Fouling is part and parcel of football. Be it Manchester City’s tactical incursions under Pep Guardiola or Vinnie Jones and Co’s intimidating tactics of the Crazy Gang days at Wimbledon in the 1990s.
But when the adrenaline is pumping in front of 60,000 spectators, sometimes what’s intended as a innocuous foul goes too far and ends in serious injury for the recipient.
While some players earned a living playing the ‘hardman’ role, which seems to be disappearing from the game, others had a nasty streak, while some were considered ‘not that type of player’ despite repeated infractions.
Here are some of the most brutal fouls in the history of the Premier League:
1. Dan Smith on Abou Diaby
With Arsenal 3-0 up against Sunderland and cruising in injury time, Smith decided to launch himself at Diaby’s ankle, fracturing it and rupturing the midfielder’s ligaments.
Arsenal initially threatened legal action over the incident, while Diaby missed the Champions League final defeat two Barcelona two weeks later, was out of action for eight months and never fulfilled his potential.
2. Michael Brown On Ryan Giggs
Brown certainly was ‘that type of player’.
Man Utd star Giggs was fortunate to escape injury after taking a totally unnecessary two-footed lunge from the Fulham man to the knee.
Brown received a yellow card for the shocking foul (which took place with the ball rolling out of play) and was soon subbed to prevent the inevitable second booking.
3. Alan Shearer on Neil Lennon
England’s golden boy Shearer lost his rag with Leicester’s Northern Irish terrier and simply booted him in the head and a squabble for possession.
An FA commission somehow came to the conclusion that Shearer had not intended to kick him opponent squarely between the eyes and he escaped a ban and was therefore eligible to play for Newcastle in the 1998 FA Cup final.
4. Martin Taylor on Eduardo…