No doubt football is the beautiful game. However, some teams have, at times, turned the beautiful game ugly with their antics on the field. These antics have often led to players being on the wrong side of officials and caused said players to be dismissed off the field of play.
However, which teams have received the most red cards since rebranding the English First Division to the Premier League in 1992?
Everton (106 red cards)
The title of the dirtiest team in Premier League history goes to Everton, who have received 106 red cards in the current era of the English game. The fact that a certain fiery Scottish forward named Duncan Ferguson played for the Toffees didn’t help their cause.
When he wasn’t battering burglars, Ferguson was on the football pitch, causing havoc for opposition defenders in more ways than one. In fact, the former Rangers forward received a joint-record of eight red cards in the Premier League.
Arsenal (104 red cards)
While during the reign of French tactician Arsene Wenger, the Gunners were known for their easy-on-the-eye football, the Gunners could also mix it with the best them when it came to a football battle. One man who epitomised that fighting spirit was French midfielder and captain Patrick Vieira, who is the only Premier League player to match Ferguson’s record of eight dismissals during his top-flight career.
Arsenal have already had a player dismissed just four games into the 2023/24 season, as Japanese international defender Takehiro Tomiyasu saw red in a match against Crystal Palace.
Newcastle United (92 red cards)
The Magpies may be a surprising entry on this list, as, during their recent history, they have suffered the spectre of relegation on several occasions in the Premier League era. However, those days of struggling at the wrong end of the top-flight table now seem over after the north east club’s takeover by takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in 2021.
Those dark days may be over, but Newcastle still remain the team with the third most red cards in Premier League history. It seems unlikely they will catch up with the top two any time soon.
Chelsea (85 red cards)
The Blues may have been competing for big trophies in recent decades, but they have also been accumulating red cards in the Premier League, with 85 red cards in the current era of the game. The biggest offender for Chelsea when it comes to red cards was former England captain John Terry, who received six red cards during his playing career.
French centre-back Frank Leboeuf also received just one fewer red card, while midfield terrier Dennis Wise was dismissed four times in the Premier League for the Blues.
West Ham (82 red cards)
Like higher entrants Newcastle, West Ham have had their fair share of ups and downs in the Premier League era. Some Hammers teams of the past had a reputation for playing good football. However, they have also had some tough tacklers down the years too.
Their toughest tacklers were former captain and icon Mark Noble, who received five red cards during his playing career, and fellow midfielder Steve Lomas, who was dismissed on four occasions. Moroccan defender Nayef Aguerd is the latest Hammers player to be dismissed.
Blackburn Rovers (77 red cards)
Despite a decade of absence from the Premier League, Rovers are still among the worst offenders for red cards in the current era of the top-flight.
The fact that the north west club has spent just 18 years in the Premier League makes their presence on this list slightly more surprising. Rovers are languishing in the Championship, having been crowned English champions in 1995.
Manchester City (75 red cards)
The Citizens have become a highly successful force at home and abroad after winning the Champions League for the first time in season 2022/23. Before their success in the last decade, City’s Premier League campaigns before their trophy-laden periods were underwhelming.
Republic of Ireland centre-back Richard Dunne was a large contributor of red cards, as the former Everton defender was dismissed five times. More recently, Fernandinho and Pablo Zabaleta also picked up four red cards apiece.
Tottenham (73 red cards)
One of few teams ever-present in the Premier League since its rebranding in 1992, Spurs have established themselves as a regular top-four finisher in the last decade. However, the top-flight title has always been just out of reach for the north London club.
The player with the most red cards for Tottenham since the competition’s rebranding was French defender Younes Kaboul, who saw red on four occasions.
Manchester United (71 red cards)
The Red Devils are regarded by many as one of the biggest clubs in the world, having won an incredible 12 Premier League titles. However, United have failed to win the English top-flight title since 2013. Their record of 73 red cards is not great, either.
Unsurprisingly, the United player with the most top-flight dismissals was combative and fiery midfielder Roy Keane, who saw seven red cards.
Aston Villa (65 red cards)
Like Blackburn, Newcastle and West Ham, Villa have spent time outside the English top flight since 1992. The Villans have been prolific when it has come to red cards, accruing 65 dismissals.
The most red cards received in the Premier League by any Villa was by midfielder Lee Hendrie, who picked up four red cards.