Friday 23 August 2019

Top 10 most fouled players in the Premier League

Ashley Young, front, has been booked for diving this term
Ashley Young, front, has been booked for diving this term
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

The definition of a foul has changed a little since the Premier League started in 1992, yet the identity of the player has been adjudged to have been fouled the most in the competition’s history may raise a few eyebrows.

Back in the days when Tony Adams, Paul McGrath and Martin Keown were serving up thundering tackles to defy their rivals, the game was a little more physical than it was in 2015.

Yet as we look back on the most fouled players of the Premier League era, a few surprise names make the list.

1. Ashley Young (Watford, Aston Villa and Manchester United) – 540 fouls

The cynics will question whether some of the infringements against Young may have been a little less than credible as this flying winger has developed something of a reputation for taking a tumble under the most delicate of challenges.

Former Man Utd skipper Roy Keane called Young “an absolute disgrace” as he offered some comment on his balancing issues in a Champions League game last week, but he takes the prize as the most fouled Premier League player of all-time.

2. Steven Pienaar (Everton and Tottenham) – 483 fouls

This South African international has yet to play a game for Everton this season as he battles against injury, with his battered body not helped by the huge number of fouls committed against him in recent years.

Pienaar’s silky midfield play appears to have been stopped in no uncertain terms by his rivals down the years.

Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar's injury jinx has struck again

3. Kevin Davies (Southampton, Blackburn, Bolton) – 466

It is safe to suggest that this combative forward has been involved in some bruising battles down the years as not only is he third on the most fouled player charts, he is top of the list for most fouls committed in the Premier League (605).

Davies finally announced his retirement from the game in September at the age of 38 and will be carrying his scars of war with him for years to come.

4. Mikel Arteta (Everton and Arsenal) – 463

No wonder the Arsenal skipper is spending so much time in the treatment room as he edges towards the end of his Premier League career.

Arteta has played with an high energy style that has ensured he has been involved in some high profile battles down the years and the foul count against him confirms as much.

Arsenal capatin Mikel Arteta is expecting to agree a contract extension

5. Gabriel Agonlahor (Aston Villa) - 436

Speedy forward players tend to suffer some less than conventional methods to halt their progress and Agbonlahor has come in for some serious treatment in his decade as a Villa first team player.

Like many appearing in this list, he has spent plenty of time nursing injuries in recent years.

6. Leighton Baines (Everton)  - 386

This flying full-back has been one of the most potent sources of attacking threat for Everton in the last few years, so it is hardly surprising top see Baines featuring on our list.

He has profited from a few fouls committed against him thanks to his ability of sweeping free-kicks into the top corner of the net from set-pieces around the box.

Leighton Baines will step up his recovery from an ankle injury in a behind-closed-doors friendly

7. Gareth Barry (Aston Villa, Manchester City and Everton)  - 365

Another of the names who appear on the list of players who have suffered and committed the most fouls, with Barry second on the list of fouls committed (530) and top of the charts when it comes bookings in the Premier League era (106).

Never one to shirk a challenge, this experienced operator has also been sent off on six occasions.

8. Clint Dempsey (Fulham, Tottenham) - 357

An all-action attacking midfielder who was halted more often than most by foul means, this American international complied his list of fouls in six years as a Premier League player.

Dempsey also held the distinction of being the most prolific American goal scorer in English football’s top division.

Clint Dempsey is shown a red card

9. Scott Parker (Charlton, Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham, Tottenham and Fulham) – 356

Still going strong in the Championship with Fulham, Parker took plenty of hits during his time in the Premier League.

He is also 19th on the list of fouls committed in the top flight (306), confirming that his committed style led to plenty of confrontations.

10. Leon Osman (Everton) – 347

Something of a surprise entry to complete the list, Osman has clearly been targeted by more physical midfielders in his enduring Everton career.

He has spent much of this season in the treatment room, with his long career at the top clearly taking a toll on his body.

Leon Osman believes Everton showed their fighting qualities in the 2-1 win at QPR on Sunday

Online Editors

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport