Premier League Bad Boys: Ranking the Dirtiest Players in England This Season
There are some players in the English Premier League who have mastered the art of making a tackle, and there are others who just haven't been able to do it. Some players are very talented players, but for some reason, they feel they need to try to influence the referee to help them out at all times and complain about every decision.
The 2011 English Premier League season has come to a close, and it is now time to give out the end of season awards. Players have been receiving various different honors such as the Player of the Year as selected by the writers and the Player of the Year as selected by the players.
Meanwhile United striker Dimitar Berbatov and City striker Carlos Tevez will share the Premier League Golden Boot after finishing the season with 20 goals apiece.
There are several awards and end of the season reviews going on right now to keep fans entertained before Saturday's Champions League final, not to mention the tons of transfer rumors floating around. But who are the ones that get all the attention? The goal scorers, often leaving the bad boys behind.
As we vote on what is the goal of the season we must remember, often times, if it weren't for the bad boys of the Premier League, that wonderful free kick never would have been taken.
There are certain players out there who are defensive masters, and there are others who just haven't been able to figure out how to make a tackle (see Scholes, Paul). This doesn't necessarily make you a dirty player; rather, one who hears the whistle being blown and sees his name go into the book far too often. Meanwhile, there are also players out there who have mastered the art of constantly fouling players without getting their names taken.
Here are the 10 dirtiest players in the Premier League this season.
10. Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
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There is not one person that is not a Chelsea fan who likes Didier Drogba. There are two reasons for this: when he is on form, he is one of the most terrifying strikers in the world to be going up against, and when he is not on form, he is one of the biggest pains in the behind.
There is no doubt Drogba is a talented striker and he is one of the best in the world. But when things aren't going Drogba's way, why oh why does he feel the need to become a baby and whine about every decision the referee makes?
When things aren't going Chelsea's way, Drogba turns into a child with bad sportsmanship. Instead of trying to get even with goals, he tries to physically get even. While he stays out of the referee's book, Drogba committed 56 fouls this season, the eighth most in the league.
For such a talented player, it's a shame he lets this childish behavior get the best of him. Many people lay the blame on John Terry for missing his penalty during the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow, but let's not forget that that match may not have even gone to penalties if it weren't for Drogba getting sent off for slapping Nemanja Vidic in the face.
In the end for Drogba, was that slap really worth it?
9. Nigel De Jong (Manchester City)
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Back in July, Spain defeated the Netherland 1-0 in one of the dirtiest World Cup finals ever played. English referee Howard Webb handed out a World Cup finals record 14 yellow cards, eight of them going to the Dutch. Right at the forefront of the questionable Dutch tactics was midfielder Nigel De Jong.
De Jong continued his tackling game right through the Premier League season. With Manchester City changing their tactics to learning how to play defensive football, their holding midfielders became very important players, especially De Jong.
De Jong committed 41 fouls in the Premier League season, which is not bad for a whole season's work. However, De Jong saw himself booked nine times this year, the most out of any Manchester City player.
Opposing players are never happy to be facing Nigel De Jong, partially because of how skilled he is, and partially because of how physical he plays.
8. Tim Cahill (Everton)
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For someone as small as Tim Cahill is, he truly has had a remarkable career. Despite his size, Cahill has become a great aerial threat and scores a bunch of goals with his head, many of which have been important for Everton.
But when you are as small as Tim Cahill, you are going to get pushed around a lot. If you want to make it in the Premier League, you are going to have to push back.
Tim Cahill pushes back. The firery Australian does not let physical intimidation get to him. If you go after Cahill, Cahill will come after you.
Despite missing a chunk of the season due to injury, Cahill was still around long enough to commit 58 fouls in the Premier League this season, the seventh most in the league. One can only imagine how many he would have picked up if he had played the entire season.
While Cahill does pick up a lot of fouls, he also scores a lot of goals, making him a more than worthwhile contributor for the Toffees.
7. Lucas Leiva (Liverpool)
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Lucas Leiva had some big shoes to fill when he arrived at Anfield, having to replace the man who is perhaps the ultimate scumbag and whiner the Premier League had ever seen, Javier Mascherano.
Lucas has now settled into his role as a holding midfielder for Liverpool and played a part in Liverpool's storm back up the table during the second half of the season.
Nonetheless, what Lucas lacks in tackling ability he makes up in with cheeky fouls, an important move as it prevents counter attacks against Liverpool. Lucas committed 62 fouls in the league this year, the fourth highest total.
While Lucas continues to foul more then almost any other player, his lack of bookings tell us that he isn't committing dirty fouls; rather, he just keeps fouling players to allow Liverpool to reset on defense.
6. Clint Dempsey (Fulham)
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When you grow up playing on the dirt fields of Texas, it is no surprise to hear that Clint Dempsey is as physical as he is. Dempsey goes all out all the time, something that many of his teammates learn quickly about him. If there is ever between teammates during training for either Fulham or the United States National team, you could bet that Dempsey is involved.
Clint Dempsey is quickly establishing himself as the best American to ever play in the Premier League. This season, he became the first American to score 10 goals in a Premier League season when he scored 12 for Fulham.
Despite the increase in scoring, Dempsey has never let go of his physical game. Dempsey has been getting into fights on the field since he was a kid, and if you come after him, he will come after you.
That attitude has not changed, and it has led to Dempsey committing 59 fouls in the league this season. However, if he continues to increase his scoring, it is hard to see Fulham minding what else he is doing on the field.
5. Lee Cattermole (Sunderland)
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Lee Cattermole has consistently been one of the dirtiest players in the Premier League. Two seasons ago, Cattermole committed 59 fouls, en route to picking up 11 bookings while playing for Wigan. Somehow, that dirty play earned him a move to Sunderland.
While Cattermole has cut down on the fouls at Sunderland, he is still usually involved in a dirty tackle or two over the course of the season. This season was no different.
Cattermole had his name taken 10 times this year by officials, the second time in the last three years that he has picked up double digit yellow cards.
In addition, Cattermole was also sent off twice this season, tied for the most in the league. That, I'm afraid, is not a coincidence.
4. Charlie Adam (Blackpool)
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Charlie Adam's first season in the Premier League was a personal great success. While he couldn't prevent Blackpool from being relegated, Adam has ensured that he will likely play the rest of his career at the top level of English football.
Adam finished the season with 12 goals and another nine assists. He was involved in a January transfer saga that saw Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson come out and say that Adam's corner kicks are worth £10 million alone. In their ensuing match at Bloomfield road, Adam helped Blackpool jump out to a 2-0 lead against United by setting up two Blackpool goals from corner kicks.
But Adam is not perfect, and while Premier League fans were all glowing and mourning about how they will miss the free flowing attacking style that Blackpool played this season, many have forgotten that despite all the goals, Adam is in fact one of the dirtiest players in the league.
Adam finished the season with 68 fouls, the third most in the league. He also saw his name taken into the book 11 times, also the third most in the league.
While Adam will surely be at the center of a transfer to a club that is remaining in the Premier League next season, that club will not just be getting the goals that Adam provides, but the fouls that come along with them.
3. Kevin Davies (Bolton)
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One could easily understand if a striker is not a good tackler; after all, his job is to score goals first and defend later. However, the inability to tackle did not stop Kevin Davies from trying to tackle this season.
Davies got off to a fast start this season, scoring six goals in Bolton's first 14 games. However, the goals would stop coming, but the tackling attempts never did.
Davies commited an astonishing 115 fouls in the Premier League this season, 40 more than the next highest player. It is no surprise that with 115 fouls came 11 bookings; in fact, what is probably more impressive is that there were ONLY 11 yellow cards for Davies.
Perhaps next season, Davies should focus more on how to score goals throughout the entire season.
2. Barnislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
Ivanovic just before a tackle that should have earned him a second yellow card against Manchester United
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Branislav Ivanovic has proven his woth to Chelsea, pushing up from his right back position to score five goals and add four assists this season. However, the goals that he creates does not change the fact that he is one of the dirtiest players in the Premier League.
As a defender, one of the most important parts, if not the most important part, of your job, and yet Ivanovic just can't seem to get the hang of it. Ivanovic committed 53 fouls this season the highest among all defenders and eight more than the next highest defender.
Ivanovic's inability to tackle saw him pick up 12 yellow cards this season, and many would agree that it should have been at least 13 when he should have seen his second yellow after a first half challenge on Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford.
While Ivanovic was lucky to stay on the field, his inability to tackle hurt Chelsea, as he could not play as aggressivley against United for fear of a second yellow.
Some of the fouls Ivanovic has made have been unlucky or mistimed challenges; however, there have been more then a few where Ivanovic has been so late, one must wonder what he was even thinking of still making the challenge. It is hard to argue against Ivanovic being a dirty player.
1. Cheik Tiote (Newcastle)
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When your manager starts saying things like "I don't know if Cheik Tiote will play because he can be too much of a liability," you know you have a dirty player on your hands.
In fact, when Tiote has only scored once this season and added just one assist, what exactly is he even bringing to the table other then his dirtyness?
Tiote finished the season with a league leading 14 yellow cards and two suspensions for too many yellow cards. He finished with 75 fouls committed, seven more than the next most player, which would have been good enough for most in the league if it weren't for the ridiculousness of Kevin Davies' 115 fouls.
Tiote seemed to just run around the field and have opposing players scared that he may injure them. With a league high in bookings, and the second most fouls committed, it is safe to call Cheik Tiote the dirtiest player of the 2011 Premier League season.