The 6 Worst Divers Currently in the Premier League
Diving in football divides opinion across the world: some view the act as a legitimate form of gamesmanship, while others see it is a black-and-white issue regarding cheating.
But it can often be difficult to draw a line as to what is "falling easily," "looking for contact" and, quite simply, a straightforward dive. Is a foul no longer a foul because a player goes to ground easily?
Whatever your interpretation of the rules of the game, there are clearly some players who have acquired reputations for their propensity to gain an advantage through simulation.
Who, though, are the worst in the Premier League?
6. Jay Rodriguez
Jay Rodriguez may pale in comparison with many on this list as he has not been a serial offender, but Aston Villa fans are still far from ready to forgive his dive in the Premier League earlier this year.
The penalty he won, converted by Rickie Lambert, saw Southampton claim a 1-0 away win in January, with Villa dropping into the relegation zone.
With no contact made, Rodriguez pre-empted the tackle and fell to the ground in dramatic style, fooling the match officials.
He deserves full marks for execution, but fans have long memories of such incidents and will not let Rodriguez forget his misdemeanour.
5. Theo Walcott
Earlier this year, Theo Walcott owned up to going to ground easily in an attempt to win a penalty in an FA Cup tie with Leeds. Unfortunately, though, it is far from his only such offence.
A quick browse of YouTube will show a collection of Walcott tumbles, the majority of which involve minimal contact and often fail to win the approval of the match official.
Walcott may not be as regular an offender as some on our list, but he is one of the poorest at executing his falls.
4. Danny Welbeck
England international Danny Welbeck has acquired a reputation for tumbling easily over the past 18 months, with a series of incidents coming in a short space of time.
The video above shows Welbeck heading to ground easily against Everton, while he repeated the trick against Liverpool and in an England match.
The papers were quick to jump on the Manchester United forward for his theatrical efforts earlier this year and with good reason. It is something that will earn him bookings in the future if his reputation grows.
3. Fernando Torres
The effort above, in the colours of the Spanish national team, is a beauty, but Fernando Torres has also had his theatrical moments in the Premier League—earning three yellow cards for simulation in the past four seasons.
One yellow, against Manchester United, was admittedly harsh, given that he was fouled by Jonny Evans. But it was the manner of Torres' swan dive that persuaded the referee to show a second yellow of the game in his direction.
Torres has had his problems in recent seasons, having fallen well below the standards of old. His diving, too, is perhaps on the wane of late—or it may just be he is playing less.
2. Luis Suarez
One of the Premier Leagues most infamous divers is Uruguayan Luis Suarez—whose reputation reached such levels that he even made a celebration out of falling to the floor dramatically.
Suarez's diving and other theatrics have drawn the ire of several opponents and opposing managers, but the striker simply gets up, dusts himself down and continues as if nothing has happened.
Liverpool fans will point to a number of instances where Suarez has not earned a penalty he perhaps deserved. The issue is that Suarez is so dramatic with his tumbles on a regular basis that it is hard to distinguish when he has been fouled and when he has sought to trick the referee.
It's the classic "boy who cried wolf" scenario in football form.
1. Ashley Young
The king of the Premier League tumble, taking the mantle from Gareth Bale, is undoubtedly Manchester United's Ashley Young, who has begun the season in fine style.
Young has a habit of not only exaggerating contact but also actively seeking contact with opponents in a bid to win a penalty kick for his side. It has not gone unnoticed, however.
The England international was spoken to by manager David Moyes over his eagerness to go to ground and, in the past, Sky pundit Gary Neville has commented that such tactics could backfire by sparking the opposition into life.
For now, though, Young remains unabated in his desire to hit the deck.