We take a look at the Premier League’s 10 dirtiest forwards when it comes to fouls committed – and the chart makes surprise reading for Chelsea bad boy Diego Costa.
Spain striker Costa – portrayed as a pantomime villain in the media – claimed earlier this week he is unfairly targeted by Premier League referees, players and fans alike. And our stats show the Chelsea man might well have a point.
In Antonio Conte’s first league game in charge of Chelsea, Costa scored a late winner in a 2-1 victory against West Ham. However, many felt that the controversial Chelsea striker should not have been on the pitch when, having already been booked, he lunged in studs first on Hammers keeper Adrián.
After the match, a clearly frustrated West Ham boss Slaven Bilic felt the player was fortunate not to see red.
However, the stats team at Oulala have taken a look at the Premier League strikers who have committed the most fouls during the 2016 calendar year. And astonishingly, Costa does not even feature in the top 10.
Southampton’s Shane Long ranks at number one with a total of 30 fouls. This includes fouls committed from the start of January to the end of last season, as well as the first game of the 2016/17 campaign.
Manchester United’s Anthony Martial comes in at number four on the list with 26 fouls committed.
The top 10 includes several players who are no longer in the EPL either due to relegation or moves elsewhere, with Aston Villa’s Jordan Ayew, Newcastle’s Aleksander Mitrovic and Graziano Pelle, who now plays for Chinese club Shandong Luneng, all making the top 10.
On the other hand, the so labelled bad boy, Costa ranks all the way down in 16th for fouls committed with a total of 20. That is 10 less than Long in first place and six less than Martial in fourth.
To further dampen Costa’s bad boy tag, another bizarre stat is that despite his reputation, the player has so far only ever been sent off once during his Chelsea career.
Do you feel Costa’s reputation is deserved? Or is he harshly treated and just a victim?