A cliché of the modern game is that defenders don’t get enough praise, instead being reserved for strikers, magical midfielders and great goalkeepers, but that could be changing.
It’s no longer a surprise to see defenders on the scoresheet, as their skill on the ball is paramount to progressing through the game. With the major league season entering its final rounds, it will be those reliable heads at the bottom end of the field that will go a long way in deciding where each team lands in the table at 5 p.m. m. on Sunday May 22.
Reading: Best defender in premier league
as the legendary manager of manchester united, sir alex ferguson once said: “the attack wins you games, the defense wins you titles”. After naming our top 10 goalkeepers of the campaign, it’s time to turn the spotlight on defenders and rank the best he’s had to offer this term.
10. tino livramento
It’s no shame that a 19-year-old’s first season of senior football is a few tiers below the major league, but southampton’s unbridled right-back didn’t need to find his bearings in the lower divisions before making the move to the big moment.
The teenager, who had only played for Chelsea’s youth teams before this campaign, landed a midfielder in August. He shone during a 1-1 draw with Manchester United in the Saints’ Second League exit of the term, having shifted stalwart Kyle Walker-Peters to an unknown role on the left.
true, ralph hasenhuttl’s backline is notoriously leaky, one reason why mohamed salisu isn’t up to the task, but livramento has been a revelation. Matty Cash and Reece James may consider themselves unlucky not to make it, but the Stamford Bridge product story is too good to ignore. England’s honors look like a certainty for years to come, even amid the country’s plethora of quality right-backs.
9. conor coady
the captain of the wolves has recovered from a bad campaign last time to remind everyone how good he is, an emblem of his team. only three teams (in fact, the top three) have conceded fewer goals than bruno lage’s men and their captain has been one of the main reasons.
commander-in-chief of the wolves, the english international has played more than 3,000 minutes this season, the only man in molineux to have done so, including all 30 premier league games. Having previously been criticized for his lack of goals, a trio of goals this season has been the icing on the cake of a big turnaround… notably his win at Everton.
Teammates max kilman and romain saiss have also enjoyed stellar campaigns, with lage’s acquisition of goalkeeper jose sa helping them grow tenfold, but neither of which would be nearly as impressive without orders from 29 year old liverpudlian barks and leading by example. .
8. ben white
by the summer of 2021, there was no doubt that brighton’s ben white was a fine player in the premier league. but £50m good? Arsenal believed so and spent the money to make the 24-year-old, fresh from a squad from England before the European Championship, the new cornerstone of his defense.
endured a tough debut in brentford on the opening night of the season, lambasted by critics, with rio ferdinand questioning whether he needed a stronger partner than gabriel magalhaes at his side; The former Brighton star was labeled “wet behind the ears”. But Mikel Arteta did not budge on his belief that the duo would be Arsenal’s future and the pair have forged quite a formidable partnership.
The Gunners have conceded 31 goals this term, the best of the quartet of the Champions League chasing package that includes Spurs, Manchester United and West Ham, helping them to fourth place with 10 games to go. Cool, calm and collected, but with a growing desire to take on opposing attackers, White possesses all the acumen to be the best defender today and the Emirates would say he has been England’s best centre-back this season.
7. andy robertson
robertson, a man whose form dates back far beyond 18 months of first division football, has been a driving force on liverpool’s left flank this campaign. The Scotland captain is averaging a direct goal contribution every two games after missing the start of the period through injury.
with 10 assists and a goal, robertson’s prowess shows no signs of slowing down at 28, with the reds last conceding a league goal two months ago, and he got two assists that day to make amends, already who beat crystal palace 3-1 at selhurst park en route to being within a point of leaders manchester city in the international break in march.
a key reason liverpool are still on the lookout for an unprecedented quadruple in 2022, jurgen klopp’s ever-reliable defender continues to define the role of the contemporary full-back and scoffs at the £8m price tag liverpool has him picked up from hull city for 2017.
6. joel matip
staying at anfield and joel matip, a fan favorite now getting accolades from elsewhere. The 30-year-old, though always trusted by Klopp, has often been in and out of the Reds’ back line due to injuries and the form of others, but this season has felt different.
by relegating joe gomez to fourth choice and keeping ibrahima konate signed for £36m waiting most of the time, matip is firmly the first choice when it comes to the big games. Competent on the ball and a commanding presence on both sides, the Premier League rewarded his excellent recent form with its Player of the Month award for February.
matip staying fit will be crucial for liverpool to become a team that conquers it all, with their runs out of defense unrivaled in the division in both quality and entertainment, while their reading of the game is exceptional . “Look, I can’t help people who don’t see the quality of Joel Matip,” Klopp said in September. for now, there aren’t many who don’t.
5. antonio rudiger
chelsea is one of only two teams to have conceded fewer goals than liverpool this season. despite going through a rough patch over the winter, thomas tuchel’s team has been impenetrable on 13 occasions, with antonio rudiger putting on a series of outstanding displays.
The German has been an integral part of the blues system, operating primarily on the left of his three defenses and pestering attackers with his wiry strength, aggression and mastery of the dark arts of football. However, one downside to Rudiger’s form from Chelsea’s point of view is that he has been putting himself in the showcase for a summer move.
The 29-year-old’s contract expires in June and, due to Chelsea’s financial situation amid government sanctions, as well as his earlier desire not to meet his salary demands, a new contract remains to be signed. and it seems increasingly likely that he will move abroad. while an acquisition may be completed in the coming weeks, it could be too late to secure the future of one of the best in the league.
4. virgil van dijk
speaking of the best in the league, there are few who would argue that virgil van dijk is not the best centre-back at the moment. The Dutch mountain was slow to return to his best after missing most of the final term through injury, but his quality has increasingly shone through during 2021-22, and he has returned to his best just in time for the longest term. important of the season.
van dijk manages to balance a calm demeanor with striking fear into the eyes of opposing strikers, with a growing number recently avoiding taking part in a race with the liverpool ace, notably inter’s lautaro martinez from milan.
The ex-celtic and southampton colossus has been sensational of late, but some shaky displays in his 27 appearances towards the start of the season, when he was readjusting to life in the top flight, mean he only takes the no .4 spot on our list.
3. thiago silva
what else is there to say about this man? The 37-year-old is one of the most experienced players in English football and it certainly shows. every time the blues have navigated rough waters this season, it’s been thiago silva who has consistently steadied the ship.
At his age, it’s simply an amazing achievement that, in a division as fast-paced as the premier league, he remains exceptional. Remaining a brazil stalwart, his defensive sense has stood the test of time and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon as he agreed a new deal at stamford bridge in January, signing a new deal in west london until June 2023. when you are only a few months away from turning 39
Reaching five finals and winning three winners’ medals during his 18 months at Chelsea, his remarkable and enduring brilliance has been apparent to all since his arrival in the premier league. when he is absent, the chelsea greatly misses his unflappable leadership. you could argue that he is better than ever.
2. joao cancelo
When we hint that defenders are much more in the spotlight these days, it’s players like cancelo who have helped change our perception of the full-back role. Capable of playing superbly on both the right and left, the Portuguese has exploded to new heights this season after a strong season last time out.
The five assists and one canceled goal are good, if not out of this world, but his creativity is mind-boggling. the 27-year-old has gone into the penalty area more times (75) than any other player this season, while his 110 passes into the final third are also a division record. It can be hard to have just one City player on this list when he has conceded the fewest goals, but his constant cuts and substitutions have seen Cancelo play over 3000 minutes, 600 more than the next best Ruben Dias.
one of pep guardiola’s favourites, the former juventus star is enjoying his best years at the highest level, and would be the best winger in the league were it not for a man who tops the charts for even more stats . but if you don’t like numbers, just watching them play is enough.
Join the discussion! who has been the best defender in the premier league this season? comment your choice below.
1. trent alexander-arnold
You all knew this was coming. After doing his best to survive between an injury-ravaged backline last year and then missing Euro 2020 due to injury, Alexander-Arnold has reminded everyone in 2021-22 of his untold brilliance.
it is true that he has been playing behind the best in the league this season in mohamed salah, which has helped his account of 11 assists, but does not detract from his individual quality with the ball, which has also represented two spectacular goals. His free kick at West Ham in November was a peach and his stunner against Newcastle before Christmas will be among the contenders for the award in the coming weeks.
The 23-year-old has been among the best full-backs in Europe since establishing himself as a regular at his boyhood club. but this season he has taken it to another level. He’s been 8/10 in most games, he’s sharpened up defensively, both in his one-on-one play and positional understanding of him, and he’s seemingly won over Gareth Southgate at last.
“Because of the way he plays, I don’t know any player who plays like trent in the world,” believes klopp. it’s hard to argue.