It is so often the failing of struggling sides or a frustration for those at the top, but which teams have the best/worst discipline in the Premier League?
It is one of the biggest bugbears of Premier League managers, where persistent offsides, reckless challenges and forcing referees to make key decisions affect a teams' destiny.
The 2014/15 season has seen a total of 71 red cards issued, 1361 yellow cards brandished, 83 penalties awarded and 1474 offside flags raised, but who tops the tables?
|Total Red Card||Total Yel Card||Penalty Conceded||Total Offside||Appearances|
In terms of finishing a game a player light, Aston Villa and Newcastle United have had to make up the extra man most often, with both having seen red seven times. Noticeably, Hull City, another struggling club, were next highest with six. At the other end of the scale, Mark Hughes' Stoke City have lost the somewhat one-dimensional image of Tony Pulis' stewardship and have seen red just once.
West Ham have won the Fair Play League, which takes into account a number of additional factors, but they were issued just two red cards this season, as were Arsenal, Burnley, Everton, Manchester City and Sunderland.
Yellow card tables are always difficult to analyse, given how easily they are awarded in the modern game, but in the 2014/15 season Sunderland were far and away the most reckless. With 94 yellows issued - a record-equalling 14 of which were to Lee Cattermole alone - the Black Cats were a full 12 cards higher than anyone else.
Significantly more timid and well behaved on the pitch were Garry Monk's Swansea City with 48, while Leicester City's players behaved markedly better than their manager did at times, with Nigel Pearson's Foxes registering just 49 bookings.
Most reckless in the penalty area were Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion, who both conceded seven penalties, with Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace just one behind with six. Southampton and Swansea, meanwhile, conceded just two.
Many penalty awards are open to interpretation of course, and many managers will feel hard done by when they read the figures. So too with offside decisions, with many being borderline and often being a result of the style of play of attackers or the team in general. Nevertheless, first out of the traps are Southampton, with assistant referees being asked to raise the flag 93 times, closely followed by West Ham United with 91 Manchester United with 87.
Most disciplined in making runs and watching the defensive line were surprisingly Newcastle, with only a staggering 38 offside decisions going against them.
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