The Premier League's most persistent fouler plays for...

Everton, but Norwich City and Arsenal stars run him close.

The Premier League has a reputation for being the most physical in world football. There are moments of supreme finesse and skill like Sergio Aguero's wondrous goal in the Manchester Derby, but there are bone crunching tackles like Callum McManaman's on Massadio Haidara too.

Often the most persistent foulers are not the ones committing the hard hitting challenges, but ones who play like former Holland ace Mark van Bommel, making niggling fouls which break up the play and wind up opponents.

Then there are those like Peter Crouch, whose gangly nature often sees him picked on, he would argue unfairly, by referees, by the simple reason of that when an opponent jumps with him, their head is often in line with his elbow.

We have taken a look through the Premier League season statistics from the start of the campaign up until this point, to investigate just who is the most persistent fouler in the top flight of English football.

Here are the 'top 10' players most likely to get pulled up by the referees, with the amount of fouls per game calculated on averages based on total fouls and games played...

1) Marouane Fellaini (Everton) - 2.8 fouls per game  - total 67.

2) Grant Holt (Norwich City) - 2.5 fouls per game - total 70.

3) Mikel Arteta (Arsenal) - 2.4 fouls per game - total 64.

4) Cheik Tiote (Newcastle) - 2.3 fouls per game - total 44.

5) Lucas (Liverpool) - 2.2 fouls per game - total 45.

6) Steve Sidwell (Fulham) - 2 fouls per game - total 55.

7) Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) - 2 fouls per game - total 59.

8) Charlie Adam (Stoke City) - 2 fouls per game - total 44.

9) Claudio Yacob (West Brom) - 2 fouls per game - total 47.

10) Morgan Schneiderlein (Southampton) - 1.9 fouls per game - total 59.

Analysis: We should not really be surprised to see Marouane Fellaini topping the list, as his physical play is his greatest strength, but also a curse for him when it comes to referees. He has even complained that he has been singled out by the officials in part due to his hair making him stand out, but he can always cut it so perhaps he should not moan too much about that.

Grant Holt is a striker who likes to bully defenders with his physical presence, and again it is no surprise to see him near the top, perhaps though it is a bit of a shock to see Arsenal's Mikel Arteta so high up.

Arteta is associated with more of a skilful passing game; he tops the Premier League in accuracy, but his presence in the top three of this list illustrates how his game has adapted with him taking on more of a defensive midfield role this season. Arsenal fans should not be complaining, teams need a player with a bit of nous in midfield to slow the game down when the time is right and Arteta's experience allows him to do just that.

What stands out for you on the list?

image: © wonker

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