Talking Tactics

Stats stars: Pereira edges Wan-Bissaka as top tackler

29 May 2020

Adrian Clarke assesses Leicester City's right-back and other defenders who have made the biggest contributions so far this season

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Leicester City's Ricardo Pereira has been the competition's top-tackling defender this campaign.

Last season Pereira ranked second to Aaron Wan-Bissaka but this term the Manchester United defender is just behind.

Right-back Pereira has already won two more challenges than he managed in 35 appearances for the Foxes during his debut Premier League campaign.

While the Portuguese has been dribbled past 53 times in 2019/20, he is still extremely adept at winning possession.

Indeed, right-backs in general seem to be the best players in England's top flight at retrieving the ball.

Eight of the top 10 players for most tackles won operate in that position.  

Most tackles won by defenders
Defender Tackles won
Ricardo Pereira (LEI) 68
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (CRY) 66
Serge Aurier (TOT) 58
Jonny (WOL) 45
Djibril Sidibe (EVE) 43

No defender has been able to replicate the astonishing record of Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk, who did not once have the ball taken past him by an opponent during the 2018/19 campaign. 

Leading the way in 1v1s this season are centre-backs Victor Lindelof and Tyrone Mings, of Man Utd and Aston Villa respectively.

Each have been dribbled past only once across a combined 49 matches.  

Strong and disciplined in their approach, neither dive in and consequently they are rarely exposed.  

Fewest times beaten by an opponent*
Defender Times dribbled past
Victor Lindelof (MUN) 1
Tyrone Mings (AVL) 1
Seamus Coleman (EVE) 3
Andreas Christensen (CHE) 4
Jamaal Lascelles (NEW) 4

*minimum 15 appearances

Mings has enjoyed an excellent first full season at Villa during which time his total of 37 blocks is matched only by Burnley's James Tarkowski 

Ben Mee, a team-mate of Tarkowski at Turf Moor, and Arsenal's David Luiz are close behind with 30 and 28 blocks respectively.

Centre-back Tarkowski is also top when it comes to aerial dominance, making the most headed clearances and winning the most aerial duels among all players.

Man Utd's Harry Maguire has also been consistent and sits third in both categories. 

Best defenders in the air
Headed clearances Aerial duels won
James Tarkowski (BUR) 81 James Tarkowski (BUR) 145
Chris Basham (SHU) 80 Virgil van Dijk (SOU) 143
Harry Maguire (MUN) 80 Harry Maguire (MUN) 136
Federico Fernandez (NEW) 79 Ben Mee (BUR) 120
Jan Bednarek (SOU) 75 Jack O'Connell (SHU) 114

Chris Basham warrants a special mention, too.

Not only does he head clear with incredible frequency for Sheffield United but also gets himself into the right positions to intercept passes on the ground.  

Basham boasts 61 interceptions this season, a tally second only to the 66 of AFC Bournemouth left-back Diego Rico

Most blocks and interceptions
Blocks Interceptions
Tyrone Mings (AVL) 37 Diego Rico (BOU) 62
James Tarkowski (BUR) 37 Chris Basham (SHU) 61
Ben Mee (BUR) 30 Jan Bednarek (SOU) 59
David Luiz (ARS) 28 Aaron Wan-Bissaka (MUN) 53
Toby Alderweireld (TOT) 27 Harry Maguire (MUN) 53
Also in this series

Part 1: Stats stars: Dubravka among league's best goalkeepers
Part 3: Stats stars: Rodri and Gundogan control the centre
Part 4: Stats stars: De Bruyne the most creative player
Part 5: Stats stars: Why Salah offers much more than goals

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