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Opta Woah: The best discipline stats in Europe's top five leagues in 2019-20

3 months ago
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With no action in European club football amid the pandemic, we have used Opta data to look at players with the best discipline stats.

Football remains on hold across Europe with four of the top five leagues still suspended and the Ligue 1 campaign brought to an end amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The halt in action since March has left the continent's top players with plenty of time to analyse their performances this season.

Using Opta data, we have already examined some of the best attacking, passing, defending and goalkeeping numbers from 2019-20.

Now, we have analysed disciplinary metrics for players who these days operate under the increasing scrutiny of VAR across the elite divisions.

There are limits to picking out the best performers in certain categories, for instance there are several players in each league who do not have yellow or red cards to their name.

But there are still some intriguing names to emerge from our look at the best discipline statistics from the 2019-20 season.

FIRMINO IN RARE FEAT

While there are a host of stars who are yet to be booked this season, there are only two outfield players in Europe's top divisions who have played in every top-flight game for their team without receiving a card.

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino is one of those, having not been booked in 29 Premier League appearances for the leaders. Indeed, he has not received a league yellow card since January 2018.

Reims defender Yunis Abdelhamid has played all 28 Ligue 1 games this season and did not find his way to the referee's book in any of them.
 

VYDRA & SALIBA STAND OUT

Burnley's Matej Vydra is the only outfield player in Europe's top-five leagues to have made at least 10 league appearances and not commit a single foul.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Demarai Gray has only conceded one foul in 14 outings, while of the players to start at least 10 games, it is Crystal Palace's Patrick van Aanholt who comes out on top. He has made only three fouls in 22 top-flight starts.

Across Europe, the best record for anyone to have made at least 10 starts goes to Saint-Etienne teenager William Saliba, who has made just two fouls in 12 appearances (11 of which were starts).

Stripping out the starts threshold, Nantes midfielder Samuel Moutoussamy is another Ligue 1 standout, with only one foul in 18 appearances, 15 of which came off the bench.

Bundesliga veteran Claudio Pizarro has made only one foul in 15 appearances, while the best record for those who have made at least 10 starts is shared by Javairo Dilrosun, Makoto Hasebe and Marvin Plattenhardt (all four fouls). 

Philippe Coutinho is among three players just behind who have made five fouls while starting at least 10 contests.

In LaLiga, Granada's Jose Antonio Martinez has only four fouls, putting him top of the list of those to have made at least 10 starts. Real Madrid's Marcelo, who has just five, is in a group of four players just behind.

Real Sociedad's Luca Sangalli comes out well with only one foul committed in his 11 appearances (five starts).

Udinese's Jens Stryger Larsen (four fouls in 22 starts) and Parma's Mattia Sprocati (three fouls in 16 appearances, 13 as sub) top the two categories in Serie A.
 

GREALISH IS EUROPE'S MOST FOULED

Looking at the players who have been fouled the most across Europe's top-five leagues, one player stands way above the rest.

That is Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish, who has been fouled an astonishing 127 times in 26 outings.

The Premier League also provides the second-most fouled player in the continent's main leagues, with Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha taken down illegally 94 times in 29 appearances.

Across the other divisions, Andrea Belotti (71) and Nabil Fekir (84) are the most-fouled players in Serie A and LaLiga respectively.

In Ligue 1, that unfortunate honour goes to Nicolas de Preville (66), while in the Bundesliga it is Amine Harit (67).

NEYMAR FARES WELL IN OFFSIDE RANKING

Neymar has impressively been caught offside just once in Ligue 1 this season, despite making 15 starts. 

Adam Ounas just beats him to the best record among the French top-flight's forwards, though, with zero offsides in 16 outings (14 starts).

Andreas Cornelius has zero offsides to his name in Serie A in 18 outings (10 starts), with Yussuf Poulsen (zero in 20 appearances, 10 starts) coming out on top for the Bundesliga forwards.

In the Premier League, Everton duo Bernard and Alex Iwobi are the attackers to have zero offsides, while Luis Rioja (one offside in 19 appearances, 15 starts) has Spain's top mark.

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