Chelsea close in on Leeds United’s Premier League record… but newfound maturity after Mauricio Pochettino’s video intervention bodes well for the future


  • Chelsea player sat down by manager for giving up ‘stupid’ yellow card
  • Their maturity has increased since last December’s meeting in Cobham
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One of the ways Mauricio Pochettino has improved the maturity of young Chelsea players this season is through video training in December. The team sat down at Cobham and were shown a series of clips which the manager described as “silly” yellow cards.

Of course, Nicolas Jackson also played a big role, having already received seven Premier League warnings by then, only one of which was deemed understandable for a foul that killed off a Tottenham Hotspur counterattack. The same goes for Reece James and Raheem Sterling, who were both booked for unnecessary kicks at Newcastle United. Enzo Fernandez was guilty of the same minor offense against Brighton, with Conor Gallagher picking up his second yellow card of the game.

Pochettino reminded his players that the Premier League has “changed the rules” – they will be punished for any misdemeanor, from kicking a ball to blocking a free kick, to complaining to the referee to pushing an opponent.

It was a topic that came up in subsequent team meetings, with Pochettino trying to ensure his side stick to that mentality. They were told that in competitive football, warnings are unavoidable, but there is a right way and a wrong way to get them from a referee who likes to play cards.

To its credit, the message appears to have finally penetrated.

Chelsea are closing in on the Premier League record for most yellow cards in a season

Chelsea are closing in on the Premier League record for most yellow cards in a season

Nicholas Jackson received seven Premier League warnings ahead of a meeting in December, only one of which was deemed understandable by the Blues

Mauricio Pochettino sat the team down and showed them some silly yellow card clips

Mauricio Pochettino sat the team down and showed them some silly yellow card clips

Chelsea have kept inappropriate behavior to a minimum since the start of the year. They could still lose control of their emotions – as Benoit Badyashle and Noni Maduek had them disallowed for protesting at the end of the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa The winning goal was the same as being warned – but the change in behavior across the team was evident.

Chelsea warned against objections by month

August: 1

September: 2

October: 1

November: 1

December: 7

January: 3

February: 0

March: 0

April: 3

May: 0

Even when Tottenham restarted the match on the anniversary of the Battle of the Bridge shortly after Villa defeated Tottenham 2-0, they did not receive a single yellow card. In the 5-0 win over West Ham United, only Marc Cucurella was carded for hitting on the counter-attack.

This was a marked improvement from the dissent-dominated nature of the first half of the campaign.

However, after the serious damage done earlier in the season, Chelsea find themselves closing in on an unwelcome Premier League record. With three games left, they have collected 98 yellow cards, just three shy of Leeds United’s record total of 101 yellow cards in 2021-22.

Starting with Saturday’s game against Nottingham Forest, Pochettino’s men will need to be on their best behavior to avoid becoming the new warning champions.

It won’t be easy, at a time when emotions are running high as Chelsea fight for European football, but Pochettino will feel the maturity shown in the second half of the season is a sign of things to come.

Chelsea are just three yellow cards away from Leeds United's record of 101 yellow cards in the 2021-22 season

Chelsea are just three yellow cards away from Leeds United’s record of 101 yellow cards in the 2021-22 season

Chelsea have kept inappropriate behavior on the pitch to a minimum since the start of the year

Premier League teams with the most yellow cards in each season

1992-93 – Sheffield United (58)

1993-94 – Sheffield United (44)

1994-95 – Wimbledon (72)

1995-96 – Middlesbrough (73)

1996-97 – Arsenal/Chelsea (81)

1997-98 – Derby County (81)

1998-99 – Everton (91)

1999-00 – Derby County (93)

2000-01 – Derby County (81)

2001-02 – Leicester City (76)

2002-03 – Birmingham City (71)

2003-04 – Leeds United (70)

2004-05 – Blackburn Rovers (69)

2005-06 – Blackburn Rovers (74)

2006-07 – West Ham United (85)

2007-08 – Middlesbrough (86)

2008-09 – Blackburn Rovers (74)

2009-10 – Sunderland (77)

2010-11 – Newcastle United (78)

2011-12 – Chelsea (74)

2012-13 – Stoke City (78)

2013-14 – Aston Villa (78)

2014-15 – Sunderland (94)

2015-16 – Aston Villa (75)

2016-17 – Watford (84)

2017-18 – West Ham/West Brom(73)

2018-19 – Watford (77)

2019-20 – Arsenal (86)

2020-21 – Sheffield United (73)

2021-22 – Leeds United (101)

2022-23 – Leeds United/Wolves/Nottingham Forest (84)

2023-24 – Chelsea (98)



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