The Wall! – Top 5 Centre-backs In Premier League So Far This Season
According to great Sir Alex Ferguson, ‘’a good defence wins you titles’’; Chelsea confirmed the fact by winning the Premier League last season under Antonio Conte.
While the midfielders and forwards often hog all the limelight, defenders are very important in every team. Every manager tries to build a defensively resolute side to challenge for different titles, as ‘solid defence’ often is the hallmark of champions.
Let us take a look at some of the top defenders in the Premier League so far this season.
Manchester City are currently in red-hot form and it looks like they will run away with the Premier League title this season. With just 10 league games done and dusted, City are flying high, sitting at the top of the league with 28 points.
While the plethora of attacking talents has garnered much of the attention for City, one cannot ignore their discipline at the back. And one such defender, who has been solid since the start of the season has been Nicolas Otamendi.
The Buenos Aires-born defender might be a tad bit slow but certainly makes up for it with tough tackling and aerial prowess. Otamendi has played every game for City this season and has popped up with 2 goals.
The Argentine centre-back enjoys a 92% average pass accuracy rate, having made 770 successful passes. He has won 70.73% aerial duels, and has made 16 interceptions and 3 blocks. However, Otamendi is guilty of committing 12 fouls and has been booked 4 times, which means he is just one yellow card away from receiving a one-match suspension.
Otamendi is certainly one of the best if not the best defender currently playing in England’s top tier.
Strong and reliable at the back, John Stones has also done superbly this season and the man has practically stepped up in the absence of captain Vincent Kompany. He has forged a brilliant centre-back partnership with Otamendi and the duo has only shipped in 6 goals so far.
Stones has so far been able to overcome the disappointing first season he had at Manchester City and looks to be a real deal under Guardiola.
Phil Jones has been a rock at the back for Manchester United as Jose Mourinho’s side has started the season brightly.
It is unquestionable that Jones has had multiple seasons halted by a succession of injuries, but that has led to him receiving an unfair reputation as a man who is dangerous to himself and also to those around him.
Despite an unfortunate injury record, the England international’s performances have been really consistent and he has formed a formidable pairing with Ivorian Eric Bailly. Jones’ strengths are physicality, blocking and anticipation.
Mourinho is a big admirer of Jones and the manager’s confidence in the Ayer seems to be working wonders on the player himself.
Jones, who has played every game in the league, is yet to score a goal; averages 92% pass accuracy, committed 0.22 fouls, 2.06 interceptions, 6.60 clearances and 0.43 blocks per game. Being a defender, he is surprisingly yet to receive a yellow card and has helped United keep 8 clean-sheets.
It’s time to start treating Jones with respect.
Burnley are enjoying a fantastic start to the season, having surged to 7th place with a narrow 1-0 win over Newcastle on Monday. Sean Dyche has built a defensively resolute side and centre-half Ben Mee is one of the architects.
Mee, together with James Tarkowski has helped the Clarets keep 4 clean-sheets in 10 games. The centre-back has won 7 tackles this season with a success rate of 37%. He has made 18 interceptions, 84 clearances and 17 blocks.
It was tough to choose only one of Spurs’ centre-backs, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld but I went with the former. The duo has helped Tottenham keep 5 clean-sheets and Vertonghen has looked far more aggressive.
Vertonghen, who can also operate as a left-back, has 85% pass completion rate, winning 1.30 tackles and 56.41% aerial duels per game. He has also averaged 3.90 clearances per game and 0.60 blocks per game.
The towering defender, who is good while going forward and solid at the back, is one of the toughest opponents for speedy wingers to face. Whether it’s marauding down the left-hand side of the pitch or covering at the back with his tenacity, Vertonghen has been a vital figure in Spurs’ back line.