Defenders are extremely important members of any side and individuals who often don’t get the credit they fully deserve.
There were some very good defensive performances last month as some stars had to contend with the rumour mill spinning round, linking players with exits from and to their clubs. We’ve reviewed the stats and looked at who were the best defensive performers throughout January.
|Antonio Luna||Aston Villa||DF||5||3||189|
The Arsenal man was the most effective full back last month when it came to dealing with wide players. Monreal has reacted superbly after winning his place back in the Arsenal side over Kieran Gibbs, who held the role over the first half of the season.
|Pablo Zabaleta||Man City||DF||11||4||360|
Some will probably be surprised not to see Cesar Azpilicueta right at the top of that list. However, Pieters has been in phenomenal form and has carried momentum into this month, which he generated in January.
|Jonas Olsson||West Brom||DF||41||4||360|
|Damien Delaney||Crystal Palace||DF||40||4||360|
Liverpool’s central defender made more effective clearances last month than anyone else, demonstrating why the stories linking him with an Anfield exit were ridiculous. Skrtel may not be the best defender at Liverpool in terms of technique but he does a no nonsense job.
Pieters deserves another mention because this is another aspect of his game, which was superb last month. The Merseyside duo may have won an extra duel but Pieters has proven consistent in more than one area.
|Adrian Mariappa||Crystal Palace||DF||14||4||360|
Chiriches read the play more effectively than any other defender last month, stepping out to make the most interceptions. He seems to have settled into the pace and power of Premier League football well, despite an inconsistent season so far for his club.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald