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Who are the most fouled players in the League? An Opta Stats Comparison

The new season is almost upon us and with there being a plethora of blogs on who could win the league (and Football Betting Tips sites all favouring Manchester City to retain) we thought we’d do something different and analyse a metric that isn’t usually covered: the most fouled players in the league.

Whilst the topic of the most fouled player has been covered elsewhere already, albeit very briefly, we thought we’d go into a bit more detail courtesy of our new Top Stats tool (to be launched at the start of the season) that will allow our members to filter and sort players from top to bottom for a whole host of statistics that are available on the Stats Centre (Subscribe now!).

Firstly here are some quick definitions of Ground Duels and Aerial Duels from Opta that will be referred to in the article:

Ground Duels

A duel is an 50-50 contest between two players of opposing sides in the match. For every Duel Won there is a corresponding Duel Lost depending on the outcome of the Duel.

Aerial Duels

This is where two players challenge in the air against each other. The player that wins the ball is deemed to have won the duel. When more than two players are involved the player closest to the duel winner is given an Aerial Duel lost.

More Opta definitions can be found here.

Most Fouled Players in the Premier League

Clearly Jonas Gutierrez was fouled the most times with 85 fouls won for his team Newcastle United. Victor Moses, Luis Suarez and Clint Dempsey were all in the 70’s and not far behind Jonas.

Other players in the Top 20 (shown to the left) include some of the Top 20 dribblers in the Premier League. These include Suarez, Dembele, Moses, Sessegnon, Nathan Dyer & Scott Sinclair whilst there are also players that retain the ball well like Mikel Arteta, Kevin Doyle (held the ball up well for Wolves) and Wes Hoolahan.

(Please note all players in the list have played 1700 minutes or more in the 2011/12 Premier League campaign).

Also in this Top 20 are players that appear in the top 20 list for most Aerial Duels attempted. Players like Peter Crouch, David Ngog and Jonathan Walters all appear in the Top 20 for Aerial Duels attempted and as you’d all have witnessed whilst watching these Premier League games a lot of fouls are won when jumping for these duels.

However the majority of these players are those that attempt the most ground duels. Out of the Top 20 most fouled players 50% of them also appear in the most ground duels attempted Top 20 list.

The players on this list involved in most ground duels are: Dembele, Gutierrez, Suarez, Dyer, Moses, Doyle, Dempsey, Sessegnon, Barton and Gareth Bale.

So the most fouled player is Jonas Gutierrez but is he fouled the most often? No he’s not!

Who was fouled most often?

Luis Suarez was fouled the most often in the Premier League last year. Suarez was also the player who attempted the most dribbles per game (although most successful dribbles is held by Junior Hoilett) and attempted a lot of ground duels so you can see why he would get fouled the most.

(Please note all players in the list to the right have played 1700 minutes or more in the 2011/12 Premier League campaign).

How did we get this stat? We divided the number of minutes by fouls won to give a minutes per foul figure and Luis Suarez was fouled every 34.55 minutes. Nathan Dyer also jumps up the list from seventh to second and was fouled every 37.08 minutes – again Dyer also attempted a high amount dribbles last season and it’s pretty obvious these types of players will take up the top spots when being fouled.

The surprising name on here is Grant Holt – neither does he appear in the Top 20 dribblers, nor the Top 20 Duels and he’s not even in the Top 20 for those that attempted the most Aerial Duels. However looking at his total ground duels tally he has attempted 297 duels in a mere 2245 minutes which is around a ground duel every 7.56 minutes (success rate of only 34.68%) which could explain why he’s so high on this list.

Players like Moses and Dembele are expected to be high on the list as both appear high on the ground duels attempted and the dribbles attempted top 20’s.

Some of these players are also the most dangerous for their sides, Suarez, Dempsey, Sessegnon, Crouch, Demba Ba, Gareth Bale, Adel Taraabt, Victor Moses, Grant Holt and Swansea’s duo Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair were all very important for their sides last season and would be targeted by their opponents to be stopped.

We’ll have more analysis on interesting stats from last season leading up to the launch of our Top Stats feature as the start of the new Premier League season draws closer.

All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.comSubscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) Read about new additions to the stats centre & check back closer to the start of the season for the new Top Stats feature!

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