Premier League Fouls Sheet
Bournemouth v Chelsea
If you told a Bournemouth fan on 10th March that they would not only be safe but level on points with Chelsea just shy of two months later, they’d have laughed you out the door.
Yet, the Cherries come into this game as the side in form, winning six of their last nine to catapult away from the drop zone and take on a Chelsea side without a win in their last nine in all competitions.
When looking at the number of fouls committed against Bournemouth, it was notable that midfields often find themselves involved with the referee, committing six, three, four, one and four fouls over the last five games.
It can be difficult to predict what team Chelsea will play from game to game as Frank Lampard attempts to find the right balance. However, Lampard has turned to Mateo Kovacic as one of his ‘reliables’, the 28-year-old one of few wise to the Premier League and the need to get amongst things physically.
The Croatian has committed a foul in each of his last five starts in a Chelsea shirt and should commit another while up against the physical trio of Jefferson Lerma, Philip Billing and Joe Rothwell.
Manchester City v Leeds United
How Sam Allardyce would love to talk after beating Manchester City at the Etihad in his first game back in football.
The chances of it happening are extremely slim but the 68-year-old will have Leeds organised for this one as he attempts to keep the club in the Premier League.
As ever, it’s right-backs we are looking for against Man City and while he has come under scrutiny recently, it’s hard to imagine Allardyce moving away from one of his most experienced players in Luke Ayling.
The full-back has committed a foul in five of his last six league starts and with Leeds likely to be narrow and structured under their new boss, he will be tasked with stepping out to meet his man 1 v 1.
That man should be Jack Grealish. The England man has been fouled in his last 14 league starts and twice or more in 12 of those. The opposition right-back has committed two, two, three, four and three fouls against Man City over the last five games.
If Leeds are going to secure the most unlikely of results in their bid for survival, they will need to be organised and clever in their approach and as one of Allardyce’s most experienced players, Ayling may need to commit a foul or two.
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace
A fun match-up between a side that need to win if they are to secure a European finish next term against a side enjoying themselves as they get ready for the beach, having all but secured survival.
The pressure is firmly on the hosts here and they come up against a Palace side that play an exciting brand of football in which they commit the opposition consistently.
That often comes from a midfield four that step forward to support the main striker before building play on wide areas. Opposition full backs have committed a number of fouls but it’s the midfield I’m looking at here.
The opposition midfielders have committed a foul in each of the last five games against Palace and Spurs’ 3-4-3 often requires the wide centre-backs to step out into wide areas and the central midfielders to protect the space inside.
Spurs have been very loose in their approach of late, underlined by the number of goals they have conceded recently and the individual talent in Palace’s ranks mean that this won’t be easy either. Oliver Skipp will have his work cut out – he has committed a foul in 11 of his last 12 league starts and will be responsible for protecting a back three not too sure of themselves.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Aston Villa
A West Midlands derby with plenty riding on it.
There is not just pride at stake. For Wolves, a victory takes them to 40 points and could officially confirm their survival with three games left to play. For Villa, a victory could see them overtake Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton and Hove Albion in the battle for sixth.
The two sides met in early January, the game finishing 1-1 as Unai Emery and Julen Lopetegui got to grips with their new squads post-World Cup. The XI’s have undergone a fair amount of change since that day and the Spaniard’s have well and truly succeeded in their goals this term.
The visitors are the most fouled team in the league with nine players having been involved in 20 or more games and been fouled 1.2 times or more. Wolves, meanwhile, sit third for most fouled committed per game, so it makes sense to look at the hosts when it comes to your bet builders this weekend.
Betting odds aren’t great when it comes to Wolves fouls but in Hugo Bueno, there might be some value. The 20-year-old left-back has started Wolves’ last two matches and is likely to start again with Jonny and Nelson Semedo both unavailable. He has committed a foul in three of the last four games in which he has played more than 45 minutes. He made two tackles in the other.
Meanwhile, Villa are causing opposition left-backs all sorts of problems. Tyrell Malacia of Manchester United committed six fouls in their 1-0 win over Emery’s side and previous left-backs have made two, one, two and three fouls.
Liverpool v Brentford
The Premier League’s evening clash sees Liverpool take on Brentford as they bid to put more pressure on Manchester United and Newcastle United in the race for a Champions League place.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have turned their fortunes around since the international break, winning each of their last five and coming into this unbeaten in seven. However, this won’t be an easy test with Brentford responding to a six-game winless run by winning each of their last two.
If the Reds are to come out victorious here, they are going to have to keep Ivan Toney quiet. The newly-capped England international has been a force of nature for the Bees, sizeable in both physique and mentality in their bid to finish in a European spot.
Toney has been fouled in 17 of his last 18 Premier League outings and twice or more in 14 of those. He wasn’t fouled in his last outing against a timid Nottingham Forest outfit but he will certainly relish getting himself stuck in against Ibrahima Konate and Virgil Van Dijk.
Konate is the best bet here. He has committed a foul in 11 of his last 12 Premier League starts. Like Toney, the game without the foul came last time out but it came against a tepid Fulham side starting an out-of-form Vinicius Junior then Daniel James up top. He will be right in the thick of the action against Toney here.
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