One of the first names on the Team Of The Season sheet will most probably be van Dijk and rightly so, as the Dutchman has been colossal at the heart of the Liverpool defence. However, other defenders in the league are certainly deserving of being mentioned in the debate when talking about the best defenders in the league so far.
A prime example is Leicester City’s Çağlar Söyüncü. The Turkish centre-back had big boots to fill after Harry Maguire’s departure from the King Power Stadium in the summer, but 23-year-old Söyüncü has certainly proved to be worthy replacement.
The 6ft 1 defender has been a rock at the back, winning the 13th most tackles of any Premier League defender. He also boasts an impressive 89% passing accuracy, with only Manchester City’s Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho achieving higher.
Another centre-back that deserves recognition for an outstanding season is Burnley’s James Tarkowski. The Englishman has recorded an average match rating of 7.11 across the season, bettered only by van Dijk and Maguire. the former Oldham Athletic man, Tarkowski, also achieved the most aerial duels won in the league this season, with 144, that has helped Burnley to 11 clean sheets, one less than table-topping Liverpool.
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson will also receive a huge amount of credit when discussing the best full-backs over the past year and most definitely deserve a spot in the TOTS.
Manchester United’s summer signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka, however, deserves recognition also for his fantastic debut season at Old Trafford that has seen him make an average of 3.8 tackles per game with an 82.6% success rate. In comparison Alexander-Arnold manages 1.6 per 90 minutes with a 53% success rate. Wan-Bissaka also has the fifth most amount of interception in the league this season.
Ricardo Periera is another right-back worthy of a place amongst the league’s best XI. The Leicester full-back has been an integral part in the Foxes’ terrific season which sees them very much in position for Champions League qualification. The Portuguese Periera has recorded the most amount of tackles in the league this season as well as three goals and two assists from defence.