The likes of Steve Lomas, Kevin Nolan, Paul Konchesky, Carlton Cole and John Hartson saw red for east London side West Ham in the Premier League, as did the incomparable former captain Mark Noble. Current defender Aaron Cresswell could, however, overtake the lot if he stays with the club in the years to come.
After a long period of miserable runs in the top flight, the Hammers have finally made their mark in the Premier League in recent years, and with such constant competition comes passion and intensity on the pitch, which often results in a red card or two.
Chelsea – 85
Premier League giants Chelsea have always been in the thick of it for things like titles, wins and goals, but they are also fond of a red card. The Blues, like all good champions, have often done whatever it takes to get the win, and that has inevitably involved picking up red cards here and there. The London outfit have already collected three this season.
Again somewhat unsurprisingly, it is former skipper John Terry who tops Chelsea’s Premier League red card list, but he is joined by Trevor Sinclair, with the pair closely followed by a long list of players that includes Frank Lampard, Dennis Wise, Michael Essien, Thibaut Courtois and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Newcastle – 91
With 27 seasons in the Premier League, Newcastle have also played plenty of matches in the competition, and are therefore well versed in all of the drama surrounding red cards. Two of their own players – Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer – even saw red once upon a time for an on-field scuffle.
Both saw red twice in their Newcastle careers, as did Steven Taylor, Aleksandr Mitrovic and Nolberto Solano. It is, however, former defender Fabricio Coloccini who tops the Magpies’ list with four, with Pavel Srnicek in second on three.
Arsenal – 103
Sitting second in the all-time list are Arsenal, who have been handed more than 100 red cards throughout their lengthy spell in the Premier League. Former midfield maestro Patrick Vieira was responsible for eight of those offences alone, with the ex-France star sitting joint-top of the all-time list.
The likes of Martin Keown, Laurent Koscielny, Sol Campbell, Tony Adams and indeed current manager Mikel Arteta were also no strangers to seeing red while on the pitch for the Gunners.
Everton – 104
And just about taking the title of the Premier League’s dirtiest team are Everton, who have picked up 104 serious offences throughout their life in the top flight. It is perhaps very unsurprising, given that Richard Dunne and Duncan Ferguson are joint-top of the all-time red card list with Vieira with eight each.
The Toffees are one of nine clubs yet to pick up a red in this season’s Premier League campaign, but that could of course all change in the weeks and months to come, with a wise man perhaps betting on the Merseyside outfit to receive one or two reds before the season draws to a close.