It was another fascinating weekend of Premier League action as sides at the top and bottom of the table improved their positions or saw their misfortunes worsen ahead of a long second half to the season.
The bedrock of any good side is a solid defence and there were some standout defensive performances over Saturday and Sunday. We’ve taken a look at the best players in five defensive areas.
|Razvan Rat||West Ham||DF||5||1||90|
|Ron Vlaar||Aston Villa||DF||4||1||90|
The surprising name at the top of that list is West Ham’s Rat considering the Hammers were well beaten at home by Newcastle United. Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny is becoming a regular on this feature while Cesar Azpilicueta once again excelled at left-back for Chelsea.
The surprising thing about this stat is to see two Hull players in there, as the Tigers were beaten at Norwich City. Hull probably a little unlucky not to get something from the game and these stats suggest they cut off the space and angles well. Vlad Chiriches of Spurs also deserves a mention as Swansea are a side that like to pass the ball around and it’s a tribute to his concentration in Tottenham’s win.
|Aleksandar Kolarov||Man City||DF||9||1||90|
No player won more duels over the weekend than Azpilicueta. Manchester United tried to attack him with pace from Antonio Valencia and Rafael down their right, but he stood firm and saw off any danger from that side well throughout Chelsea’s 3-1 win.
Aerial Duels Won
Bennett and Bassong deserve a special mention because their strength in the air against Hull City helped Norwich to protect a slender 1-0 advantage, forcing the Tigers to play in front of the Norwich back four, which was easier for the home side to contain.
Williamson and Taylor made 37 effective clearances between them as West Ham fought to get back into the game at Upton Park. Martin Skrtel also played well as Aston Villa went 2-0 up at Anfield and Liverpool could have been on the receiving end of a loss had their centre back not been so efficient in terms of clearing lines.
image: © thearcticblues