You’ve heard the Alex Ferguson quote about Super Pippo Inzaghi, haven’t you? The Scot famously said that the Italian ‘must have been born offside’.
In today’s game, micromanaged rather horrendously by VAR and semi-automated decisions, we wondered what kind of player is the most prone to being caught offside, so we looked into the Premier League history books.
This list comprises the top 10 most offside players in Premier League history according to how many times they were caught offside, but we’ve ranked them in order of proportion of offsides to games played. This weeds out the one-season wonders and gives a true reflection of which players really loved camping beyond enemy lines.
10. Gabriel Agbonloahor – 195
Pace to burn in his early days at Villa. Too much, perhaps. Too quick for the game around him. A solid effort of 195 offsides for Gabby, but doesn’t come close to challenging our King of Behind-the-Backline.
He remains the undisputed king of chatting dross on talkSPORT, however.
9. Robin van Persie – 198
A thunderous shot, a left foot like a bastard, a famous World Cup header, and – crucially for this list – a shitload of offsides.
Van Persie could always time a volley, but apparently he couldn’t time a run (he definitely could). What a player.
8. Harry Kane – 204
The first instance of a player being done dirty by playing during the VAR era, here. Kane scores plenty, but gets caught out nearly as often.
We’re convinced Papiss Cissé would’ve been caught offside over a thousand times if VAR had been about when he was playing in the Premier League, robbing him of those sweet, sweet goals.
Surprising, though, for a striker who tends to play as deep as Kane to be on the all-time offsides list. With many games come many offsides.
7. Romelu Lukaku – 206
Big Rom on the big wrong side of the defence.
For a man lauded for his skill when it came to timing a run – in his peak – it’s quite a surprise to see Lukaku pop up. But, given how many goals he has in the Premier League, it probably checks out.
6. Christian Benteke – 227
Benteke scored 19 goals in his first season for Villa. It slowed up a bit after that, which was a great shame.
Ultimately, he’s higher on the all-time offsides list than the goalscorers list. And there is no shame in that. Happens to the best of us, Christian.
5. Dimitar Berbatov – 238
We dread to think how often this guy would be caught out these days. He’s still way too cool to care, though.
Berba isn’t tracking back. Not on your nelly. Forget it. Berba is smoking ciggies in the penalty area, chatting to the keeper about art house films and coffee beans, waiting for his moment. Like a suave panther. Berba is allowed to be offside. Berba can do what he wants.
= 3. Jamie Vardy – 276
Vardy’s best work has come at a cost. Despite his astronomical rise from non-league to the top of the English pyramid and into the Premier League 100 club, he’s far from immune to an offside call.
If you live on the shoulder of the last defender, like a featherless parrot, you are inevitably going to be quite an offsidey player. That’s just science. Chat shit, pieces of eight, pieces of eight (like what a parrot says).
= 3. Darren Bent – 276
Played alongside Berba for Spurs, which means this is easily the most offside strike partnership in Prem history. Unlucky not to get called up for more England caps, but we’re sure he’ll shake it off. Side.
2. Jermaine Defoe – 314
A Premier League mainstay with almost as many offsides as clubs. Brilliant striker, but an awful lot of offsides.
Niko Kranjčar must have hated him. Could’ve been the all-time assist leader if Defoe could’ve stayed onside. What might’ve been…
1. Emmanuel Adebayor – 328
You do have to wonder what they were doing at Spurs back in the day. Did they practise being offside? Was it a mind game? Regardless, there is no reason for Baby Kanu to have been caught offside THREE-HUNDRED-AND-TWENTY-EIGHT times.
It’s madness. He wasn’t trying to be onside. He wanted to be offside. He liked it. There’s no other reason for it. The Togolese Inzaghi reigns supreme on our list of offsidemen. Bow down to the king.