The Premier League season is at its climax now with only 11 games left the title race is between Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. However, the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City are also fighting for the Champions League spots. The league is generally fast-paced and end to end football with the top marksmen in Europe putting opposition defenders in front of their regular assaults.
The tables have turned in the course of the season, some of the defenders have stood tall against all the onslaught and held their ground firm keeping their team firmly in the title race, top four race or some with lesser ambitions in the league to fight another day.
Some of these big match players have flourished with the top six English clubs, while others are still trying to make it big. Here are the five most impressive centre-back in the Premier League:
5. Conor Coady
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men were tipped to do well in the Premier League right after their qualification from the Championship and the men from Molineux certainly lived up to the expectations. The Wolves have been the surprise package this season as they have gone toe-to-toe with the big clubs in the league and fared out pretty well. Wolves are in the seventh position in the league table are challenging for a Europa League spot next season and all that has been possible because they boast a sturdy defence. Club captain Conor Coady has been a revelation at the heart of the back-line.
Coady has dictated play from the back and has shown his passing range alongside the technique that he possesses which is very different from the other traditional English centre-backs. His defensive resilience and his calm and composed leadership skills make him a contender for the Three Lions. Good in attack and has the physical prowess to shrug off any forward in the league and adding with his consistent performances, the 26-year old is asking all the questions to England national team coach Gareth Southgate.
4. Fabian Schar
It has been a hot and cold season for the Magpies and one thing that has kept them away from the relegation zone consistently is their recently signed Swiss centre-back, Fabian Schar. Joined Tyneside for a mere £3m deal from Deportivo La Coruna last summer and has been an immediate hit. Not only he is a very capable defender but his physical prowess makes him very dangerous during set pieces and the 27-year old have already notched up three goals in Newcastle United’s recent upturn in form.
Schar’s stunning strike against in the 2-0 win over Burnley earned him the February goal of the month in the Premier League. The Swiss international is strong, reliable and also good with the aerial duel. He has been the shining light at the back for Rafa Benitez’s side this season and considering his quick and great adjustment to English football both Arsenal and Tottenham are impressed by the 27-year old defender and are monitoring the defender for a potential summer move.
3. Toby Alderweireld
One of the most technically sound defenders in the Premier League, Alderweireld has been ever dependant by the Tottenham boss, Mauricio Pochettino. Ever since his arrival to English football back in 2014 when he joined Southampton, the Belgian defender has been one of the most consistent and finest defenders in the league.
Alderweireld is sound in all the attributes required in a top defender and despite a tough season without any signings and facing multiple injuries the Belgian has held his ground firm alongside compatriot Jan Vertonghen and have guarded the backline of the Lillywhites with aplomb. Averaging a tackle per game, Alderweireld strength lies in his astute game ready and wide range of passing. His experience has also been handy as the Belgian has helped younger defenders in his side to learn the trade.
2. Aymeric Laporte
The former Athletic Bilbao defender has been a revelation under Pep Guardiola for Manchester City. He has definitely been one of the best defenders in the Premier League this season going toe-to-toe with Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk. Laporte’s exquisite passing ability allow Guardiola’s men to play it out from the back. Alongside his passing the 24-year old is also very versatile and can also play as a left back should Guardiola need him in that position.
The Frenchman is excellent with his game reading and knows exactly when to make the move. Laporte’s acceleration and speed compensate for the bit less physical prowess and he is one of the most technically sound defenders in the Premier League right now and on his day he is impossible to get past.
1. Virgil Van Dijk
Topping the charts is the Dutchman who has been the most pivotal figure for Jurgen Klopp’s men in their title push. Without him, the Reds would not have come so far as the former Southampton man has taken the Merseyside club to a different level since joining in January 2018.
he is strong, calm and organized at the back and his consistent performances have lifted the spirits of the back-line which was leaking goals before his arrival. He has been the orchestrator at the back and hence Klopp’s men have conceded the least amount of goals this season (17) till now. His dynamic physical prowess also makes him vulnerable for any opposition defenders during set pieces. He was criticised for the high fee Klopp decided to splash on him and his performances prove that every penny the Reds spent was absolutely worth it.