Wednesday, May 25, 2022

UPDATED: Premier League’s Best Defenders – Ranked

It’s been said that the art of defending has been lost in the modern Premier League.

However, it is more accurate to say that what is expected of defenders has changed. No longer is the back four simply tasked with keeping clean sheets.

Now, defenders increasingly perform vital roles in possession too, whether it’s starting moves with long passes or bombing down the wings and creating scoring opportunities.

10. Kyle Walker (Down 2)

Kyle Walker
Walker’s powers of recovery are second to none / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

If you’re searching for the perfect defender to bail you out and cover giving the ball away, look no further than Kyle Walker.

The Manchester City and England star is ridiculously good at covering the ground and almost certainly has the quickest acceleration of any player in the Premier League – an ability that allows City to be as free flowing as they are.

9. Thiago Silva (Down 2)

Thiago Silva
Thiago Silva is defying age / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

Thiago Silva may be 37 years of age, but so what?

He’s still just as good at reading and managing the game as he always was, and remains a threat from set pieces. His experience and leadership qualities are vital to Chelsea and he’s played a big part in their defence once again this season – even if he picks up the odd injury.

8. Antonio Rudiger (Down 3)

Antonio Rudiger
Rudiger is now one of the world’s most in-demand defenders / Robin Jones/GettyImages

One of the most in-demand centre-backs in world football right now, Antonio Rudiger’s stock has gone through the roof over the past 12 months.

Another benefactor of Tuchel’s tactical shift, Rudiger is a dangerous ball-playing defender who not only reads the game brilliantly and is tremendous in the air, he’s exceptionally comfortable joining in attacks with the ball at his feet.

It’s a shame for Chelsea that he’ll be leaving this summer.

7. Joel Matip (Down 1)

Joel Matip
Matip is brilliant / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Liverpool look a much better team with Joel Matip in the starting XI.

If he can stay fit then the Reds’ chances of winning a quadruple will increase tenfold.

6. Cristian Romero (Up 3)

Cristian Romero, Ben Davies
Romero / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

After an up-and-down few weeks for Tottenham, Cristian Romero has helped Tottenham steady the ship recently.

When he’s fit and available, Spurs look twice the team.

He was brilliant on Sunday against Leicester City.

5. Joao Cancelo (Down 1)

Joao Cancelo
Joao Cancelo is now an established star / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

When Manchester City signed Joao Cancelo from Juventus in 2019, many were underwhelmed by his arrival. Now into his third season at the Etihad, any doubts over the 27-year-old’s ability have been firmly put to bed.

Brilliant on either side of defence, or as a supplementary midfielder, Cancelo has the touch and finesse to pick out passes and through balls that few others can even see. That’s why Pep Guardiola loves him.

4. Ruben Dias (Re-Entry)

Ruben Dias
Dias is back from injury / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

Back from injury and back into the top five.

He was the best defender in England last season, the Portuguese international has been mightily impressive when fit this season too.

3. Trent Alexander-Arnold (-)

Trent Alexander-Arnold
Alexander-Arnold has been back to his best / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Some doubted the ability of Trent Alexander-Arnold after a ropey couple of months and some lapses in defensive concentration.

Fortunately, Liverpool’s right-back has put all of that to one side, has come back stronger than ever and is undisputedly the most dangerous full-back in the league.

2. Andrew Robertson (-)

Andrew Robertson
Robertson remains one of the best / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Liverpool’s attacking prowess down each flank is famed, so there’s really no surprise to see Andy Robertson ranked among the league’s best defenders.

The Scot hasn’t been at his absolutely brilliant best for all of this season, granted, but he has that level of class that few left-backs in the world possess. In fact, he’s still the best in the business.

1. Virgil van Dijk (-)

Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk is top dog / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Can anybody other than Virgil van Dijk really lay claim to being the best defender in the Premier League?

The Dutchman is imperious in every facet of the game and is on course to establish himself as a legendary figure at Liverpool.

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