Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves is currently walking a tightrope at Wolves, having picked up four yellow cards so far this season.
The 25-year-old has made a bit of a habit of going into the referee’s book this term, drawing cautions against Fulham, Bournemouth, Southampton and Manchester City.
With four yellow cards to his name so far, that puts him joint-second of all players in the Premier League.
Gabriel Jesus, Anthony Gordon, Scott McTominay, Adam Smith and Kenny Tete are the other players currently sitting on four, with Joao Palhinha leading the way on five (via The Athletic).
The Fulham star, and former Wolves transfer target, is the first player to earn a suspension this season through accumulation of yellow cards.
And that will be the same fate for Neves, unless he can somehow avoid a booking until after Wolves have played their 19th Premier League game of the season against Aston Villa on January 2.
Realistically that will not happen, and Neves will soon be unavailable for selection for Bruno Lage.
In an in ideal world, he will avoid another one this Saturday against West Ham United, with a potentially difficult game against Chelsea to follow.
Ultimately though there are no ‘easy’ games in the Premier League and so it will be a big blow whenever that Neves suspension is eventually confirmed.
Ruben Neves is a yellow card magnet and needs to work on picking up fewer, as star faces early suspension
It is frustrating for Neves to have already reached this point, especially when Wolves are struggling and need to pick up points.
Wanderers need him on the pitch at all times. As the best player in the squad, he is absolutely paramount for Bruno Lage.
Neves is an outstanding footballer, and is excellent in terms of his playmaking and defensive work.
But one thing he perhaps could work on is picking up fewer needless bookings. Frustratingly, the ones against City and Bournemouth were both for dissent.
Last term he got 11 across all competitions, with nine coming in the Premier League.
In 2020/21 he picked up seven in the league, and in 2019/20 he accumulated nine in the league.
In 2018/19 he got eight, and in his very first season with Wolves in the Championship he received 12 cautions.
His latest against City means that to date across all competitions, Neves has now been booked 50 times for Wolves.
In his whole career so far at club level, he’s picked up 67 yellows (via Transfermarkt). For context, former Wolves defender Fernando Marcal – known for his aggression and robustness – has accumulated 75 at club level so far and he is almost 10 years older than Neves.
Being booked isn’t a major deal. But when it leads to suspensions then that’s not good. Especially when we’re talking about a player as influential as Neves.