Redknapp labelled Tottenham's Alderweireld the Premier League's best defender… but what do the stats say?

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Toby Alderweireld has been excellent for Tottenham Hotspur so far this season.

Jamie Redknapp claimed last Tuesday that Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Toby Alderweireld was the Premier League’s best defender, writing in his column for the Daily Mail.

The former Southampton man has made a big impact on Spurs since joining the club over the summer, forming an excellent partnership with Jan Vertonghen that has conceded just 10 league goals thus far.

After another thoroughly impressive display against rivals Arsenal, Redknapp said of the Belgian star: “Best defender in the league this season. Jan Vertonghen has benefited from playing with him."

While it’s clear that Alderweireld has been a colossal figure for Spurs this season, how does he compare with the very best Premier League defenders from a statistical point of view?

  Tackles per GameInterceptions per Game Clearances per GameDef Duels Won per GameAerial Duels Won per GameBall Recoveries per GameAccurate Passes per GameAppearances
Nicolás Otamendi 2.29 2.71 6.43 8.43 3.57 6.29 55.71 7
Chris Smalling 1.5 2.17 4.83 5.5 2.83 6.42 43.08 12
Jan Vertonghen 1.42 3.08 5.25 5.25 2.08 4.67 44.42 12
Laurent Koscielny 1.1 4.3 4.8 5.9 2.8 9.1 48 10
Toby Alderweireld 0.5 1.75 5.42 2.17 1.08 3.92 42.33 12
Vincent Kompany 0.5 1.63 4.5 3.38 2.13 6.88 45.25 8

Well, as per the table provided by Opta Stats, Alderweireld is certainly in good company in terms of defenders on form, with Manchester City’s Nicolas Otamendi posting some staggering figures.

Over a range of key defensive areas, Alderweireld doesn’t actually top any of them and rather surprisingly he has been outshone by his teammate Vertonghen in six of the seven categories.

That, of course, is not to say that he hasn’t been as impressive, as statistics cannot display important aspects such as decision-making, marking off the ball and general leadership.

That said, from a statistical point of view, the best defender thus far has been City’s Otamendi as he averages more tackles, clearances, defensive duels won, aerial duels won and accurate passes than any other top centre-back per Premier League match.

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