One of the most impressive skills for any defender is the ability to see out danger with a striker bearing down on goal and nothing between the goalkeeper and attacker but that last man.
Get it wrong and it’s a straight red, get it right and popularity levels go through the roof.
We’ve all been there, watching our clubs in those situations when time seems to grind to a halt as fans look to the back of the net for a ripple or for a defender to get stuck in and see the ball away from danger.
So who have been the best in those last man situations in the Premier League this season? Here’s the top ten.
|Name||Team||Pos||Last Man Tackle||Apps||Mins|
|James Tomkins||West Ham||DF||3||15||1,218|
|Daniel Gabbidon||Crystal Palace||DF||2||19||1,710|
Two Newcastle players at the top of the list is unsurprising because Alan Pardew is a passionate manager who likes his team to play aggressive football. Newcastle play a high defensive line and they do get caught on the break but they have defenders who are good in those situations.
The Distin and Jagielka combination from Everton is a little surprising as they are considered to have one of the best partnerships in the Premier League. It’s also surprising as they both lack pace, which means you’d not expect to see them taking risks and leaving the other player exposed.
That’s the precise reason Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny is right up there, as he regularly has to cover for Per Mertesacker with the German willing to break from defensive position to try and win the ball although the German does have the experience to cope in last man situations.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald