The Premier League returned over the weekend after a long wait and there was no shortage of entertainment and talking points as sides all over the country got off to positive and disappointing starts to the campaign.
Manchester United are under instant pressure while Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City all secured important wins which will breed confidence this morning.
We’ve taken a look at the best defensive performers in key areas.
|Brede Hangeland||Crystal Palace||DF||1||1||90|
It’s always handy when defenders pop up with key goals and in Eric Dier’s case, he made the literal difference on his debut for Spurs. Nathaniel Clyne also deserves a mention for keeping his head with a great finish in an intimidating Anfield atmosphere.
|Winston Reid||West Ham||DF||2||1||90|
|Philippe Senderos||Aston Villa||DF||2||1||90|
No defender was more effective in terms of outfield blocks than Hull’s James Chester. Any defender who can get into good positions and block well is showing a good awareness of the game, those around him and where he needs to be to cut off the danger.
|Gaël Clichy||Man City||DF||8||1||90|
|Joel Ward||Crystal Palace||DF||5||1||90|
Gael Clichy was right on the money for Manchester City, which is partly surprising because he was playing out of position at right-back against Newcastle United. His timing with his tackles was superb and allowed City to break up the pressure when Newcastle were able to build attacks.
|Gaël Clichy||Man City||DF||13||1||90|
In terms of defensive duels, Stoke’s Erik Pieters and QPR’s Armand Traore won more duels than any other defender over the weekend. Those sides will need them to maintain that impressive level of performance if they are going to fight for top half of the table places this season.
Liverpool central defender Martin Skrtel was one of the best in this area last season and he’s maintained his effectiveness at the start of this season. He did the basics of no nonsense defending well against Southampton, which allowed him to help his side regularly ease pressure during their 2-1 win.