Arsene Wenger gave an interview about Paul Scholes offering plenty of praise, claiming he wished he played for Arsenal and that he has been integral to United’s success over almost two decades.

Wenger was then asked whether he thought Scholes was a fair player. I think any United fan would be happy to admit that Scholes’ tackling can be suspect at times, with him flying in on an opponent and not always coming away with the ball. However, rather than saying Scholes didn’t always make fair challenges, that Scholes can make bad tackles, that Scholes is a poor tackler, he instead claimed that Scholes was dirty, that he was an unfair player, that his approach to the game was not OK and that he had a “dark side”.

RoM presented stats showing how many fouls Scholes has made over the past 10 years, stats showing how many yellow cards Scholes had picked up in this time and how many fouls on average he commits before being booked, all in comparison to several Arsenal players.

A popular reoccurring theme from Arsenal fans: If Scholes has been awarded more fouls/yellow cards, it’s because he’s “dirty”. If an Arsenal player has been awarded more fouls/yellow cards, it’s because Arsenal players are treated more harshly by the referee. However, if Scholes has been awarded fewer fouls/yellow cards it’s because the referee lets him off because he’s a United player/England. If an Arsenal player has been awarded fewer fouls/yellow cards it’s because they’re not a very dirty player.

To give an even clearer picture, the appearances of each player have also been factored in, so we can see just how “dirty” these players are, looking at the average amount of fouls they commit per appearance.

2009/2010

Paul Scholes
Appearances: 28
Fouls: 30
Fouls per appearance: 1.1
Yellow cards: 9
Yellow card per appearance: 0.3
Fouls per card: 3

Cesc Fabregas
Appearances: 27
Fouls: 30
Fouls per appearance: 1.1
Yellow cards: 5
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.2
Fouls per card: 6

Vassiriki Diaby
Appearances: 29
Fouls: 49
Fouls per appearance: 1.7
Yellow cards: 2
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.1
Fouls per card: 25

Alex Song
Appearances: 26
Fouls: 51
Fouls per appearances: 2
Yellow cards: 10
Yellow card per appearance: 0.4
Fouls per card: 5

2008/2009

Paul Scholes
Appearances: 21
Fouls: 17
Fouls per appearance: 0.8
Yellow cards: 3
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.1
Fouls per card: 6

Alex Song
Appearances: 31
Fouls: 44
Fouls per appearance: 1.4
Yellow cards: 6
Yellow card per appearance: 0.2
Fouls per card: 7

Cesc Fabregas
Appearances: 22
Fouls: 33
Fouls per appearance: 1.5
Yellow cards: 7
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.3
Fouls per card: 5

Denilson
Appearances: 37
Fouls: 57
Fouls per appearance: 1.5
Yellow cards: 3
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.1
Fouls per card: 19

Robin van Persie
Appearances: 28
Fouls per appearance: 1.6
Fouls: 46
Yellow cards: 5
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.2
Fouls per card: 9

2007/2008

Cesc Fabregas
Appearances: 32
Fouls: 29
Fouls per appearance: 0.9
Yellow cards: 9
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.3
Fouls per card: 3

Paul Scholes
Appearances: 24
Fouls: 31
Fouls per appearance: 1.3
Yellow cards: 3
Yellow card per appearance: 0.1
Fouls per card: 10

Emmanuel Adebayor
Appearances: 36
Fouls: 57
Fouls per appearance: 1.6
Yellow cards: 3
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.1
Fouls per card: 19

Mathieu Flamini
Appearances: 30
Fouls: 56
Fouls per appearance: 1.9
Yellow cards: 5
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.2
Fouls per card: 11

2006/2007

Cesc Fabregas
Appearances: 38
Fouls: 45
Fouls per appearance: 1.2
Yellow cards: 7
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.2
Fouls per card: 6

Paul Scholes
Appearances: 30
Fouls: 43
Fouls per appearance: 1.4
Yellow cards: 8
Yellow card per appearance: 0.3
Fouls per card: 5

2005/2006

Paul Scholes
Appearances: 20
Fouls: 25
Fouls per appearance: 1.3
Yellow cards: 3
Yellow card per appearance: 0.2
Fouls per card: 8

Cesc Fabregas
Appearances: 35
Fouls: 44
Fouls per appearance: 1.3
Yellow cards: 5
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.1
Fouls per card: 9

Lauren
Appearances: 22
Fouls: 30
Fouls per appearance: 1.4
Yellow cards: 6
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.3
Fouls per card: 5

Jose Antonio Reyes
Appearances: 26
Fouls: 41
Fouls per appearance: 1.6
Yellow cards: 5
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.2
Fouls per card: 8

Gilberto
Appearances: 33
Fouls: 55
Fouls per appearance: 1.7
Yellow cards: 5
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.2
Fouls per card: 11

2004/2005

Paul Scholes
Appearances: 33
Fouls: 44
Fouls per appearance: 1.3
Yellow cards: 4
Yellow card per appearance: 0.1
Fouls per card: 11

Patrick Vieira
Appearances: 32
Fouls: 89
Fouls per appearance: 2.3
Yellow cards: 9
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.3
Fouls per card: 10

2003/2004

Paul Scholes
Appearances: 28
Fouls: 31
Fouls per appearance: 1.1
Yellow cards: 5
Yellow card per appearance: 0.2
Fouls per card: 6

Gilberto
Appearances: 32
Fouls: 50
Fouls per appearance: 1.6
Yellow cards: 2
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.1
Fouls per card: 25

Ray Parlour
Appearances: 26
Fouls: 43
Fouls per appearance: 1.7
Yellow cards: 7
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.3
Fouls per card: 6

Patrick Vieira
Appearances: 29
Fouls: 93
Fouls per appearance: 3.2
Yellow cards: 10
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.3
Fouls per card: 9

2002/2003

Paul Scholes
Appearances: 33
Fouls: 39
Fouls per appearance: 1.2
Yellow cards: 4
Yellow card per appearance: 0.1
Fouls per card: 10

Thierry Henry
Appearances: 37
Fouls: 54
Fouls per appearance: 1.5
Yellow cards: 8
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.2
Fouls per card: 7

Patrick Vieira
Appearances: 24
Fouls: 45
Fouls per appearance: 1.9
Yellow cards: 6
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.3
Fouls per card: 8

Ray Parlour
Appearances: 19
Fouls: 42
Fouls per appearance: 2.2
Yellow cards: 4
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.2
Fouls per card: 11

2001/2002

Paul Scholes
Appearances: 35
Fouls: 33
Fouls per appearance: 0.9
Yellow cards: 9
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.3
Fouls per card: 4

Lauren
Appearances: 27
Fouls: 42
Fouls per appearance: 1.6
Yellow cards: 8
Yellow card per appearance: 0.3
Fouls per card: 5

Ray Parlour
Appearances: 27
Fouls: 50
Fouls per appearance: 1.9
Yellow cards: 7
Yellow card per appearance: 0.3
Fouls per card: 7

Patrick Vieira
Appearances: 36
Fouls: 86
Fouls per appearance: 2.4
Yellow cards: 11
Fouls per card: 8

2000/2001

Paul Scholes
Appearances: 32
Fouls: 43
Fouls per appearance: 1.3
Yellow cards: 3
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.1
Fouls per card: 14

Dennis Bergkamp
Appearances: 25
Fouls: 40
Fouls per appearance: 1.6
Yellow cards: 2
Yellow card per appearance: 0.1
Fouls per card: 20

Patrick Vieira
Appearances: 30
Fouls: 65
Fouls per appearance: 2.2
Yellow cards: 6
Yellow cards per appearance: 0.2
Fouls per card: 11

So, ranking these particularly players over these season, from cleanest to dirtiest, is as follows:

FOULS PER APPEARANCE

1. Scholes 08/09 – 0.8
2. Scholes 01/02 – 0.9
2. Fabregas 07/08 – 0.9
4. Scholes 09/10 – 1.1
4. Scholes 03/04 – 1.1
4. Fabregas 09/10 – 1.1
7. Scholes 02/03 – 1.2
7. Fabregas 06/07 – 1.2
9. Scholes 00/01 – 1.3
9. Scholes 07/08 – 1.3
9. Scholes 05/06 – 1.3
9. Scholes 04/05 – 1.3
9. Fabregas 05/06 – 1.3
14. Scholes 06/07 – 1.4
14. Song 08/09 – 1.4
14. Lauren 05/06 – 1.4
17. Fabregas 08/09 – 1.5
17. Denilson 08/09 – 1.5
17. Henry 02/03 – 1.5
20. Reyes 05/06 – 1.6
20. Lauren 01/02 – 1.6
20. Bergkamp 00/01 – 1.6
20. Van Persie 08/09 – 1.6
20. Gilberto 03/04 – 1.6
20. Adebayor – 07/08 – 1.6
26. Diaby 09/10 – 1.7
26. Gilberto 05/06 – 1.7
26. Parlour 03/04 – 1.7
29. Flamini 07/08 – 1.9
29. Vieira 02/03 – 1.9
29. Parlour 01/02 – 1.9
32. Song 09/10 – 2
33. Parlour 02/03 – 2.2
33. Vieira 00/01 – 2.2
35. Vieira 04/05 – 2.3
36. Vieira 01/02 – 2.4
37. Vieira 03/04 – 3.2




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