As predicted, the EFL opening weekend lived up to fan expectations delivering excitement and drama with thrashings, comebacks and late winners all thrown in the mix.However, for the men in the middle, things were overall much calmer. Following the introduction a new joint initiative adopted across English football that aims to promote positive behaviour across the game, some had predicted that rigorous application of laws could lead to a temporary increase in cautions while players adapted to the changes.
But thanks to strong officiating, coupled with a positive first response to the initiative from players and managers in the EFL, a flurry of cards did not manifest, and in total there were three fewer cautions awarded across the opening weekend in comparison to last season.
Overall 109 cautions were shown on the opening day compared to 112 last season. Of those yellows, 10 were issued for aggressive attitude or dissent, an increase of five from last year, yet the figure remained less than 10% of the total cautions shown at 9.2%. This was a slight increase from aggressive attitude and dissent accounting for 4.5% of cautions this time last year.
No. of Cautions opening EFL weekend 2015/16: 112
No. of Cautions opening EFL weekend 2016/17: 109
No. of Cautions for Aggressive Attitude/Dissent opening EFL weekend 2015/16: 5 (4.5%)
No. of Cautions for Aggressive Attitude/Dissent opening EFL weekend 2016/17: 10 (9.2%)
Average no of cautions for Aggressive Attitude per week during 2015/16 season: 6.6
Average no of cautions for Dissent per week during 2015/16 season: 4.6