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When it comes to defences, Premier League teams have been known to prioritise them over almost everything else. Millions of pounds are spent by the top clubs in order to revamp their defences, as was obvious from Liverpool’s summer long pursuit of Virgil Van Dijk and Manchester City’s £53million signing of Kyle Walker. Manchester United have also paid good money for defenders, as was shown from their investments in Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw over the last few windows.
The new season has kicked off but a few teams have already shown that their investments are likely to pay dividends throughout the season. Here are the 3 defences which have impressed me the most this season:
10 points from their first 4 games and conceding only 2 goals in the process, Manchester United’s defence has done a commendable job so far in the season. The duo of Eric Bailly and Phil Jones has been exceptional in the middle, especially in the first 3 games. Against Stoke, both of them were caught out on numerous occasions by the duo of Jese Rodriguez and Eric Maxim-Choupo Moting, but that can happen once in a while.
With the offence firing on all cylinders, Jose Mourinho will no doubt be pleased that his defence is up and running before a series of 5 very important games in 13 days about to kick in. Antonio Valencia has been excellent in his familiar right-back position as well, but the left-back position is where United are currently understaffed. Luke Shaw’s long-drawn injury and Matteo Darmian’s inconsistent form may come to haunt them against the bigger teams if a solution is not found quickly.
It should come as no surprise that the team which currently stands second in the league also has one of the best defences. Manchester City have spent heavily on their defence and it seems to be paying off. After a series of injury woes, Vincent Kompany was finally back on the field again and stamped his class on the pitch. He is ably supported by the oft-criticised John Stones and the excellent Nicolas Otamendi as a part of Pep Guardiola’s back 3 system.
Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo have all played for varying amounts of time in the wingback position, but it seems like the former Barcelona boss is yet to finalise his personnel in that position. However, his side has conceded only 2 goals so far and ran out 5-0 winners against a Liverpool side that beat Arsenal 4-0 before coming into that game. As such, Guardiola would be well aware that he may finally have a title-winning defence in his hands.
If you have Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen in your ranks, you are likely to have one of the best defences in the country and that is certainly the luxury Mauricio Pochhetino has right now. These two players easily form the best centre-back partnership in the league and are now ably supported by a monster in Davinson Sanchez as a part of the back 3.
Against Everton at Goodison Park, they were hardly troubled and managed to do away with almost every attack the Toffees could muster. Having conceded only 3 goals in the first 4 game weeks, the Tottenham defence will get only better as the season goes on and could well end up being on top of this list. The best defence in the previous two seasons in the Premier League could very well remain the best this season as well.