The Dirtiest Player on Each EPL Team's Roster
There is a beautiful side to football and there is a darker side to football.
A side relying on aggression, determination, grit and sometimes a bit of a mean streak.
Being dirty means a disregard for fair play, whether it's tackles bordering on assault or diving to sully the integrity of the game.
Do you know all the dirtiest players in the English Premier League?
You will after reading this article.
Arsenal: Alex Song
Alex Song isn't a dirty player, but his stamp on Joey Barton, regardless if it's Barton, was Barton-esque.
Song is a very combatitive midfielder who at times thinks he's an attacking midfielder rather than a defensive one.
Hopefully his stamp on Barton is a one-off, because it only sullies his reputation and the reputation of Arsenal.
The FA have to stamp this out and suspend Song.
Aston Villa: Richard Dunne
Richard Dunne is an honest, hard-working and resilient defender.
Though his tackling at times is very Diego-Lugano-esque, it's not blatantly dirty but it's not a fair challenge either.
As Daniel Taylor at guardian.co.uk stated, Dunne was known as a Honey Monster for his lumbering style.
Blackburn Rovers: Míchel Salgado
Don't be fooled by Míchel Salgado's height, he's made a career out of tough, combative, in-your-face defending.
At times bordering on dirty play, Salgado has claimed many victims—Juninho can attest to this having his FIFA World Cup dreams dashed.
Former Real Madrid teammate Steve McManaman described Salgado as one of the hardest men in the world and a genuine psychopath.
Bolton Wanderers: Kevin Davies
People often forget that a decade or so ago, a young Kevin Davies couldn't live up to the hype set for him at Blackburn Rovers.
Since then, he's transformed himself into a legitimate top-flight forward who at times picks up more yellow cards than goals scored.
Chelsea: John Terry
From time to time, John Terry has a mind-snap where his tackle is more accurately described as an assault.
However, he's one of the hardest men in football, constantly putting everything on the line for the sake of Chelsea.
Everton: John Heitinga
It's ironic that the free-flowing total football of the Dutch have seen recent players like Khalid Boulahrouz, Nigel De Jong and John Heitinga represent the Dutch national team.
Heitinga isn't that special, unlike De Jong who is a world class defensive midfielder. At times, Heitinga also gets into handbag-type altercations rather than being an influence in midfield.
Fulham: Steve Sidwell
Steve Sidwell made an odd career decision to move to Chelsea upon impressing at Reading, since surely he knew he'd be warming the benches and therefore wasting a season.
He's one of those players you want in your squad because he gives it his all.
Sidwell was involved in a nasty incident where he broke Adlene Guedioura's leg.
Liverpool: Jamie Carragher
Jamie Carragher's assault on Nani last season was one of the worst tackles I've ever seen go unpunished with a straight red card.
If Carragher had any integrity about himself, he would have walked off the pitch, because those are the tackles that end careers.
It's not the first time he'll do it and it won't be the last.
Manchester City: Nigel de Jong
Nigel de Jong has to rank as the strongest pound-for-pound footballer in the world.
Just such immense upper body strength combined with a mean streak and good football IQ has seen him transition into the best defensive midfielder in the world.
When you think about unsavoury FIFA World Cup moments, Battle of Santiago, Harald Schumacher and de Jong come to mind.
How de Jong escaped a straight red for assaulting Xabi Alonso escapes me. Then breaking Hatem ben Arfa's leg, Newcastle's best player at the time, has cemented a fair reputation for de Jong: dirty.
Though keep in mind, unlike his compatriots Khalid Boulahrouz and John Heitinga, de Jong is a good footballer.
Manchester United: Nemanja Vidić
Manchester United's equivalent of John Terry, a great defender who does some really daft things.
Perhaps what makes them such great defenders is the adrenaline when it comes to following through on a 50/50 challenge.
Since 2005, Nemanja Vidić has picked up 56 yellow cards and five red cards.
Vidić has established himself as one of the best centre backs in the world.
Newcastle United: Joey Barton
For so many seasons, Joey Barton suppressed his ability to be a creative footballer and indulged in violent, thuggish and disgraceful behaviour.
In the past season or so, he's transitioned himself into a splendid footballer making some beautiful passes.
Yesterday, he also showed off his new acting ability, and what a hypocrite, given he was chastising Gervinho for diving.
What was more sickening about the incident was Steven Taylor, yes the same man who faked an injury, manically suggesting Gervinho violently swung an elbow into Barton.
Norwich City: Grant Holt
I wouldn't say Grant Holt is a dirty player, he's a good footballer, but he's more of a pest when it comes to tracking back and trying to assert himself on the game from a defensive perspective.
He's dirty for being a consistent cheating diver, which was interesting given he'd go down with minimal contact, whereas he pleaded his innocence when he hacked defenders down.
In one game against Queens Park Rangers, poor old Matthew Connolly gets sent off after pulling down Holt as the last man, but Holt had deliberately in Thierry-Henry-esque fashion palmed the ball down to his favour.
Queens Park Rangers: Clint Hill
Last night, when Clint Hill inexplicably got himself sent off in stoppage time with his team losing 4-0, he imitated Zinedine Zidane in head-butting Martin Petrov.
Last season, he also got himself foolishly sent off against Swansea.
Stoke City: Ryan Shawcross
Ryan Shawcross is a disgusting footballer, some of his tackles are flagrantly dangerous—namely that assault on Aaron Ramsey where he was swinging his boot like an axe into a tree.
Shawcross broke Francis Jeffer's ankle in 2007, and then injured Emmanuel Adebayor in an off-the-field tackle, and some have recounted the Stoke defender's terrible challenges in the reserves.
Even today, deliberilty hacking Fernando Torres almost seems natural and tame to Shawcross.
He should have went into mixed martial arts.
Sunderland: Lee Cattermole
Lee Cattermole has scored six career goals and received five red cards.
I think you get the picture.
Swansea City: Neil Taylor
Swansea City were the best behaved side of the promoted three, and there isn't anyone distinctly dirty.
Neil Taylor's studs-up challenge during the playoffs wasn't pleasant but we've all seen a lot worse.
Swansea City are entertainers, not thugs.
Tottenham Hotspur: Wilson Palacios
I wonder if Wilson Palacios' mistimed tackles are fostered out of a loss of form or him asserting himself onto the game.
Either way, Palacios has looked a shade of himself and seemingly is headed out of White Hart Lane.
West Bromwich Albion: Paul Scharner
Paul Scharner is a seasoned professional when it comes to covert fouling. Only after the opposing player incessantly reminds the referee will Scharner face disciplinary action.
Scharner is one of those players who relies on gaining the leeway referees give to him in order to compensate for his lack of footballing ability.
Wigan Athletic: Antolín Alcaraz
Antolín Alcaraz is a pretty average defender who is always on the brink of a yellow card.
He keeps pushing the line, by fouling, fouling and fouling.
Several years ago during the Belgian playoffs, in the span of five games, he received three yellow cards.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Karl Henry
Karl Henry provided two of quotes of the year last season.
James Nursey at Mirror Football reported Henry stating, "We came out of it looking like a dirty side, which is certainly not us."
Then a few months later Henry said, "Both teams will be kicking lumps out of each other."
Henry is a mediocre footballer whose aggression and dirty play has unfortunately allowed him to make a living.
It's one thing clipping opposing players, but it's another to break their legs.