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Premier League Betting and Odds

Which club has the dirtiest players in the Premier League this season?

by Tony Attwood

It’s a while since we’ve reiterated the rules on yellow cards (one of our three prime measures of club and player tactics) so in case you have forgotten they are…

Five yellows accumulated before match week 19 results in a one-match ban.

Ten yellows accumulated by week 32 will result in a two-match ban.

Fifteen yellows by week 38 means a three-match ban.

Twenty yellows in a season can result in the Regulatory Commission punishing the player in a manner that they deem to be most fitting.  That doesn’t often happen.

I believe “week 19” means the weekend after which most clubs have played 19 games, rather than the week in which they should have played 19 games, but strangely it is a little hard to find that definition confirmed 

And if that is right, then matchweek (or as it is called in some places gameweek) 19 includes the games on Boxing Day and 27 December.   So players have to avoid five yellows by then.  Which by and large makes it four games to go.

Now of course under this system, it is possible for a manager to avoid playing a player who is likely to get one more yellow card to take him over the limit, although I am not sure how often that happens.

So who could be up for the chop – and indeed who is already chopped?

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Pos Player Club Nationality Stat
1. Emmanuel Dennis Watford
 Nigeria
6
2. Richarlison Everton
 Brazil
5
2. Oliver Skipp Tottenham Hotspur
 England
5
2. James Tarkowski Burnley
 England
5
2. Ashley Westwood Burnley
 England
5
6. Josh Brownhill Burnley
 England
4
6. Liam Cooper Leeds United
 Scotland
4
6. Rúben Neves Wolverhampton Wanderers
 Portugal
4
6. Shane Duffy Brighton and Hove Albion
 Ireland
4
6. Adam Lallana Brighton and Hove Albion
 England
4
6. Aymeric Laporte Manchester City
 Spain
4
6. Jamaal Lascelles Newcastle United
 England
4
6. John McGinn Aston Villa
 Scotland
4
6. Tyrone Mings Aston Villa
 England
4
6. Rodrigo Leeds United
 Spain
4
6. Mathias Normann Norwich City
 Norway
4
6. Christian Nørgaard Brentford
 Denmark
4
6. Paul Pogba Manchester United
 France
4
6. Declan Rice West Ham United
 England
4
6. Matt Ritchie Newcastle United
 Scotland
4

No one from Arsenal – which is not surprising as we are running the “don’t tackle” approach to football, and tackles are of course the prime source of fouls.

If we declare all players on four or more yellows to be a sign of the dirtier players in the league, we can see which clubs are the naughtiest in this regard

  • Burnley: 3 players
  • Brighton and Hove: 2 players
  • Newcastle United: 2 players
  • Aston Villa: 2 players

So it looks like most clubs are managing their playing habit quite well in terms of not losing multiple players.   Except Burnley – which is certainly what we found on our away trip there.

Interestingly Burnley are 13th in the fouling league having committed 44 fouls fewer than Watford, the out and out fouling champions of the year.  Which really does tell us something about the fouls Burnley put in – they come from a couple a rather irksome oiks.

And what is even more interesting is the fact none of the top five fouling teams has a player pending a suspension – which clearly suggests that these days the tactic is either to cut tackling or to share the fouls out to avoid the yellows and the bans.

But those forthcoming bans do reflect the number of yellow cards certain clubs pick up.

Pos Club Yellow cards
1. Brighton and Hove Albion 32
2. Newcastle United 32
3. Aston Villa 28
4. Burnley 28
5. Leeds United 28
6. Manchester United 26
7. Watford 26
8. Norwich City 23
9. Crystal Palace 22
10. Southampton 22
11. Tottenham Hotspur 22
12. Wolverhampton Wanderers 22
13. Everton 21
14. Brentford 20
15. Manchester City 19
16. Arsenal 17
17. Leicester City 17
18. Liverpool 14
19. West Ham United 14
20. Chelsea 13

Which all rather explains why Untold Arsenal invented the phrase “rotational fouling” way, way back in our early days, to explain how clubs played against us in the Wenger years while avoiding yellows and reds.

As noted from time to time, the phrase has slipped into journalistic use.  Our contribution to the lexicon, no less.

And here is one more thought.  We are almost one-third of the way through the season and we see that two clubs have collected almost twice as many yellows as Arsenal.   And looking at that Liverpool total of 14, it shows just how different their behaviour was in the game against us last time out as they dramatically upped their fouling rate, just for that game.

What a naughty bunch of ne’er-do-wells those fellows are in the north west.

7 comments to Which club has the dirtiest players in the Premier League this season?

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Tony,

    Sky Sports are showing Sambi Loconga as being on four cards, Auba, Soares and Kolasinac all on two

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    The official PL stats have Sambi on 4 yellows, Auba on 2 and Soares, Kolasinac among 11 players on 1 which agrees with your total of 17. Xhaka of course with our one red card.

  • Ukesox

    Given that the notion of rotational fouling is acknowledged as a tactic why have sanctions against teams that accumulate over & above a certain number of yellow cards within a set time frame not been put in place?

  • porter

    Ukesox By the very notion of rotating the players can always fall short of the yellow card coming from a totting up proceedure.

  • Ukesox

    Porter.. I’m referring to a sanction on the team (ie points deduction) after a certain number of yellows has been awarded against their players.

  • porter

    The problem is that if you do rotational fouling correctly , you don’t get yellow cards

  • Menace

    @Ukesox – sanction on teams by yellow cards already exists. What is needed is a ‘body of football people’ to vet the cards and officiating. Until officiating is transparent nothing will be fair & equitable in football.

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