With the 2013/2014 Premier League season nearly upon us and card markets becoming more and more popular with bookies and punters alike, we take a look at which players were the ‘dirtiest’ last season.
We have done this by not only looking at the players who were carded the most last season but also looking at which committed the most fouls. To make this a fair comparison, we have also worked out how often these players committed fouls and were booked last season as well as looking at how often they entered into challenges during the 2012/2013 season.
First of all, we take a look at which players received the most bookings and red cards last season.
Players To Receive The Most Cards
Craig Gardner received the most cards last season, as he was booked 10 times and sent off once. Luis Suarez, Bradley Johnson and Matthew Lowton all received 10 yellow cards, while Dean Whitehead, Steven N’Zonzi and Stephane MBia all received 9 yellow cards and were sent off once.
James Collins, James Perch, Leon Osman, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin and Ryan Shawcross all received 9 yellow cards last season, while Ramires received 8 yellow cards and was sent off once.
However, as all these players played a different amount of games last season, it is also important to see how often the players to receive 7 cards or more last season were booked or sent off.
Out of all the players to receive 7 cards or more last season, Paul Scholes received one the most often as he was booked 7 times in just 769 minutes of Premier League football last season, which is no surprise considering his record. Dean Whitehead received a card every 139 minutes last season, while Newcastle trio James Perch, Michael Williamson and Cheik Tiote received a card every 202, 214 and 220 minutes respectively.
Charlie Adam received a card every 222 minutes, while Steve Sidwell (234), Stephane Mbia (237), Esteban Granero (238) and Fabian Delph (243) all received a card quite frequently last season. Craig Gardner, who received the most cards last season (11) received a card every 258 minutes, while Gary Caldwell (261), Yohan Cabaye (265), Billy Jones (276) and James Collins (277) make up the list of the players to receive a card the most often last season.
After looking at which players received a card the most often last season, it is also important to look at how often each of these players entered into challenges last season. Each players minutes per challenge is how often each player made a tackle, entered into a ground 50-50 or an aerial 50-50 last season.
James Perch committed a foul less often than any other player in this comparison (121 minutes) and entered into a challenge every 8.42 minutes, but only Dean Whitehead and Paul Scholes were booked more often than the former Newcastle player last season. This helps to show that although Perch didn’t commit a foul very often last season, when he did commit a foul it was a bad enough foul to receive a card.
It also shows (what most of us already knew) that Paul Scholes can’t tackle, as he committed a foul every 38 minutes, was booked every 110 minutes but only entered into a challenge every 6.99 minutes last season. Cheik Tiote entered into a challenge more often and committed a foul more often than any of the other players in this comparison, which is expected as his role in the Newcastle team is to break up play.
This helps to show the difference between James Perch and Cheik Tiote, as although both players were carded frequently last season the difference in how often each player enters into a challenge and commit a foul is plain to see.
Players To Commit The Most Fouls
Grant Holt committed 82 fouls last season, which was more than any other player. This was two more fouls than Marouane Fellaini who committed 80, 8 more than Mikel Arteta who committed 74 fouls last season and 13 more than Bradley Johnson who committed 69 fouls last season. Christian Benteke committed 66 fouls, Morgan Schneiderlin committed 65 fouls, while Kevin Nolan (64 fouls), Papiss Cisse (61 fouls), Claudio Yacob (60 fouls) and Cheik Tiote (58 fouls) make up the top 10 for players to commit the most fouls last season.
However, as all these players played a different amount of games last season it is also important to take a look at how often players committed fouls last season. To make it into this part of the comparison the players would have had to commit 40 fouls or more last season.
Cheik Tiote committed a foul every 30 minutes last season, which was more often than any other player to commit 40 fouls or more last season. Grant Holt committed a foul every 31 minutes, Carlton Cole and Charlie Adam both committed a foul every 34 minutes, while Marouane Fellaini committed a foul every 35 minutes.
Lucas and Steve Sidwell committed a foul every 38 minutes, Mikel Arteta committed a foul every 40 minutes, Claudio Yacob committed a foul every 41 minutes, while both Aaron Ramsey and Christian Benteke committed a foul every 43 minutes last season. Pavel Pogrebnyak (44 minutes), Mousa Dembele (45 minutes), Franco Di Santo (47 minutes), Stephane M’Bia (47 minutes), Shane Long (48 minutes) and Andy Carroll (48 minutes) all committed fouls quite frequently last season.
We have also looked at how often these players entered into a challenge last season, as players that enter into challenges more often will tend to commit more fouls. How often these players were booked last season has also been taken into consideration.
Not only did Cheik Tiote commit a foul more often than any of the players in the table, he also received a card more often than any other player. Tiote also entered into a challenge every 4.48 minutes which was more often than any of the other centre midfielders in this comparison apart from Lucas Leiva and Marouane Fellaini. However, with Liverpool having 8.6% and Everton having 4.3% more of the possession than Newcastle last season, and with Tiote’s role in the team being to break up play, this is not surprising.
Although Charlie Adam was one of the players to receive a card and commit a foul most frequently last season, he only entered into a challenge every 6.29 minutes, which was less often than all of the players in this comparison apart from Franco Di Santo. This helps to show that when Charlie Adam did go in for a challenge last season, it was more likely to be a foul or a card than the other players in this comparison.
Andy Carroll entered into a challenge more often than any of the other strikers, while Grant Holt committed a foul and received a card more often than any of the other strikers. Shane Long committed a foul every 48 minutes, which was the same as Andy Carroll but received a card every 722 minutes compared to Carroll who received a card every 388 minutes.
Mikel Arteta committed the third most fouls in the Premier League season, but only received a card every 497 minutes. Out of all the other midfielders in this comparison, only Moussa Dembele went longer without receiving a card last season.
Who’s the dirtiest?
A lot needs to be taken into consideration when deciding on the ‘dirtiest’ players in the Premier League, as the amount of fouls committed and cards received isn’t enough. It is also important to take into consideration how many minutes each of the players has played during the season, what position they play, how many challenges they enter into during the season as well as how much possession the team they play for averages throughout the season.
Teams that have a higher percentage of the possession will obviously have less time to commit fouls and receive cards than the teams that average a lower percentage of the possession, while Strikers and defensive midfielders will tend to commit more fouls as they tend to challenge for the ball more often than other positions.
However, Cheik Tiote committed a foul every 30 minutes which was more often than any of the other players to commit 40 fouls or more last season and received a card every 220 minutes. This is mainly down to the role he has at Newcastle, as he is the one midfielder that is expected to break up play and that coupled with Newcastle’s struggles this season, Tiote’s stats are not surprising.
His former teammate, James Perch however received a card 18 minutes more often than Tiote last season, but entered into a challenge 3.94 minutes less often than the Ivorian. This is where the argument on who the dirtier player is comes down to your own personal opinion, as it can be argued that James Perch is the dirtier player as more of his challenges result in cards or that Cheik Tiote is the dirtier player as he commits a foul more often.
The same can also be said for Charlie Adam, as he has entered into a challenge less often than most of the other centre midfielders in this comparison, but committed fouls and received cards quite frequently. With Stoke only averaging 43.3% of the possession last season and Adam’s role in a Stoke team that received more cards than any other team last season this is not surprising.
Another interesting concept that may also have an impact on how often a player has a foul given against them or receives a card is their reputation and relationships with certain referees. Would the same challenge by say Joey Barton and David Beckham have the same outcome? Would Joey Barton receive a card while Beckham gets away scot free?
Steve Bennett has booked Dean Whitehead 8 times in 11 games, is this down to Whitehead making 8 bad tackles and deserving yellow cards or has Steve Bennett booked the player on his reputation? It would certainly be interesting to find out.