Tackling is often remarked to as a dying art of football, and it is true that the trait is being slowly removed from the game, as referees become tighter on the rules and managers become more tactical, aiming for interceptions over players tackling for the ball.
Stephen Pickering takes a look at top 5 players in the Premier League still perfecting the art of tackling...
Lucas Leiva – Liverpool – The Brazilian defensive midfielder has been a ferocious tackler since he arrived in England from Gremio in 2007, and this season has been no different.
The ball winning midfielder has been key to Liverpool’s start to the season playing the holding role perfectly, allowing the players around him to have freedom to do damage.
He has performed 50 successful tackles in his first 9 games, leaving him with an average of 5.6 tackles per game
Aaron Ramsey – Arsenal – The Welsh wonder has undoubtedly been in the form of his life and his all-round midfield player has left many peers in awe of his talents.
Tackling has been one thing you generally wouldn’t associate too heavily with Ramsey, who has always been considered a tidy ball keeping midfielder who’ll distribute play nicely. This season, and the end of last, has been a completely different story has he has gone to the top of almost every list possible, both defensively and attacking.
The 22-year-old has is currently second on average tackles per game, but has made more tackles than any other player in the Premier League. He has performed 53 successful tackles in his first 11 games, leaving him with an average of 4.8 tackles per game
Joel Ward – Palace – The only defender in the list goes to a Crystal Palace man, who has been one of their top performers when it comes to keeping out the opposition.
The former Portsmouth defender has made 39 successful tackles in his first 9 games, leaving him with an average of 4.3 tackles per game
Karim El Ahmadi – Villa - The instrumental midfield man has been in fine form this season, especially on defensive duties and it shows in his impressive tackle rate.
Aston Villa’s deep-lying centre midfielder has performed 43 successful tackles in his first 10 games, leaving him with an average of 4.3 tackles per game, the same as Palace’s Joel Ward.
Mile Jedinak – Palace – the Australian international was key to Palace’s promotion last season, and now more than ever has felt the burden of their success lie firmly on his shoulders.
It’s not surprise that 2 Palace players should feature in this list as they’ve struggled to keep the ball away from their defensive unit this season and Jedinak at times has been a 1 man defensive effort for the London based side.