Image source: pxhere
When it comes to entertaining football, it is hard to beat the Premier League. It is home to some of the best players and coaches in the world. Every week, spectators are served up a feast of goals, dribbles and skills that can take the breath away. But it’s not all about attacking moves and goal scoring. The Premier League is also about top defending and tackling.
But who are the best tacklers in the league and who should we look out for in the 2018/19 season?
The top clubs may boast some of the best defenders and midfielders but they do not always make the most tackles. This is because the extra time spent attacking and in possession of the ball allows them to do less defensive work than their counterparts further down the table.
The teams at the bottom face more shots, more attacking runs and enjoy less possession than those at the top. This can make their job much harder. It is, therefore, no surprise the players who tackle the most do not always come from the best clubs.
The No. 1 ranked tackler in the league last season was Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City. He made 138 tackles with a 64% success rate. Second in terms of the number of tackles was Everton’s Idrissa Gueye. However, he had a much higher success rate than Ndidi with a 79% ratio. In third place was Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté who racked up 113 tackles with a 68% success rate. None of these played for teams that finished in the top four of the English top flight last season.
The highest rated tackler for Premier League champions Manchester City was Kevin de Bruyne, who completed 62 tackles with a 69% success rate. The Citizens will start the season as favourites in the Premier League betting table once again at 4/7 this term but it’s unlikely that it’s down to the Belgian’s breakup play.
Image source: Дмитрий Пукалик via Wikimedia Commons
Players to look out for in 2018/19
Both Gueye and Kante have finished in the top two over the last two seasons. Kante’s figures dropped off a little last year but they can be expected to pick up as Chelsea are set to receive a boost from a new managerial appointment. Former Napoli man Maurizio Sarri is expected to join the London club soon following the departure of Antonio Conte.
Idrissa Gueye will also be playing under a new boss with Marcos Silva coming in for Sam Allardyce at Goodison Park. Silva‘s approach is expected to be more like Roberto Martinez’s and less like Allardyce’s, which may afford him more opportunities to break up play.
Whether that translates in to more or less tackles for the Senegal international remains to be seen.
Other players to look out for included Dale Stephens of Brighton and Hove Albion, Aaron Mooy of Huddersfield Town and Mohamed Diamé of Newcastle United, all of whom caught the eye with their tackling prowess last season.