The defenders in a team set the tone for the way a side plays from the very back. A good defence can give an attack the confidence to take more risks and there were some outstanding displays of defensive ability in the Premier League throughout February.
We’ve taken a look at five key statistical areas commonly related to defending to judge who were the best performers last month across a variety of areas.
Cardiff’s Ben Turner made more blocks than any other player last month. Cardiff will need him to show the same sort of basic defensive instincts over the rest of the season if they are to climb out of the bottom three.
|Pablo Zabaleta||Man City||DF||13||3||270|
Turner also appears on the list for total tackles last month but it was Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta who made the most. He’s looked comfortable on either side of the Chelsea defence as he continues to keep Ashley Cole out of the team.
|James Collins||West Ham||DF||53||4||360|
West Ham’s James Collins was the most effective player when it came to clearing his lines last month. Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel also deserves a mention for continuing the consistency he’s shown all season long in Brendan Rodgers’ back four.
|Gareth McAuley||West Brom||DF||38||4||360|
West Brom’s McAuley was the most difficult defenders to get the better of in duels throughout February. Gary Cahill was widely praised last month for several performances and rightly so because this stat suggests his timing and form is spot on at the moment.
It’s encouraging for Spurs fans to see Vertonghen on this list following a return from injury but Hull’s Curtis Davies was the best in February in terms of how he read the game, taking risks to step out of central defence to pick off the ball before a situation developed dangerously.
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