Arsenal are Premier League's biggest divers this season with shocking record

ARSENAL's hopes of finishing in the top-four crumbled after their failure to beat Brighton but the Gunners did extend their own unwanted record as the Premier League's biggest divers.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos' booking for simulation in the 1-1 draw was the sixth offence for Unai Emery's side this season, two clear of North London-rivals Spurs.

The Greek defender picked up his 12th yellow card of the campaign, setting his own personal record of the most-booked player in a single season in Arsenal's history.

On a wider scale, the 30-year-old also contributed to the Emirates club's shocking disciplinary record, who are second for most yellow cards this year with 71.

However, they are leading the way in terms of diving, with Sokratis the fifth Gunners star to be punished for taking a tumble during Arsenal's fight for top-four.

It came just five minutes after Nacho Monreal was accused of diving for exaggerating contact to earn a penalty in which Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang converted.

Sokratis now joins Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Matteo Guendouzi as the Gunners' culprits, with the latter three all brandished with bookings for simulation in the SAME game, during the 1-0 win over Huddersfield in December.

The much-maligned Mustafi is incidentally the Premier League's chief offender with two yellows for diving after he was also penalised in the 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace.

He joins Southampton's Pierre-Emile Højbjerg as the only other player this season to be pulled up for cheating twice after he dramatically fell against Leicester and Manchester City.

Players booked for simulation in 2018/19

Aboubakar Kamara

Alexandre Lacazette

Ashley Barnes

Chris Löwe

Danny Rose

Diogo Jota

Granit Xhaka

Harry Kane

Heung-Min Son

Idrissa Gueye

Ilkay Gündogan

James Maddison

James McArthur

Javier Hernandez

Joshua King

Laurent Depoitre

Lucas Moura

Matteo Guendouzi

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg

Shkodran Mustafi

Sokratis Papastathopoulos


Arch-rivals Spurs won't have too much room to gloat, with Mauricio Pochettino's side punished four times this season for attempting to con the law.

Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Danny Rose have all had their issues with gravity playing away from White Hart Lane and ended up receiving bookings.

Despite heavy accusations that both Mo Salah and Fabinho have thrown themselves to the ground recently, Liverpool have yet to receive a single card for diving.

Fabinho hit the headlines during the Reds 3-2 win over Newcastle for conning ref Andre Marriner into awarding a late free-kick which led to Divock Origi's winning goal.

Clubs with most players booked for simulation

Arsenal – 6

Tottenham – 4

Huddersfield – 2

Southampton – 2

Burnley – 1

Chelsea – 1

Crystal Palace – 1

Everton – 1

Fulham – 1

Leicester – 1

Manchester City – 1

West Ham – 1

Wolves – 1

Liverpool – 0

Manchester United – 0

Manchester United also have a perfect record in 2018/19, narrowly edging out neighbours City who had Ilkay Gündogan carded for falling over against Arsenal.

Huddersfield are surprisingly third on the list, with the league's basement boys picking up two bookings for Laurent Depoitre and Chris Löwe.

Chelsea are also one of 13 clubs to have had a player carded for unsportsmanlike behaviour, with the dubious honour awarded to Willian for his dive at Turf Moor.

Andre Marriner may have been fooled by Fabinho but he was alert to Fulham forward Aboubakar Kamara's attempt at the worst dive in history against Bournemouth.

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Wilfried Zaha was forced to hit back at critics who accused him of diving this season with teammate James McArthur the only Eagles star to be carded for the offence.

While Liverpool's record remains unblemished in their thrilling title-chasing run, the same cannot be said for Merseyside rivals, Everton.

Idrissa Gueye was penalised for his theatrics against Burnley, who are joint with Huddersfield as the two teams most rewarded for diving against them.

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