Previously in the season I ranked the top five EPL defenders after the first ten matchdays. With many more matchdays having since passed, I thought I would take a look at the best EPL defenders with the all important run in yet to come. Why do this you ask? Most anyone who follows the league can tell you who the outstanding offensive players are. The individual goals table tells you that the likes of Suarez, Sturridge, Aguero and Remy have been scoring goals. Yet, the evaluation of how well a defender has played can not be based on one single statistic. What would you use? Tackles? Blocks? Interceptions? Due to this question a combination of stats must be used and Squawka.com has come up with an algorithm that takes into consideration every touch of the ball and the position on the pitch of that touch to grade out players offensive and defensive contribution in a game. Here are their top five rated defenders (centerbacks, fullbacks midfielders) so far this season, with their total defensive score and a few notes on how they have played to date.
Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal 552
It should come as no surprise the French defender tops this list. Koscielney when healthy has been in top form and is the glue that holds the Gunner backline together. He has been strong in interceptions averaging 2.8 per game, which is good enough to rank him 4th in the league. He has also been excelling with tackles (1.9 per game) and is tidy on the ball with a 93% pass completion rate.
Curtis Davies, Hull City 524
This is a very odd name to see on this list but the Hull City center-back has been in top form and is the clubs highest rated player to date. Davies is averaging 2.2 tackles, 2.8 interceptions and 7.8 clearances per game helping a Hull defense to rank 5th in the league in goals against only conceding 31 in 27 league matches. Does Curtis Davies play warrant him English national team duty for the first time? I think he deserves to be in the conversation given his play so far this season.
Phil Jagielka, Everton 464
Jagielka was also on the initial top defensers list done in November. He has dropped from second to third but is keeping up a high level of play. The 31 year old English international has averaged 1.8 tackles, 1.8 interceptions and 8.1 clearances per match under the direction of new manager Roberto Martinez.
Mile Jedinak, Crystal Palace, 463
The Australian is the lone midfielder to make this list (which is an impressive feat) and has done well for Palace in their first season back in the EPL. Jedinak has started 26 games and averaged 3.4 tackles, 3.5 interceptions, 3.5 clearances and 4.6 aerial duels won per match.
Jose Fonte, Southampton, 461
Fonte has been very consistent this year ranking fifth in the first list as well. It is surprising to still see him on this list but Fonte is a very good story to tell having been with the Saints since their days in League 1. The Portuguese center back is a solid all around defender posting 2 tackles, 1.9 interceptions and 8.9 clearances per game with an 82% pass completion rate.