Who were the best defenders in January? Monreal, Skrtel and more

Nacho Monreal Arsenal 1

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City stars all feature.

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.

Blocked Crosses

PlayerClubPosBlocked CrossAppsMins
Nacho Monreal Arsenal DF 7 4 336
Antonio Luna Aston Villa DF 5 3 189
Steven Whittaker Norwich DF 5 2 180
Leighton Baines Everton DF 4 4 360
Aly Cissokho Liverpool DF 4 4 360

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.

Tackles Won

PlayerClubPosWon TackleAppsMins
Erik Pieters Stoke DF 15 4 360
César Azpilicueta Chelsea DF 12 4 333
Angel Rangel Swansea DF 12 4 360
Leighton Baines Everton DF 11 4 360
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.

Effective Clearances

PlayerClubPosEffective ClearanceAppsMins
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 54 4 360
Michael Dawson Spurs DF 41 4 360
Jonas Olsson West Brom DF 41 4 360
Damien Delaney Crystal Palace DF 40 4 360
Michael Williamson Newcastle 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.

Duels Won

PlayerClubPosDuel WonAppsMins
Leighton Baines Everton DF 34 4 360
Aly Cissokho Liverpool DF 34 4 360
Erik Pieters Stoke DF 33 4 360
Geoff Cameron Stoke DF 32 4 360
Michael Williamson Newcastle DF 32 4 360

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.

Interceptions Won

PlayerClubPosInterception WonAppsMins
Vlad Chiriches Spurs DF 17 4 360
Curtis Davies Hull DF 16 4 360
Maynor Figueroa Hull DF 16 3 255
Chico Swansea DF 14 4 343
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

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