Checking the stats ahead of Saturday’s match, it is surprising to see Matt Ritchie on the brink of a suspension.
Whilst he has shown great workrate and a determined side to his game, both in defence and attack, still strange to see him at the top of the cautions list for Newcastle.
In just nine Championship starts and two substitute appearances, the Scottish winger has picked up four bookings – against Huddersfield, Brighton, Wolves and Norwich.
Looking further down the list of yellow cards, maybe even more surprising that of the other seven Newcastle players to pick up more than one caution, only two of them are defenders and the other five are strikers or attacking midfielders.
Isaac Hayden hasn’t picked up any and the usual suspects, Colback and Tiote, have picked up only one between them. Having said that, Cheick Tiote has hardly played, although still a big improvement for Colback (23 yellows in 64 NUFC Premier League games) to just have one in seven Championship appearances this term.
If Matt Ritchie gets another yellow in upcoming matches he will pick up a suspension and whilst you don’t want to see any Newcastle player booked, it does look like it is another indication that the club has really got under the winger’s skin. The most he has ever picked up is six and that was when involved in all of Bournemouth’s 46 Championship matches when they were promoted two seasons ago, so to pick up four already is a ‘good’ start this season.
Vurnon Anita picked up a red card at home to Wolves and these are how the 26 yellows are spread around, in contrast the opposition teams have picked up 31 yellows and one red (Brighton’s Baldock):
4 Matt Ritchie
3 Paul Dummett, Dwight Gayle, Jonjo Shelvey
2 Mohamed Diame, Yoan Gouffran, Jamaal Lascelles, Ayoze Perez
1 Jack Colback, Grant Hanley, Daryl Janmaat, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Matz Sels