Who were the best Premier League defenders over the weekend? Koscielny, Evra and more

Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Swansea City stars all feature.

There were some stand out defensive performance from the weekend’s Premier League action with Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur all keeping clean sheets.

However, Arsenal’s combination of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker attracted a lot of praise for their performance against Aston Villa while Southampton full backs Nathaniel Clyne and Luke Shaw played superbly against West Brom. We’ve taken a look at five key defensive areas from the weekend’s action and summarised the best five players in each.

Total Tackles

NameTeamPosTotal TackleAppsMins
Jordi Amat Swansea DF 8 1 90
Angel Rangel Swansea DF 6 1 90
Chico Swansea DF 5 1 73
Sascha Riether Fulham DF 5 1 90
Ron Vlaar Aston Villa DF 5 1 90

It's no surprise to see that three Swansea City players are at the top of the list. Michael Laudrup likes his teams to dominate possession, winning the ball back as quickly as possible hence the high number of challenges. It's just a shame that aggression wasn't translated into points against Manchester United.

Successful Interceptions

NameTeamPosInterception WonAppsMins
Steven Whittaker Norwich DF 7 1 90
Patrice Evra Man Utd DF 6 1 79
Steven Reid West Brom DF 6 1 90
Nemanja Vidic Man Utd DF 5 1 90
Vlad Chiriches Spurs DF 4 1 90

A potential reason for both Evra and Vidic appearing in this top five could be their lack of pace; they're more willing to break from defensive formation to get to the ball before they can be hurt by quick players.

Aerial Duels Won

NameTeamPosAerial WonAppsMins
Mark Hudson Cardiff DF 11 1 78
David Luiz Chelsea DF 10 1 90
Michael Williamson Newcastle DF 8 1 90
Steven Caulker Cardiff DF 7 1 90
Steven Whittaker Norwich DF 6 1 90

All of the players who appear in this top five are defensive stars who are typically aggressive and proactive. A potential change Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have made since he recently became manager is potentially getting his defence to throw around their authority more in games.

Effective Clearances

NameTeamPosEffective ClearanceAppsMins
Mark Hudson Cardiff DF 18 1 78
Laurent Koscielny Arsenal DF 17 1 90
David Luiz Chelsea DF 16 1 90
Per Mertesacker Arsenal DF 14 1 90
Michael Dawson Spurs DF 13 1 90

Clearances are one of the basic jobs that any defender needs to be able to perform. In the case of the Arsenal players here, both Koscielny and Mertesacker played vital roles last night as Arsenal hung onto their lead at Aston Villa.

Take Ons Won

NameTeamPosDuel WonAppsMins
Leighton Baines Everton DF 14 1 90
Mark Hudson Cardiff DF 13 1 78
David Luiz Chelsea DF 13 1 90
Aleksandar Kolarov Man City DF 11 1 90
Michael Williamson Newcastle DF 11 1 90

No surprises that full backs appear on this list. Contemporary football requires defenders to bring the ball out from the back, occasionally taking risks while trying to cash in when they do have time and space in the opponent's final third. Jose Mourinho won't be surprised at the number of times David Luiz tried to take on an opponent.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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