The top five tacklers in the Premier League

Liverpool, Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa players all involved.

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.

Despite taking a little break from first team football due to injury, he has still been in exciting form for Rodgers and his men, who’ve enjoyed watching the 21-year-old progress this season. The player’s main concern will be to secure his place in the national team for the World Cup, in his home country.

The young player, like Townsend hasn’t been effective enough and will be hoping that it eventually starts clicking into place for him as goals will help his cause for a place in the Brazil squad. The former Internazionale midfielder has averaged 3.8 shots per game so far this season, but unfortunately has no goals to show for his efforts.

Sergio Aguero – Manchester City – The key man for Manchester City has been up there again, with his impressive form being a huge talking point for City fans and many pundits.

The Argentinian, like Coutinho will be wary of his form going into the World Cup as he looks to try and break into the starting 11, now a player of Aguero’s abilities should be able to get into any team in the world, but unfortunately for him at Argentina it’s not that straight forward, as he faces competition from the likes of; Messi, Higuain, Lavezzi, Palacio, Lamela, Tevez and Gaitan.

The Manchester City star hasn’t let anyone down yet though as he continues to crack the back of the net, and be a constant headache to both keepers and defenders. He is currently averaging 3.7 shots per game and that underlines his goalscoring record, in which he has scored 8 goals in 10 games. 

Olivier Giroud – Arsenal – The Arsenal frontman has been in impressive form and has been integral to Arsenal’s start to the season, which sees them clear at the top of the league.

Previously described as shy in front of goal, when he first made the move from Montpellier in 2012, he has been quick to shake that tag off with an impressive run of months which has seen him consistently named as one of the best strikers in the division.

In a similar boat to Aguero, he will also be putting his name forward for a World Cup place and whilst the competition may not be as intense as that of Argentina, he will still need to oust Benzema, Remy, Gignac, Gomis and Lacazette if he is to keep hold of a first team place.

The French national hierarchy can have no complaints so far though, as he continues to impress his peers in the Premier League and has recorded an average of 3.6 shots per game which leaves him only second behind Andros Townsend in the total shots fired so far in the Premier League.

image: © faisalzaman

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