The Premier League returned following the FA Cup this week, producing no shortage of drama and superb performances.
Manchester United picked up a vital win against Cardiff City, while Chelsea dropped points against West Ham with Arsenal and Manchester City winning. There were also important wins for Sunderland and Stoke city while Liverpool strolled to a win in the Merseyside derby.
There were some very good defensive performances this week and we’ve taken a look at the best performers in several key areas.
|Ciaran Clark||Aston Villa||DF||3||1||90|
|Joey O'Brien||West Ham||DF||2||1||89|
Ciaran Clark and Joey O’Brien are two interesting names in that list. O’Brien was crucial in helping the Hammers get a point at Chelsea while Clark played in a defence which conceded three against West Brom.
|Pablo Zabaleta||Man City||DF||6||1||90|
|Damien Delaney||Crystal Palace||DF||4||1||90|
|Dean Moxey||Crystal Palace||DF||4||1||90|
The two Crystal Palace names deserve a special mention as they were integral to securing a 1-0 win against Hull City. Alonso also tackled well in a narrow Sunderland win against Stoke City.
|James Collins||West Ham||DF||13||1||90|
|Damien Delaney||Crystal Palace||DF||12||1||90|
It’s important for any defender to be able to clear the ball effectively because it releases pressure on a side and allows players to take a breather. Collins had to constantly be concentrating against Chelsea and Martin Skrtel also deserves a mention, with his clearances stopping Everton from getting back into the game.
Aerial Duels Won
Defenders need to be able to deal with aerial threats, s they are one of the main tactics teams will use against supposed better or higher calibre opposition. That’s demonstrated perfectly with Chelsea’s Cahill appearing on the list, someone who dealt with West Ham’s aerial threat, allowing Chelsea to maintain pressure.
Defenders who can read the play and intercept the ball well are worth their weight in gold. Michael Dawson is the interesting name to appear on the list, considering Spurs were hammered at home by Manchester City.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald