But now take a look at intercepts. Leicester are way ahead of anyone else – which gives a real clue as to what they are doing to get to the top of the league. However when we played them at Leicester we stopped that flow and did it back to them – a very clever tactic.
The website Thisinterestsme.com adds some data from earlier times. Using data from the 2003-2004 season and onward, they generated details of the dirtiest Premier League football teams.
A list of the dirtiest Premier League clubs in 2003-14 ordered by their average fouls per game…
- Watford: 14.79 fouls per game.
- Leeds: 14.26 fouls per game.
- Leicester: 13.76 fouls per game.
- Blackburn: 13.55 fouls per game.
- Derby: 13.26 fouls per game.
What links these teams is that they were relegation fodder. Leicester are the only team in the list above that are currently in the Premier League.
So, instead we can look at team that have spent a fair amount of time in the premier division between 2003 and 2014.
- Blackburn: 13.55 fouls per game.
- Aston Villa: 12.704 fouls per game.
- West Ham: 12.31 fouls per game.
- Everton: 12.24 fouls per game.
- Wigan: 12.14 fouls per game
Blackburn are here because they managed to stay in the Premier League until the end of the 2011–2012 season. (“How hard can it be?” as the Venky lady said).
Next the site turned to the dirtiest squads in recent memory. Remember the Tiny Totts are the dirtiest team in the Premier League at the moment with 14.3 fouls per game.
- Newcastle committed 15.79 fouls per game in the 05-06 season.
- Blackburn committed 15.61 fouls per game in the 04-05 season.
- Aston Villa committed 15.26 fouls per game in the 04-05 season.
- Blackburn committed 14.95 fouls per game in the 05-06 season.
- Tiny Totts committed 14.84 fouls per game in the 03-04 season.
Now these figures all come from 2003-14 period and yet all the worst figures come from the first three years in that era.
This graph from thisinterestsme.com shows that fouls dropped to 2011/12 but then started up again.
To verify this we can look at team with the least number of fouls?
- Swansea: 8.13 fouls per game in 2011-2012.
- Spurs: 8.95 fouls per game in 2011-2012.
- Cardiff: 9.00 fouls per game in 2013-2014.
- Tiny Totts: 9.00 fouls per game in 2012-2013.
- Wolves: 9.08 fouls per game in 2011-2012.
Moving on there is the question of whether certain players are targeted by the defensive cloggers. The most fouled player is Andrew Ayew from Swansea, followed by Alexis Sanchez according to figures from the Mail.
Last thing, the worst offenders last season.
|1||Moussa Sissoko||Newcastle United||2||9||11|
|2||Tom Huddlestone||Hull City||2||7||9|
|3||Mike Williamson||Newcastle United||2||7||9|
|4||Paul Konchesky||Leicester City||2||4||6|
|5||Kyle Naughton||Swansea City||2||1||3|
|7||Joey Barton||Queens Park Rangers||1||11||12|
|11||Jonjo Shelvey||Swansea City||1||9||10|
|12||Ciaran Clark||Aston Villa||1||9||10|
|13||Jason Puncheon||Crystal Palace||1||8||9|
|15||Damien Delaney||Crystal Palace||1||7||8|
|16||Gabriel Agbonlahor||Aston Villa||1||7||8|
|17||James Collins||West Ham United||1||7||8|
|18||Pablo Zabaleta||Manchester City||1||7||8|
|20||Carlos Sanchez||Aston Villa||1||7||8|
|21||Daryl Janmaat||Newcastle United||1||7||8|
One Arsenal player. Three for Chelsea all in a row.
So what can we conclude?
Fouls have been declining but are on the up, but of course we don’t know how much of this is managerial tactics, player incompetence, or a change in the way games are refereed.
Arsenal get the fewest number of yellows, and have almost the lowest number of fouls, and a fairly high number of tackles. It shows a fundamentally different form of play from, for example, the Tiny Totts.
The Untold Books
Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed football, is now available on Kindle at £9.99. For more details and to buy a copyplease click here or go to Amazon Kindle and search forWoolwich Arsenal.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal
- Danny Karbassiyoon – what’s it like? By Danny Karbassiyoon
- Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970. By John Sowman. Introduction by Bob Wilson.
Anniversaries – the full list of anniversaries can be found here
- 26 November 1955: Doug Lishman final senior game, a 0-1 home defeat for Burnley. He joined Nottm Forest and scored a hat-trick in the match that got Nottingham Forest promoted in 1956/7, but retired in the summer of 1957 to join his father-in law in a furniture retail business in Stoke on Trent,
- 26 November 1958: Danny Clapton only appearance for England