Who were the best defenders last season? Koscielny, Skrtel and more

Arsenal, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Hull City and Liverpool stars all feature.

The defenders are arguably the most important players in any side because they prevent the opposition from scoring, form the spine of any side and create the platform for important wins to be achieved.

With the season over, there is plenty of debate among fans over back fours with Chelsea fans confused by Ashley Cole’s World Cup snub while Liverpool supporters will be annoyed by the leakiness of their own back four.

We’ve taken a look at five important areas for defenders to judge who the best players were last season.

Outfield Blocks

  ClubPosOutfielder BlockAppsMins
Steven Caulker Cardiff DF 59 38 3,420
Ryan Shawcross Stoke DF 44 37 3,292
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 37 36 3,222
Ashley Williams Swansea DF 36 34 3,040
Damien Delaney Crystal Palace DF 35 37 3,285

Cardiff’s Steven Caulker made more outfield blocks than anyone else. That suggests his positioning in his own defence was superb throughout the season. It’s no wonder Tottenham reportedly want to buy him back.

Tackles Won

  ClubPosWon TackleAppsMins
Joel Ward Crystal Palace DF 102 36 3,240
Pablo Zabaleta Man City DF 92 35 3,079
Erik Pieters Stoke DF 90 36 2,902
Geoff Cameron Stoke DF 78 37 3,285
Leighton Baines Everton DF 76 32 2,839

The Premier League’s most successful tackler was Joel Ward of Crystal Palace. Pablo Zabaleta also deserves a mention because of his consistency as Manchester City hung on to win the Premier League title.

Effective Clearances

  ClubPosEffective ClearanceAppsMins
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 411 36 3,222
Damien Delaney Crystal Palace DF 337 37 3,285
Steven Caulker Cardiff DF 326 38 3,420
Curtis Davies Hull DF 325 37 3,326
Ryan Shawcross Stoke DF 317 37 3,292

Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel was the best when it came to no nonsense, basic defending. When Liverpool needed to clear their lines he responded by booting the ball into row z and easing the pressure.

Aerial Duels Won

  ClubPosAerial WonAppsMins
Curtis Davies Hull DF 171 37 3,326
Ryan Shawcross Stoke DF 156 37 3,292
Michael Williamson Newcastle DF 145 33 2,912
Steven Caulker Cardiff DF 144 38 3,420
Michael Dawson Spurs DF 132 32 2,838

Curtis Davies was the hardest defender to get the better of when it came to aerial challenges. Caulker and Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross appear on another list inside this feature, a sign of their solid consistency.


  ClubPosInterception WonAppsMins
Curtis Davies Hull DF 105 37 3,326
Chico Swansea DF 94 31 2,690
Angel Rangel Swansea DF 93 30 2,632
Geoff Cameron Stoke DF 91 37 3,285
Laurent Koscielny Arsenal DF 89 32 2,741

Davies was also superb in terms of the number of interceptions he made, showing a great ability to read the game. It’s also worth noting that Laurent Koscielny’s effectiveness in this area also played a part in him getting a new Arsenal contract.

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