Where are the bookings coming from this weekend? A look back at the historic stats for the Europea League’s feistiest finals
The 2019/20 season will finally be over on Sunday night after the Europa League and Champions League finals take place in Germany and Portugal respectively. Everybody loves a showpiece final; there has to be a winner and a loser, as two teams go at it with everything on the line, which got us thinking there must be more opportunity when betting on yellow cards compared to a cagey regular fixture.
The FA Cup final gave us a taster with card-friendly Anthony Taylor brandishing seven cards (six yellows and a red) compared to this season’s Premier League average of 3.5 cards per game.
Before setting our sights on who we’ll be backing to be booked for these games, we’ve taken a look back at the two European cup finals, alongside the domestic cup finals in Europe’s top five leagues (FA Cup, Copa Del Rey, DFB Pokal, Coppa Italia, Coupe de France) to see if we can expect a feisty final and the key trends lay.
History suggests that more yellow cards are shown in the Europa League final compared to the Champions League. In the last ten finals, the Europa League averages a juicy 6.4 compared to the UCL’s 4.1 which is still not to be sniffed at.
After looking at all of the finals in-depth to try and pinpoint why this is the case, there is one glaring reason… Sevilla.
The Spanish outfit and the Europa League go together like fish and chips, Ant and Dec or Harry Redknapp and Niko Kranjar. They have played in the competition 15 times and won a record five trophies, two more than Liverpool’s three and since it was rebranded in 2010, they have won 33% of the tournaments because of their historic three-in-a-row between 2014-2016 under Unai Emery.
In those three finals against Benfica, Dnipro and Liverpool they have seen over three yellows in each game and have won all three, suggesting they have clinical experience in knowing how to get the job done in this competition.
When looking at the other domestic finals it is no surprise that the Copa Del Rey boast the most average yellow cards per game with 6.6, compared to the Coupe de France’s 3.8 - Sevilla featured three times, amassing 18 cards in those games.
This included a 2-0 defeat to Barcelona, where they had seven players booked and two sent off, Ever Benega being one of those given his marching orders. Fast forward to 2020, and Sevilla find themselves in their fourth final in seven seasons after dumping favourites Man Utd out in the semi’s
So who are the usual suspects that are in-line for a booking on Friday night? In our betting preview for the game, Anton Eadson is adding ex-Man City midfielder Fernando into his 35/1 same game multi after he’s notched an impressive 15 cautions this season...
Lucas Ocampus has had a brilliant season but the passionate South American is no stranger to the referees book after receiving 11 cautions in all comps. Lopetegui has passed him fit and at 12/5 he could be a good bit of value for your Europa League final bets.
Our final suggestion looks like an unbelievable bet and massively overpriced. 21-year-old French centre-half, Jules Kounde is 4/1 to be booked against Inter. He has had his breakthrough season but faces a tough task on Friday when he comes up against Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez and his inexperience in dealing with two wiley operators could see him caught out and see yellow, and at that price we think it’s well worth a punt.