Hull, Sunderland & Wigan – Are These Among The Softest Teams in the EFL?

All fans like to see their teams standing up to bullies.

Watching your team not fold like a napkin against the old Wimbledon in days gone by would always be a treat. In recent times, Steve Evans and John Beck usually assembled big teams full of bruisers just waiting to stamp their authority on you, perhaps even literally. Everybody loves a tough team when they’re wearing your colours but hates to see them trotting out against your side.

On the flip side, nobody likes to see their players fouled. It leads to injuries and points to a lack of toughness, that magical attribute it is impossible to put a number on. However, fouls suffered are, perhaps, not as cut and dried as it looks. Is your team soft if it suffers the most fouls? Or is there something else at play?

We ask because the second-most fouled team in League One this season is Stevenage, managed by Steve Evans, and when there’s a big bundle of tough love in the dugout, the players on the field will not likely be shrinking violets. Indeed, Stevenage have committed the most fouls, with Wigan second, so how are the same two teams also the most fouled? Are they misunderstood, fouled more than anyone else despite the reputation, or are teams fighting fire with fire?

In the Championship, Hull City have suffered the most fouls, 250, which is the highest across the EFL. Four of their players are in the top 11 most fouled in the division – Scott Twine (37), Liam Delap (32), Jaden Philogene (28) and Adama Traore (26). That’s 133 fouls – Rotherham’s entire squad has only been fouled 142 collectively across the season.

Curiously, whilst Oxford do not appear in the top five for fouls suffered in League One, Marcus McGuane and Ruben Rodrigues are the two most fouled players in the division. Oxford are ninth in the division for fouls suffered, with 189 – 30 fewer than poor Wigan. Joe Morrell of Portsmouth has been fouled 32 times, the fourth-highest, but he’s 21st for fouls committed, despite being sent off twice.

Into League Two, and it’s a surprise Andy Holt hasn’t taken to social media to lament how much his team are kicked – Accrington have been fouled on 21 occasions more than anyone else in the division, although as the dirtiest team in the division, it’s more a case of people playing them at their own game. There’s no surprise MK Dons take a few kicks (you would, wouldn’t you?) or Salford. The big shock is Wrexham don’t seem to get kicked off the park; perhaps nobody can catch them. The most fouled player is former West Ham youngster Rosaire Longelo-Mbule of Accrington.

Here are the top five teams and players from each division.

Championship

Teams

Hull City -250
Sunderland – 224
Swansea City – 208
Southampton – 208
Leicester City – 185

Players

Kyle Walker-Peters, Southampton, 44
Jack Clarke, Sunderland, 42
Kenny McLean, Norwich City, 39
Scott Twine, Hull City, 37
Liam Delap, Hull City, 32

League One

Teams

Wigan Athletic – 219
Stevenage – 218
Portsmouth – 210
Cambridge United – 201
Bristol Rovers – 199

Players

Rúben Rodrigues, Oxford United, 38
Marcus McGuane, Oxford United, 35
James Brophy, Cambridge United, 32
Joe Morrell, Portsmouth, 32
Liam Bennett, Cambridge United, 30

League Two

Teams

Accrington Stanley – 238
Milton Keynes Dons – 217
Notts County – 208
Salford City – 206
Crawley Town – 202

Players

Rosaire Longelo-Mbule, Accrington Stanley, 43
Shadrach Ogie, Gillingham, 42
Danny Rose, Grimsby Town, 39
Saidou Khan, Swindon Town, 39
Cameron Norman, Milton Keynes Dons, 37

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