English Premier League: The Dirtiest Players in the League

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English Premier League: The Dirtiest Players in the League
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Joey Barton model football player or thug?

Ask any Arsenal fan to name the dirtiest players in the EPL and you will almost instantly get the answer Ryan Shawcross and Joey Barton.  Shawcross is universally reviled by the Arsenal faithful for his notorious tackle on Aaron Ramsey in February of 2010, which resulted in a double leg fracture for Ramsey and 18 months of recovery.  Barton is commonly known as a thug throughout the league, both for his arrest record and overly aggressive play.  Most recently Barton incited a brawl on the opening day of the season by violently pulling Arsenal striker Gervinho up by the collar and getting the Gunner's new boy sent off for retaliation.

There are other names that jump to mind when I think of dirty, reckless and hot-headed footballers, names such as Wayne Rooney, John Terry, Nigel De Jong, Lee Cattermole, Mario Balotelli, Nemanja Vidic and Karl Henry.

While referees often miss overzealous challenges and sometimes allow mistimed tackles to go unpunished, the FA keeps track of the disciplinary record of each EPL team and player.  So while some players have picked up bad boy images for off-field indiscretions, out of fairness and objectivity I decided to look at last season’s EPL disciplinary records to see which players truly were the most penalized.

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