The Barclays Premier League is known as one of the most competitive and physical leagues in the whole of Europe. The domestic league is England has always been a tough place to play at because of the strength and physical presence of the players at both ends of the field. The central defense is always an area that can expose the team but in the Premier League, there have been some excellent performances at the back.
Here is a list of 5 players who have excelled so far as a central defender for their respective teams this season.
Chris Smalling (Manchester United):
Smalling has been an un-likely hero for Louis van Gaal’s men with his sound defending this season. He has featured in every single league game for the Red Devils and has looked assured at the back for most of the season. He averages more than 2 interceptions a game and wins almost 3 ariel duels per 90 minutes. He also has a clearance rate of more than 6 per match and has been a star defender this season in the Premier League.
Winston Reid (West Ham United):
West Ham have been a force to reckon with this season and have got great results away from home. Their attacking players have been in impressive form but one stand out performer for the Hammers at the back has been Winston Reid. Reid is a strong character who likes to take on challenges. He tops the chart for the most clearances at with 78 this season and has been more than just impressive for Slaven Bilic’s side at the heart of their defense.
Virgil van Djik (Southampton):
The Dutch international has been a revelation this season at the back for the Saints. He is a very strong lad and his ariel ability gives Southampton a level of command in their defensive area. He is also a gifted reader of the game and is more often than not at the right place with a total of 67 clearances in the league so far. The manger will hope that his center half can keep up his good work for the rest of the season and give his club a chance in Europe next season.
Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal):
The French International has been one of the most important players for Arsene Wenger at the back. Arsenal have looked shaky in defense at times this season but Koscielny has been comfortable in dealing with any sort of attacks from the oppositions. His positional sense is highlighted by the fact that he has made 65 clearances and 46 interceptions this season so far. He is also a strong defender and has won 65% of the ariel duels for his club. He is now an integral part of Wenger’s plans for the rest of the season.
Scott Dann (Crystal Palace):
The impressive Scott Dann has made a point to prove his critics wrong this season and is not far from earning an International call up for Roy Hodgson’s England. Dann has been flawless in the center of the defense for Alan Pardew’s Palace. Dann has won 53% of his ariel duels and is one of the most consistent defender in the league. He averages more than 6 clearances per 90 minutes and is in great form proving a threat at both ends of the field.
Leave your take on how the top 5 defenders in the league have affected their clubs chances in the domestic league.