Who were the best Premier League defenders this week? Skrtel, Vertonghen and more

Martin Skrtel

Aston Villa, Cardiff City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United stars all feature.

There were plenty of impressive defensive performances this weekend, with Premier League sides at the top and bottom of the table improving their positions as we roll into February.

Arsenal, Sunderland, West Ham United and Southampton were the only teams to keep clean sheets.

We’ve taken a look at five key statistical areas are examined the best defensive performers for each.

Blocks

PlayerClubPosOutfielder BlockAppsMins
Ben Turner Cardiff DF 4 1 90
Marc Wilson Stoke DF 3 1 90
Steven Caulker Cardiff DF 2 1 90
James Collins West Ham DF 2 1 90
Curtis Davies Hull DF 2 1 90

Any defender who can get between the attacker and his own goal is spot on in terms of position. A great effort from the two Cardiff players on this list, who helped the Welsh side to a narrow win against Norwich. Interestingly, only one defender whose team kept a clean sheet appears in the top five.

Tackles Won

PlayerClubPosWon TackleAppsMins
Joel Ward Crystal Palace DF 5 1 90
Geoff Cameron Stoke DF 4 1 90
Phillip Bardsley Sunderland DF 3 1 90
Ryan Bertrand Aston Villa DF 3 1 90
Ciaran Clark Aston Villa DF 3 1 90

The two Aston Villa players on this list deserve a mention because their efforts were in a losing cause. Clark and Bertrand really got about and broke up the play well, which gave their side a chance of getting back into the game against Everton.

Effective Clearances

PlayerClubPosEffective ClearanceAppsMins
Ben Turner Cardiff DF 19 1 90
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 17 1 90
Jose Fonte Southampton DF 14 1 90
Brede Hangeland Fulham DF 13 1 90
Ryan Bennett Norwich DF 12 1 90

Hangeland put in a tremendous shift in terms of clearing lines over the weekend, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the West London side from falling to a heavy defeat at home against the Saints.

Aerial Duels Won

PlayerClubPosAerial WonAppsMins
Michael Dawson Spurs DF 13 1 90
Steven Caulker Cardiff DF 8 1 90
Michael Williamson Newcastle DF 8 1 90
Jan Vertonghen Spurs DF 7 1 90
Mathieu Debuchy Newcastle DF 6 1 90

One of Hull City’s main tactics was to hit Tottenham over the top, with routine aerial deliveries. The fact Dawson and Vertonghen dealt so well with that threat forced Hull to play more on the deck, which made them easier for Tottenham to contain despite conceding one goal.

Interceptions

PlayerClubPosInterception WonAppsMins
Damien Delaney Crystal Palace DF 7 1 90
Michael Dawson Spurs DF 5 1 90
Jose Fonte Southampton DF 5 1 90
Gareth McAuley West Brom DF 5 1 90
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 5 1 90

Delaney read the game superbly against Arsenal, stepping in to intercept the ball before it could find an influential Arsenal forward. Unfortunately for the Palace defender, his teammates weren’t on the same page and the Gunners secured a 2-0 win.

image: © etyek

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