After four games, Paris Saint-Germain sits second in Ligue 1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic leads the way with five goals - but their €50 million man and former Chelsea defender David Luiz doesn’t rank within the top 10 of Ligue 1 defenders, despite the fact he has yet to concede a goal in his three appearances.
No centre-back in France ranks in the top 10 of tackles made - that list is mostly filled with full-backs and defensive midfielders - but David Luiz doesn’t rank in the top 10 for clearances or interceptions made either; his young teammate Marquinhos is out-performing him on both fronts.
Leading the way with clearances is Saint-Etienne’s captain and inspirational leader, Loic Perrin. The veteran defender has recently picked up an injury that will keep him out for 4-6 weeks and this will be a huge blow for Les Verts.
He is averaging 13 clearances per game and is undoubtedly a huge reason why his team have started the season so well. It’s clear to see why they lost 5-0 away in Paris without Perrin in the back-line.
Behind Perrin is Lille’s Danish warrior Simon Kjaer, taking on the leadership of the missing Marko Basa by averaging 11.5 clearances per game. Lille have only conceded once in the league this season - without Kjaer it would obviously be a lot more.
Surprisingly, next in the league is Lyon’s Bakary Kone; the Burkina Faso defender has received a lot of stick for some of his defensive performances but, with Lyon under the cosh, Kone is still managing to put up some excellent numbers.
Other Ligue 1 defenders are great at leading the game and tend to intercept the danger rather than just clearing it up the park. Step forward Montpellier’s Abdelhamid El-Kaoutari, averaging 5.3 interceptions per game; he leads the league, ahead of Guingamp’s Christophe Kerbrat (4.8), Steeve Yago of Toulouse (4) and Marseille’s Nicolas N’Koulou (3.8)
By comparison, David Luiz has only made 10 clearances, averaging 3.3 per game and only two clearances. His numbers will be due to PSG’s domination of their opponents and it will be interesting to see how they change as the season develops. Marquinhos has averaged 4.5 clearances and 3.5 interceptions. The ball is obviously there to be won; it’s just not David Luiz that is doing the hard work. Sound familiar, Chelsea fans?
You can see why Barcelona were keen to pay €40 million for Marquinhos this summer - and why people were quick to question why PSG would pay €50 million for his fellow Brazilian.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com