The new season of the Barclays Premier League will start next week. The top teams have already made plenty of business in this transfer window and have almost completed their Pre-season friendlies. All eyes will be on how the teams perform on the first day of the new season.
In this article, we will try to understand how the defensive circuit of the top teams in the EPL fare in comparison with each other. We will take a look at the center-backs of the top 5 teams in the league and how they performed last season for their clubs.
Gary Cahill and John Terry, was the most disciplined center back pair in the previous season. Terry was the highest scoring defender last season in the league with 5 goals to his name. The pair put together made 59 blocks and 437 clearances last season and made sure that Chelsea won the league comfortably. Kurt Zouma also played in few games and made 3 blocks and 45 clearances. Jose Mourinho’s sides are usually solid at the back and the experience of Terry and Cahill made sure they were the champions.
Manuel Pellegrini and his side finished 2nd last season after lifting the trophy in the previous. Vincent Kompany, City’s main stay in the centre of the defense was very effective with 99 clearances last season. He was accompanied by Martin Demichelis and Mangala on several occasions. The pair made 320 clearances last season and blocked 22 shots. They were not at their best and had a bit of a torrid time in the middle of the season. But they showed great character and came back strongly to end the season as runners-up.
Arsene Wenger has slowly built a formidable team and Arsenal in the new season look one of the strongest outfits in Europe. They managed to grab the third spot in the Premier League thanks to solid back line. Mertesacker and Koscielny had great success last season as a pair. The duo blocked as many as 40 shots from opponents. To add to that, they also made 194 and 159 clearances from the box respectively. They should be in the best form next season if they want to have a chance of lifting silverware again this season.
After two trophy-less season and a 4th place finish, Louis van Gaal has a lot of work to do on his squad before they can compete against Europe’s elite. Their defense is their weak-link with Phil Jones as the only proper center back with experience. Jones made 165 clearances last season, more than any other player for the club. Chris Smalling who had a good season last year is the next choice with 156 clearances and 16 blocks for the whole of last season. Evans may also play a role for the club but he was not very successful in the last season.
The Kop had a forgettable 2014-15 season as they ended the campaign at the 6th position. Their major problem of defending goals does not seem to have gone away as they leaked goals all throughout last season. Rodgers employed a back three of Can, Skrtel and Sakho for most part of last season with Lovren also given some chances. Skrtel was the pick of the lot with 312 clearances and 39 blocks in the last season. Can looked good in his debut season and made 78 clearances for the club. Lovren and Sakho were not at their best and made 297 clearances between them. The manager should quickly decide on his preferred pair which will give more stability at the back for the club.
The centre back pairing for a club is one of the most important part of the club. All the teams have some gritty players who give their everything for their club. Make sure you watch them in action in a weeks time and follow our website for live updates.