With Harry Maguire constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons, the focus has once again shifted to the best defenders in the premier league. Defenders are of paramount importance because no matter how good a team maybe if they let in too many goals they are not going to achieve anything. Sir Alex Ferguson once said “Attack Wins You Games, Defense Wins You Trophies.”

Not too long ago, all the focus was on attackers and forwards- they got all the glory because they dribble and score goals. However, much has changed because the public has seen some disgraceful defending in recent times and because bad defending has cost elite teams at crucial moments when they would have won some silverware.

It can therefore be said that poor defending will almost always end in pain and that pain is likely to come at the time when the team is on the verge of glory. Most teams have learned this lesson: they are keen to get the services of the best defenders in the business. Currently, there are several very good defenders in the premier league, and they all know their worth.

Top 10 Best Defenders In The Premier League – {Centre Backs}

Rank No. Defender’s Name Club
1.  Virgil Van Dijk  Liverpool
2.  Joao Cancelo  Manchester City
3.  Antonio Rudiger  Chelsea
4.  Cristian Romero  Tottenham Hotspur
5.  Joel Matip  Liverpool
6.  Thiago Silva  Chelsea
7.  Marc Guehi  Crystal Palace
8.  Aymeric Laporte  Manchester City
9.  Caglar Soyuncu  Leicester City
10.  John Stones  Tottenham Hotspur

Now we head into proper details of the best defenders in the premier league as we get to know more about these football professionals.

Best Defenders In The Premier League

1. Virgil van Dijk

  • Full Name: Virgil Van Dijk
  • Date of Birth: 8th of July, 1991
  • Nationality: Netherlands
  • Place of Birth: Breda, Netherlands
  • Playing position: Centre Back

Virgil van Dijk is the best defender in the premier league- a title that has not been disputed for at least three seasons. The last person of a similar quality to play in the premier league was Vincent Kompany, and he left the league showered with trophies and glory. Virgil has a little bit of everything; he has the power to outmuscle opponents, he is supreme in the air, he is very steady and composed which makes him incredibly difficult to dribble, and he carries the ball forward so effortlessly.

Virgil van Dijk started his football career in the year 2011 with the Groningen and later on moved to Celtic in the year 2013, where he aided the team in winning the Scottish Premiership and was named in the PFA Scotland team of the year. Later on, in September 2015, he moved on to the premier league side “Southampton” and in the year 2018, he joined Liverpool for a transfer fee of £75 million which was a world record transfer fee for a defender.

Virgil van Dijk has been the anchor at the back for Liverpool, and his presence gives them the confidence to run forward in numbers; overwhelming opponents with their high pressing style of football.

 2. Joao Cancelo

  • Full Name: Joao Pedro Cavaco Cancelo
  • Date of Birth: May 27th, 1994
  • Nationality: Portugese
  • Playing position: Defender

Joao Cancelo arrived at Manchester City from Juventus in 2019, and his first few games were underwhelming. However, the 27-year-old has adjusted to the league quite well and is showing what Pep Guardiola saw in him, before luring him to the club. Joao Cancelo is a sublime player; he cancels out opponents with his uncanny ability to read their moves. He has positioning and quickly fills in the gap; causing opponent attackers to run into a brick wall.

Going forward, Joao Cancelo has the ability to pick out his teammates so as to turn defensive moments into swift counterattacks. He has the footwork to delete attackers that charge forward too quickly, thus opening up space in the midfield, and enabling him to thread passes that put his team in charge of the match.

Joao Cancelo gives his team the added advantage of changing formation from 4 or 5 at the back to 3 at the back because he switches from defender to midfielder with the snap of a finger.

 3. Antonio Rudiger

  • Full Name: Antonio Rudiger
  • Date of Birth: March 3rd, 1993
  • Nationality: German/Sierra Leonean
  • Playing position: Defender

Antonio Rudiger has a lot of naysayers, but he is one of the hottest defenders in the world at the moment. Antonio Rudiger is so hot that Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are fighting for his signature. He is a big-game player and squares up to any attacker in any game at any time. He is strong, quick, good in the air, and is not afraid to throw in a tackle to stop a move. Antonio Rudiger can read the attacking move, and position himself well so as to block the shots and dispossess the opponents.

Antonio Rudiger has one thing more than any other defender: hunger. You can see it from his work rate that he has the mentality of a warrior. Even 3 goals down; Antonio Rudiger keeps fighting for every ball. He can also function as an extra midfield man; lending a leg as the team surges forward in search of the winning goal. Antonio Rudiger has also proven on several occasions that he can bail his team out with a goal every now and then.

 4. Cristian Romero

  • Full Name: Cristian Gabriel Romero
  • Date of Birth: April 27th, 1998
  • Nationality: Argentine
  • Playing position: Defender

Cristian Romero is one of the main reasons why Tottenham Hotspurs has not sunk like a ship with a hole in the hull. He is solid as a defender because he has learned the art of defending in Italy having played for Genoa, Juventus, and Atalanta. He is incredibly hard to beat; he combines his aerial prowess with a kind of athleticism that is unusual for someone that tall.

Cristian Romero has been called the Ronaldo of Defenders; perhaps because he is very good on the ball. He is very good at stringing passes forward in order to turn defense into attack. He is a steadying presence for Tottenham; he gives the team more confidence to charge forward.

 5. Joel Matip

  • Full Name: Job Joel Andre Matip
  • Date of Birth: August 8, 1991
  • Nationality: Cameroonian/German
  • Playing position: Defender

Joel Matip seems forgotten at times; it seems as if all the credit goes to Virgil van Dijk, and people just forget about Matip who is his defensive partner. The truth is; Matip covers very well for van Dijk; he gives him the confidence to run forward with the ball, or for set-pieces because Matip covers the back very well. Thanks to Matip it is very rare for Liverpool to be caught napping when the opponents attempt a counterattack.

Matip is not afraid to get exposed, so he can charge attackers, while van Dijk plays as a sweeper; cleaning up the loose balls that result from his challenge. The team is made much more solid by his presence; he is a case study for players that bury their heads in their work and do not care about media hype.

 6. Thiago Silva

  • Full Name: Thiago Emiliano da Silva
  • Date of Birth: September 22nd, 1984
  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Playing position: Defender

Thiago Silva has proven himself a class act indeed. There is no sane person who can deny his influence at Chelsea; he has added solidity to the team and has given them this winning mentality that they lacked prior to his arrival. Thiago Silva was already shining at Paris Saint Germain; he glittered like refined gold in some of their Champions League games- even when they lost.

Somehow PSG made the mistake of letting him leave, and he quickly started a trophy-winning run with Chelsea like a scorned woman looking to prove a point. Thiago Silva is one of the best defenders in the premier league; he has ball-winning and man-marking skills that very few players can boast of. His link-up play is professional, and he is surprisingly quick. This man is 37 years old, and still playing like he is 26. He is a major reason why Chelsea is still in contention.

 7. Marc Guehi

  • Full Name: Addji Keaninkin Marc-Israel Guehi
  • Date of Birth: July 13th, 2000
  • Nationality: English/Ivorian
  • Playing position: Defender

Marc Guehi is Crystal Palace’s main defensive stalwart. For him to have gained this type of recognition at the age of 21, we can confidently say Marc Guehi is going to be a star of the game very soon. At Crystal Palace, he has displayed a kind of stubbornness that makes opponents wary of approaching his position. He is also very good in the air; which is why attacking Crystal Palace from aerial balls is not a good idea at the moment.

With him at the back, Crystal Palace has the confidence to charge forward in search of winning goals. His confidence has been greatly boosted under Patrick Viera; he looks like he is destined for greater things in the future.

 8. Aymeric Laporte

  • Full Name: Aymeric Jean Louis Gerard Alphonse Laporte
  • Date of Birth: May 27th, 1994
  • Nationality: French
  • Place of Birth: Agen, France
  • Playing position: Defender

Aymeric Laporte is probably the dream of any coach right now. You can call him a box-to-box defender because of his tendency to be in action in his box one minute, and then in the opponents’ box in a matter of seconds. He is very good in the air, and he uses this advantage in both boxes almost every game. Aymeric Laporte is a very confident defender; he knows how to read opponent moves, and knows how to position himself so as to steal the ball from them.

The best part of his game is the attacking side; he contributes goals and assists quite regularly for a defender. Aymeric Laporte has the ability to play quick forward passes which turn the pressure quickly against the opponents. He sees the runs of his teammates and supplies the killer passes. He is a complete player.

 9. Caglar Soyuncu

  • Full Name: Caglar Soyuncu
  • Date of Birth: May 23rd, 1996
  • Nationality: Turkish
  • Place of Birth: Izmir, Turkey
  • Playing position: Defender

Caglar Souncu is another hard-working defender who often gets overlooked. At Leicester City, he is the pillar holding up the defense; providing the solidity to allow the club marches forward.

This season, the club has not been as consistent as everyone might have hoped, but Caglar Soyuncu has been one of the stand-out performers. He is daring enough to take on even the most feared attackers, and when he does get the ball he has the mind to dash forward in search of options to receive the ball.

He is very quick to track back so as to avoid disaster; he is a very robust player indeed.

 10. John Stones

  • Full Name: John Stones
  • Date of Birth: May 28th, 1994
  • Nationality: England
  • Playing position: Defender

John Stones has shown flashes of his defensive superiority at times, even though he has not dominated the position as he has done over the past 6 seasons at Manchester City. This well-decorated center back has this dogged fighting spirit at the back of the park, and when he is in his element he is virtually impossible to beat.

He may not have the best passing ability but he is certainly good at dashing forward in swift counter attacks, and poking the ball home when he gets the opportunity. John Stones is a great defender; he already showed signs of his ability when he was at Everton, and he now shows it at City.

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