With another international break upon us and the Premier League season drawing to a close, we have decided to take a closer look at Aston Villa’s defensive performances in the top flight this season.
Using HITC’s formula to assess performance by adding up key defensive attributes, Ciaran Clark comes out on top – with a total of 26.63 from six areas of play.
That will not surprise Villa fans who have seen the 25-year-old excel time and again this season, but away from Villa Park the centre-back remains something of an unsung hero.
While fans hail the performances of many defenders, Clark quietly gets on with his job, proving vital to Villa week in, week out.
It has clearly not been the best season at Villa Park but without Clark things would have been considerably worse.
Second in the table is Nathan Baker, who averages more effective clearances than Clark but is outperformed by his teammate in all other areas below.
|Passing accuracy||Tackles won per game||Effective clearances per game||Effective headed clearances per game||Duels won per game||Aerials won per game||Interceptions won per game||Total||Mins Played|
Then comes Jores Okore, who has developed a fine partnership with Clark in recent times and proves there will be life after Ron Vlaar - who really does not fair well above.
When you consider the statistics, three Villa defenders are a cut above the rest, and it will be interesting to see just who stays and who goes this summer, with manager Tim Sherwood sure to make changes.
But for now we should all celebrate Clark’s ability and overall contribution. He really is one of the Premier League’s best defenders and more people should acknowledge that.