Was Mason Holgate’s horror tackle the worst in Premier League history? Here are five other shockers

Roy Keane fouls Alf Inge Haaland in 2001
Roy Keane commits one of the most notorious fouls in English football history

Mason Holgate drew near-universal criticism on Sunday for his shocking foul on Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma which earned the Sheffield United defender a straight red card and precipitated their 5-0 home defeat.

Whatever the debate about the role of VAR in the decision, there was little argument – except from United captain Anel Ahmedhodzic – that the challenge was a shocker.

But was it the Premier League’s worst ever? Here are five all-time horror tackles from the competition.

Vote for which you think is the worst at the bottom and join the debate in the comments section beneath.

Roy Keane (Manchester United) on Alf Inge Haaland (Man City)
April 2001

The Manchester derby has never been for the faint-hearted. United’s Roy Keane and City’s Alf Inge Haaland had history, stemming from the Norwegian’s time as Leeds. As Keane rather graphically described in his autobiography, Haaland had played the ball long before the Irishman steamed in with a studs-first tackle before standing over his nemesis, gloating. Haaland – father of Erling – started one more club game in his career. Keane was given a three-match ban and £5000 fine, upgraded to five games and then £150,000 when the autobiography emerged.

Ben Thatcher (Manchester City) on Pedro Mendes (Portsmouth)
August 2006

As Mendes attempted to clear following a Manchester City corner, Thatcher flew into him, elbow into jaw, leaving his opponent unconscious before suffering a seizure. Referee Dermot Gallagher decided a yellow card was sufficient punishment, but the police asked if Mendes wanted to take things further. He did not, although Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp was less forgiving, asking: “What do you have to do to get a red, kill someone?” A contrite Thatcher made a public apology to Mendes, but even City manager Stuart Pearce described it as “indefensible” before suspending his player indefinitely and fining him two weeks wages.

Martin Taylor (Birmingham) on Eduardo (Arsenal
February 2008

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger called for Birmingham City’s Martin Taylor to be banned for life after his awful-looking tackle dislocated Eduardo’s ankle and left his fibula with a compound fracture. Wenger later recanted, but Taylor still received death threats, although, as he remarked, “they were usually scrawled in crayon, so they were easy to laugh off”. Both players stretched for the tackle but after Eduardo flicked the ball away,  Taylor followed through and the results were stomach-churning. Taylor was sent off, but attempted to visit Eduardo in hospital. “I have no ill-feeling towards him,” said Eduardo last year.

Birmingham City's Martin Taylor is shown a red card by referee Mike Dean following a challenge on Arsenal's Da Silva Eduardo
Martin Taylor is shown a red card by referee Mike Dean following his challenge on Eduardo - PA/Nick Potts

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) on Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
February 2010

Ryan Shawcross was sent off after a powerful tackle broke Aaron Ramsey’s tibia and fibula. Stoke manager Tony Pulis was much criticised for his immediate reaction as he wondered how the perpetrator rather than the victim was feeling. Ramsey was out for nine months and on his return to Stoke was jeered loudly, while Shawcross was more equivocal. “I reached out to Aaron a couple of times but he didn’t want to speak to me. I had no problem with that.”

Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross (L) is sent off by referee Peter Walton after a tackle on Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey (floor)
Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey after the challenge by Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross (far left) - Action Images/Paul Thomas

Kevin Nolan (Newcastle) on Victor Anichebe (Everton)
February 2009

Nolan’s two-footed jump on Anichebe resulted in two operations on the Everton striker’s knee and a career that looked so promising never quite fulfilled its potential. Nolan was red-carded and banned for three matches while Anichebe said: “I have never felt so much pain in my life.” Later, Nolan was apologetic, but the Nigerian international sued Newcastle for loss of appearance money for club and country on top of his contracted earnings. The case was settled out of court.

Newcastle United's Kevin Nolan fouls Everton's Victor Anichebe
Kevin Nolan fouls Victor Anichebe - PA/Mike Egerton

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