There can be no doubt that Roy Hodgson’s tenure at Crystal Palace has stabalised our form but according to official statistics, our players have been directly targeted more than any others so far this term.
Whilst we haven’t played this weekend after being knocked out of the FA Cup, records show that Palace (352) have been tackled more frequently than any other Premier League side during the 2017/18 campaign.
There is a gap of 19 to second placed Swansea on 333, whilst West Brom are a further 15 behind on 318; numbers that back up supporters gripes over the unfair treatment our players are given on a weekly basis by the opposition.
I doubt it will surprise you to learn that Wilfried Zaha (the most frequently fouled player in the top flight last season) is currently leading the way in this campaign too, after being unfairly challenged a massive 77 times. When you take the lengthy lay-off he was forced to endure at the start of the season into account, the figure becomes even more startling.
With an injury list which currently stretches into double figures and games against Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea on the immediate horizon, Roy Hodgson and his coaching staff have every right to feel a little peeved at the manner in which opponents are approaching games against us, not that you’re likely to hear the ex-England boss making any excuses for the position we find ourselves in; it’s not his style.
There is a school of thought which suggests that our playing style (operating with pace on the break) will always lead to a high foul count but anyone who watches us regularly will know that the likes of Zaha and Townsend are often hacked down cynically regardless of their pace or trickery.
Were we to be flying high in the top half of the table, the label of “most fouled team in the Premier League” is one that I would likely wear with pride but given the dog-fight we’re currently embroiled in, I can’t help but feel a tad hard done by.