Who were the best defenders in March? Skrtel, Shawcross and more

Cardiff City, Liverpool, Stoke City and Swansea City stars all feature.

As the end of the season draws ever closer, the defenders in sides at the top and bottom of the table become more important and focused on.

Experience is everything at this stage of the season because the odds are so high. Defenders scrapping away with sides tipped to be relegated can be just as important as the highest paid stars in the back fours of the biggest sides.

We’ve looked at five key statistical areas to judge the best defenders from last month.

Tackles Won

PlayerClubPosWon TackleAppsMins
Jon Flanagan Liverpool DF 19 5 433
Leighton Baines Everton DF 18 5 450
César Azpilicueta Chelsea DF 15 5 450
Fabio Man Utd DF 15 5 366
Rafael Man Utd DF 15 5 402

It will be extremely encouraging for any Liverpool fan to see Flanagan’s name at the top of this list. He was superb last month and closed out some very good attacking players.

Outfield Blocks

PlayerClubPosOutfielder BlockAppsMins
Steven Caulker Cardiff DF 7 5 450
Sylvain Distin Everton DF 7 5 450
Curtis Davies Hull DF 6 5 446
Gareth McAuley West Brom DF 6 4 349
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 6 5 450

Caulker deserves a special mention because he’s putting in a great shift for a side trying to fight off relegation back down to the Championship. He’s literally been superb in terms of putting his body on the line.

Effective Clearances

PlayerClubPosEffective ClearanceAppsMins
Ryan Shawcross Stoke DF 61 5 450
Curtis Davies Hull DF 60 5 446
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 57 5 450
Damien Delaney Crystal Palace DF 53 5 450
Per Mertesacker Arsenal DF 51 5 450

Ryan Shawcross produced the most effective clearances last month but it’s Martin Skrtel we’re going to focus on, who’s appearing on this list more and more frequently. The Slovakian has a great ability to clear his lines with no nonsense defending.

Aerial Duels Won

PlayerClubPosAerial WonAppsMins
Curtis Davies Hull DF 36 5 446
Ryan Shawcross Stoke DF 32 5 450
Michael Williamson Newcastle DF 27 5 450
James Tomkins West Ham DF 24 5 450
Ashley Williams Swansea DF 23 5 430

Shawcross appears again as one of the more difficult defenders to get the better of last month aerially. He made it extremely difficult for teams to play long ball football against Stoke.

Interceptions Won

PlayerClubPosInterception WonAppsMins
Angel Rangel Swansea DF 22 5 450
Chico Swansea DF 19 4 351
Joel Ward Crystal Palace DF 19 5 450
Scott Dann Crystal Palace DF 17 5 450
Gaël Clichy Man City DF 14 3 270

This isn’t the first time that Swansea City players have appeared at the very top in this area. They have a great ability to read the game, press and win the ball back without having to make a challenge.

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