Rafa Benitez sees this special quality in Mohamed Diame
It is a pretty special effort by Mohamed Diame to make it into the top five Championship dirtiest players.
The stats relate to how many fouls have been committed so far this season and the NUFC player has made it into fifth place, despite starting only 20 of Newcastle’s 36 Championship matches.
Maybe the biggest surprise in the list is how many strikers feature, as you’d normally assume it to be central midfielders and defenders to monopolise it.
Maybe it is indicative of the second tier, with strikers expected to do far more work in breaking up attacks by the opposition, compared to life in the Premier League.
Mohamed Diame has plenty of detractors and going forward he has undoubtedly been a major disappointment this season, apart from the odd game or two.
However, maybe Rafa Benitez sees the Senegal international playing a vital role in other ways, getting his foot in and disrupting the flow of Newcastle’s opponents as they try to get United on the back foot. Especially as the vast majority of Mohamed Diame’s fouls/tackles happen further up the pitch in non-threatening positions where free-kicks are concerned.
The fact that he is by far Newcastle’s ‘dirtiest’ player, it is commendable that despite 52 fouls Mohamed Diame has got away with picking up only two yellow cards – one every 26 fouls!
An ideal situation really, a player capable of making it difficult for the opposition to get their football flowing by repeatedly fouling/winning tackles but who usually gets no punishment.
Diame also looks to have improved this particular skill, as last season with Hull in the Championship he picked up 10 bookings
Championship players to commit the most fouls this season, as compiled by the Express:
73 Glenn Murray (Brighton)
64 Jordan Hugill (Preston)
63 Marley Watkins (Barnsley)
60 David Davis (Birmingham)
52 Mohamed Diame (Newcastle United)
50 Sam Gallagher (Blackburn)
50 Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff)
49 Yann Kermorgant (Reading)
48 Fernando Forestieri (Sheff Wed)
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