Leeds United set new Premier League record at Arsenal, puts history on their side in drop fight
Leeds United are in a precarious position in the relegation battle but aren’t going down wondering as they set a new record for bookings at Arsenal.
Luke Ayling’s mindless red card was the main focus, but yellows for Raphinha and Mateusz Klich took the Whites’ total to 96 for the season, breaking the previous Premier League record set by Sunderland in the 2014-15 season.
The Black Cats received 94 bookings that year, while the previous leader before that was Derby’s 93 in the 1999/2000 season, according to a stat shared by Opta on Twitter.
On both the previous occasions a team battling the drop set a new record for yellow cards received those sides eventually finished 16th.
That looked to be a simple achievement a couple of weeks ago it but would be a God-send now.
While they are currently just a point away from that spot, they are sitting in 18th and inside the relegation zone.
Going down swinging
While Ayling’s sending off has given Jesse Marsch a headache he could have badly done without, the fact that United had picked up an historic number of yellows at least suggests this side are battling, even if they haven’t done it with enough quality.
He risked following his captain off the pitch at the Emirates, but Raphinha’s booking was picked up in furiously remonstrating with the referee after the VAR review that produced the red.
At the very least that shows he hasn’t given up the ghost in this fight, even if the episode might have pushed him closer to a summer exit.
Marsch presided over a change in fortunes that saw a run of 10 points from 12 to lift the previously doomed-looking Whites out of trouble.
But a couple of bad results against top teams has coincided with similar revivals from first manager-less Burnley, and now Frank Lampard’s Everton.
The hope has to be that after the Clarets lost to Aston Villa on Saturday (7 May) their run has stalled in the same way Leeds’ has, and that the Toffees may still do the same, rendering their game in hand worthless.
It is a small signal to hold on to but a 16th-placed finish that emulates the previously undisciplined standard bearers is all this fan base would ask for right now.
In other Leeds United news, Gary Neville has warned of problems ahead after the Arsenal result.