Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the dirtiest team of all?



By Bulldog Drummond

Another Untold venture into the, well, untold, as we try and look at fouls in more detail to find the answer to who is playing dirty, who is playing fair, and what PGMO have done to the rules.

If you are a regular reader you will know that we have taken a lot more interest in fouls than other websites, linking them to yellow cards and tackles in our analysis.   However this season PGMO have thrown us into something of a tizz (as one might say, or a lot of swearing if one is of a different frame of mind), by telling its minion officials to wave the yellows around for all sorts of thing.

But fortunately, our old pals WhoScored have come to the rescue by breaking down the yellows in those for fouls (most), unprofessional actions (the smallest group) and a rather annoyingly listed group of “other” (which we think is for time-wasting).  

Speaking of which, what we are not sure about is what happens if a club is awarded a throw in and no one moves across quickly enough (by the referee’s standards) to pick up the ball ready to throw?  Does the referee give a yellow to the player who eventually arrives to take the throw?  If that is the case, no one will come forward!   So then does the whole team get a yellow?

One can’t help thinking that not for the first time, PGMO have ventured into the wilderness without a water bottle.

Anyway, thus far Arsenal are 17th in the fouls table having committed just six in the league.  The club is also in the bottom half of the table among the ten clubs that have not committed an act deemed as unprofessional.  No one from any club so far has been sanctioned for diving.  Which leaves the “other column” – which varies enormously from the naughty Tottenham Hots with 10 “others” to the goodie-goodie Brentford and Everton each with two.

So off we go to the Premier League site to seek verification and explanation, and immediately hit a snag because the number of yellows shown in the WhoScored table does not always equal the number given on the PL site!

We have given the total from adding up the various WhoScored categories and after much scratching of the heads we think the total given in the PL  table does that but also includes red cards.  We’ve listed those totals in brackets and are sticking the with number of straight yellows (the total of the four columns before), at least for the moment.   But an explanation from somewhere would be good!  Besides if the PGMO can’t count yellow cards properly, how on earth do they expect us to believe they can referee matches???

Anyway in what follows the total number of yellow cards is taken as the first number in the final column, being the total number of cards waved for fouls, unprofessional behaviour, diving and a spot of the “others” whatever that might be.  (We rather think it was what in the old days commentators called “a spot of argy-bargy”).

I should also add the WhoScored table includes a column for “dive” but no one has had a yellow for a dive so far so we’ve cut that.

Now after all this, what we find is that the top three dirtiest teams in the league (Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United) have already accumulated more than twice as many yellows than the six cleanest teams (including Arsenal).

If this continues then by the end of the season we will see some teams with over 130 yellows and others with around 60.

The dirtiest teams in the traditional mould (ie for straight fouls rather than unprofessional or other naughty conduct) all have 10+ cards for fouls.  There are nine such clubs, almost half the league.  The cleanest clubs in terms of fouls are Liverpool, Manchester City, Luton Town, and Arsenal.

Here’s the table…


R Team Fouls Unprofes Other PL total
1 Nottingham Forest 13 4 5 21 (22)
2 Tottenham Hots 10 1 10 21
3 Sheffield United 13 0 9 20 (22)
4 Brighton & Hove 9 1 8 18
5 Chelsea 12 2 5 18 (19)
6 Newcastle United 11 1 5 17 (18)
7 Fulham 12 0 8 16 (20)
8 Wolverhampton W 8 2 9 16 (19)
9 Manchester United 9 1 6 16
10 Aston Villa 11 0 5 16
11 West Ham United 13 0 4 15 (17)
12 Everton 10 0 2 12
13 AFC Bournemouth 7 0 4 11
14 Brentford 9 0 2 11
15 Burnley 8 0 4 10 (12)
16 Crystal Palace 7 0 2 9
17 Liverpool 2 3 6 9 (11)
18 Arsenal 6 0 5 9 (11)
19 Luton Town 5 0 3 8
20 Manchester City 4 2 3 8 (9)


Of course it is the “other column” which is intriguing because we don’t know what it is for.  So we go looking at the official Premier League site to see, but there is no indication there either of what we are looking for, which is a shame really,  It would be nice to know.   

But still, Arsenal have somewhere between nine and eleven cards while Tottenham have 21 for sure.  Curiously, the media seem rather reluctant to mention such details.  Have they forgotten, or is it just because it is Tottenham?

2 Replies to “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the dirtiest team of all?”

  1. Talking of Spurs, how Romero finishes a match on the park I will never know. One of the dirtiest modern day players I have ever seen, and what he gets away with is simply astonishing.

  2. When I Saw the heradline I immediately thought it was Leeds. But looking at the table, I realised that theyhad been relegated.

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