Best Premier League Defenders| Best Defenders In EPL 2021
Since his move to Liverpool in 2018, Virgil Van Dijk has single-handedly rejigged the mindset of the world towards defenders. Arguably the best Premier League defender of his generation, the 1.92m colossus has been a revelation. But following his season-ending injury, does the 29-year-old make it into this year’s list of best Premier league defenders?
Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham have been the hardest clubs to score past this campaign, but how many of their shut-outs is down to the brilliance of their centre-backs not goalkeepers?
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Aston Villa, who were relegation contenders in 2020, are the only non-top-six club in the best six defences of 2021. In a very unpredictable season, here are the best premier league defenders of the 2020/21 season.
Best Premier League Defenders 2020/21
10. Lewis Dunk – Brighton & Hove Albion
One of the highest scoring English defenders in recent years, Brighton’s Lewis Dunk just about makes it into our list of best Premier league defenders.
The 29-year-old, known for his consistency, has surprisingly won just one English cap, despite being a mainstay in the Albion defence.
The player is being courted by Mourinho’s Tottenham, and with his peak years behind him, might not get a better opportunity to secure a move to one of the big boys, where he has been all his career.
No centre-back has scored more goals than him this season.
9. Wesley Fofana – Leicester City
The revelation of the season, at least for defenders, is arguably 20-year-old French man, Wesley Fofana. Signed from Saint Etienne for over £35 million, Fofana has justified the huge fee splurged on him by the Foxes.
He has adapted to life in the Premier League extremely quickly for a player his age with little experience. Despite not being the tallest of centre backs, only six players have won more aerial duels than the player of Malian descent.
He is the youngest player on this list of best Premier League defenders.
8. Ben Mee – Burnley
The leader and skipper of a Burnley defence that have been formidable in 2021, Ben Mee is the 8th best premier league defender.
At 31, the English man is approaching the end of his career, but still remains indomitable on the battle line. Mee ranks second in clearances made this campaign and 10th in aerials won.
He is worth just €7 million, as his contract expires in 2022, making him the cheapest defender on this list.
7. Jannik Vestergaard – Southampton
Southampton broke an unwanted record this season, when they became the first side to lose by nine goals in consecutive seasons. However, one man who can’t be faulted is Danish defender, Vestergaard as the 28-year-old was unavailable and didn’t feature in the drubbing.
Of Southampton players to have made five games or more, Vestergaard ranks only behind Walker-Pieters in points per match.
Worth €18 million, the 2-metre giant’s contract expires in 2022.
6. Ruben Dias – Manchester City
Might be very contentious that Ruben Dias is ranked this low in this list of best premier league defenders. This is following performances that has seen the 23-year-old Portuguese international eclipse the unavailable Virgil Van Dijk as the leagues most valuable centre back.
Dias has taken to the EPL like a turtle to water. His amazing feat this season are as follows:
- 2nd in Pass Completion
- 2nd in Touches
- 1st in Progressive Carrying Distance
The achievements promises to swell before the season peters out, however, they do not tell the whole story.
He has an own goal to his name and isn’t so great in one-on-one battles. Dias is dribbled by 75% of dribbles he has attempted to tackle this season.
His leadership qualities has been exemplary, but as the second youngest on this list of best Premier League defenders, he still has a lot of improvement to make.
5. Thiago Silva – Chelsea
When Chelsea signed 35-year-old Thiago Silva in 2020, many believed the Brazilian veteran would struggle to adapt to the pace of the English division. This was in total ignorance of the fact that the ex-PSG captain had just played at the highest competition in club football, the UEFA Champions League final.
Months into his first ever season in England, the Chelsea skipper has sbleved those doubts and handled the physicality of the league relatively well. He has kept over 8 clean sheets, but more importantly heralded the backline when he has and hasn’t been available.
Silva has maintained his passing completion rate of over 90+ from the past three seasons, posting the third-highest pass accuracy of any player this season.
4. Harry Maguire — Manchester United
Few defenders have faced worse or more criticism than Manchester United captain, Harry Maguire this campaign. In justification, he has committed three errors leading to shots, with one leading to goal.
Yet his other achievements make for his shortcomings, he ranks:
- 6th for Passes into Final Third
- 4th for Interceptions
- 7th for Clearances
- 8th for touches
- 3rd for Most distance ball carried progressively
- 5th for Aerials won
Although no player has accrued more bookings than the 28-year-old, this might be as a result of him playing more games than any other player in the whole league.
3. Liam Cooper – Leeds
Leeds have surely been the revelation of the season, as they are the only premier league new boys not negotiating a relegation battle this season. Although their most conspicuous aspect of play has been their attack, they have relied on the man Liam Cooper when in threat of a defensive breach.
The Scottish man is one of the best one-on-one marksman in the league as he ranks 5th best for one-on-one tackling accuracy.
The 29-year-old’s biggest strength is however his pressing as no player has applied more successful press than him
2. Kurt Zouma – Chelsea
In early 2020, after the appointment of Lampard, ex-chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho appraised then fringe player, Kurt Zouma, as the best defender at the bridge. Few months has passed and the 26-year-old has emerged as 2021’s best defender in London.
No defender has scored more than the French man, who also boasts the fourth best goal per shot ratio in the league. Zouma is the king of skies as no player has won more aerial duels than him this season.
1. John Stones – Manchester City
Its only fitting that the team topping the English league boasts the best defender in their rank. Yet John Stones ranking at the top of the best premier league defenders list is well earned and not a mere procession.
The much-maligned player in recent years has risen from the ashes of condemnation to deliver his career’s best season. This has seen him return to the England national set-up for the first time in years, where he showed his strong mentality against Poland in the WC Qualifiers.
- 1st for goals per shot taken
- 1st for pass completion
- 1st for points per match
In finality, defender has scored more than the player this season.