Who is the Premier League's hardest player?

Ramsey Celebrates 2013

Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, West Brom and Southampton stars all feature.

Every team needs players who are not afraid to show a little bit of aggression and throw in a challenge whether it’s a genuine attempt to win back possession or something designed to make a point.

The ability to make a big tackle is something which is celebrated by fans, cheered just as loudly in certain situations as an important goal as a team tries to maintain pressure or looks to get stuck in faced with adversity.

Tackles break up play, release pressure and generally allow a team to create control over a situation and it’s a basic tactic that all players have used since the game was first created.

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Here are the players making the most tackles so far this season.

1) Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Joel Ward (Crystal Palace), Lucas (Liverpool)

All three players top the table for making the most tackles so far this season with an average of five per game.

Ramsey is having the best spell of his career for Arsenal and his ability to tackle well, just goes to show that there is a lot more to his game at the moment than goals and assists.

Joel Ward is a defender scrapping away at the other end of the table with Palace while Lucas has become Liverpool’s midfield enforcer, the player who sits in front of the back four (or in Liverpool’s case, three) and protects his defenders.

2) Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)

It won’t surprise many to see Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta on this list. If you didn’t know he was Argentinean, he could easily be mistake for an old school English type defender, setting the example with big challenges and vocally bursting the eardrums of his teammates.

He’s making 4.9 tackles per game on average this season.

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3) Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace)

The Australian is one of the most important players in the current Crystal Palace side and someone who looks to control the tempo and pill the strings for the Eagles in the middle of the pitch.

Jedinak is making 4.4 tackles per game at the moment and he’s the player who seems to make a point of making his presence known, as well as using tackles to try and turnover possession.

4) Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion)

Yacob showcased his ability to tackle well and be the enforcer in midfield during West Brom’s win against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

He’s making 4.3 tackles per game on average this season, which won’t surprise many as he’s a defensively minded midfielder. He makes up for a slightly lesser ability to read the play and intercept through making strong, good challenges at key times.

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5) Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton)

Two more defensively minded midfielders with an equal average of 4.1 tackles per game so far this season.

El Ahmadi is a very important player for Aston Villa because he seems to like nothing better than launching challenges to get the ball back before offloading to one of the quicker and more creative players in the side.

Schneiderlin is a Frenchman who has attracted a lot of praise this season and not just from Southampton fans. The Saints can think themselves lucky Mathieu Flamini has been so successful at Arsenal this season because had they not signed him, they would have surely taken another look at Schneiderlin this winter.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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