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Ball of Shame Decathlon event #1: Find out who wins gold as the Premier League’s biggest benchwarmer

Today’s fast-paced Premier League leaves little room for the genuinely fat footballers of old, but when our Ball of Shame team took a look at official Premier League stats for the first half of the season, it was clear that fatness of mind persists in the English top flight...

by Paul Mallon | January 4, 2014

We’ve crafted a Ball of Shame Decathlon in which the Paddy Power Blog will give daily gold, silver and bronze medals to the three worst offenders in a quest to name and shame the division’s laziest players and clubs. We’ll give three points for gold, two for silver and one for bronze.

First up, we’re looking at those players who seemingly prefer the comfort of the substitutes’ bench to breaking a sweat on the pitch. Below are the 10 outfield players who’ve spent the longest as a spectator so far this season. Click the players on the podium to reveal the three biggest culprits.

In third place is Southampton’s Jos Hooiveld, who after losing his place in the Saints defence hasn’t appeared all that bothered about winning it back. He’s spent a full 15 of his club’s first 19 Premier League matches seated this season.

Despite not playing a single minute for Everton so far, our silver medallist Johnny Heitinga recently turned down a move to West Ham. Given the Hammers’ complete lack of healthy central defenders, maybe he was horrified at the prospect of playing 90 minutes every week when he could just run his contract down while warping the Toffees’ bench with his posterior instead.

Atop the podium we find the curious case of Mark Hudson. Despite captaining Cardiff’s promotion-winning side last season and signing a contract extension over the summer, Hudson is the only outfield player to have watched every single minute of his club’s Premier League campaign from the bench.

Cardiff therefore take an early lead in our #BallofShame Decathlon, and Hudson isn’t the only medal-winner in their ranks.

  • Join us here on Sunday when we’ll look at the Premier League’s most shot-shy strikers. Oooh, me nerves.

Stats up to and including December 29.

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