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Which side timewastes the most in the Premier League?

Urrrgh Timewasting.

Ask any fan of the modern game what their pet peeves are, and the idea of running down the clock is sure to be right up there. Also known as gamesmanship, or sh*thousery, the Premier League has become particularly bad for it, and no domestic league has yet taken on the World Cup’s practice of adding half an hour on in stoppage time every half.

So far this season, in a 90 minute match you can expect the ball to be in play for just under 55 of them, though this varies from side to side.

Manchester City, for instance, see the ball in play for the longest time, with just over an hour clocked up. They are followed by Liverpool, who keep the ball on the pitch for around 56 minutes, but there are some teams that aren’t quite as keen to play football.

We took a look at the worst culprits for time wasting below.

5. Everton (53minutes 34 seconds)

Relegation-threatened Everton are up first, and Sean Dyche’s side prefer to play for set-pieces, which perhaps explains why the time that the ball spends in-play is so low.

Often looking to frustrate better opponents by taking their time, it hasn’t worked out for the Toffees yet, as the Goodison Park side currently sit in the relegation zone.

4. Aston Villa (53mins 30seconds)

Unai Emery’s side may be full of energy and easily able to outrun their opposition, but despite their excellent form they still don’t like to have the ball in play very often.

The midlands outfit currently sit sixth in the Premier League, but they are also the sixth slowest to get the game going again from any stoppages and 8th slowest from goal kicks (looking at you, Emiliano Martinez).

It is no surprise, then, that the Argentine is the most carded goalkeeper in the top flight this season, having been shown a yellow card on six occasions.

3. Brentford (52mins 13 seconds)

As a team that love set-pieces, it is no surprise to see Brentford high up on this list. In fact, the Bees hold the record for the longest time taken over goal kicks this season.

In their 2-0 win over West Ham, David Raya managed to take over 13 minutes out of the game to ensure his side picked up three points against David Moyes’ side.

2. Leeds United (51 mins 55 seconds)

Another side scrapping for survival, Leeds manage to keep the ball in play for just under 52 minutes of any given game, the second worst in the Premier League.

The Elland Road crowd get to see barely more than half of a football match every time they turn up, though with their current form they may consider that a blessing.

1. Newcastle United (51 mins 15 seconds)

Perhaps most surprisingly, it is Newcastle United that see the least action on the pitch. Eddie Howe’s side are set to return to Champions League action for the first time in two decades next season, but make use of plenty of stoppages to ensure results.

They have been criticised for their timewasting by so called ‘bigger clubs’ this season, with Mikel Arteta pointing to it during their 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium in January, but with the season they are having, they are unlikely to care.

All statistics taken from The Analyst.


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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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