In general, the EPL's defenders have not ruled the roost this season. Fans and pundits alike have been impressed by the performances of a few center-backs. On that point, here are the five best center-backs in the EPL for the 2021-22 season.
Leicester City has developed a keen eye for spotting the best young players in the globe, transforming themselves into one of the best defenders. Wesley Fofana, a 20-year-old midfielder who joined the Foxes for a rumored €35 million fee from Saint-Etienne, is one of the most exciting possibilities to have joined the English club recently. Fofana, who joined Leicester in October 2020, has swiftly established himself as one of the top Premier League defenders in 2021/22. he's made over 30 appearances and is certainly on his way to becoming a global sensation. Of course, Fofana has a long way to go if he wants to reach the same heights as Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, but that doesn't stop him from setting his sights high for the future.
6. Harry Maguire - Manchester United
Manchester United was widely criticised for blowing the cash on Leicester City's Harry Maguire in 2019, paying an eye-watering €87 million for his services. Few could have predicted Maguire's turnaround and transformation into the defender United envisioned him as. He is now one of the finest defenders in the Premier League in 2021/22, Last season he helped United reach and maintain second place behind Manchester City. The 28-year-old is clearly in his prime, and he still has so much to contribute. The only lingering question is whether he will ever be able to fight for the Premier League title. Will he put a stop to Manchester City's dominance? With the way things have been going, United fans will be hoping to see the Premier League title back at Old Trafford, a trophy they haven't seen since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.
5. Aymeric Laporte - Manchester City
After falling out of favor last season due to the remarkable form of Ruben Dias and John Stones, Aymeric Laporte was said to be intent on leaving Manchester City last summer. Given the financial concerns surrounding Spain's top, Laporte remained at the Etihad and has started the new season in great form in Stones' absence. Following City's 5-0 thrashing of Norwich in August, Guardiola called Laporte "the finest left-sided centre-back for build-up play in the world," with the 27-year-old having been a key figure at both ends of the pitch for the Premier League champions so far this season. Laporte has a 96.7 percent pass completion rate in the Premier League so far this season, but he is sixth in the league for passes into the final third, a figure that highlights his ability to go forward through opposition lines. It's no surprise that City's failure to break down Southampton last weekend coincided with his absence, as he averaged 8.89 progressive passes per 90 minutes.
4. Raphael Varane - Manchester United
The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United dominated the headlines this summer, but Raphael Varane's arrival could be even more essential to the Red Devils' chances of winning a trophy. During his illustrious career, the France international has won it all, including four Champions League titles with Real Madrid and the World Cup with his country. Varane has made three league appearances since joining United from Real Madrid, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side winning all three of his games. This season, Varane has averaged two tackles and 2.7 ground duels won per 90 minutes, both of which are more than the other center-backs in our top five. Despite some unimpressive performances from Harry Maguire opposite him, the 28-year-old has given a comforting presence in the backline, with his reputation as one of the finest in the world warranted based on his early impact in English football.
3. Thiago Silva - Chelsea
Thiago Silva is still proving himself to be a world-class defender at the age of 36. He has a calm, mature demeanor that will undoubtedly be crucial in helping Chelsea fight for the title this season and also in the coming season. Even though he has lost a lot of his speed, his placement and ability to read the game make him a nightmare for any attacking player. He would be higher on our ranking, but he is unlikely to play every game for Chelsea at the moment. During the 2020/21 season, Silva only made 23 appearances in the league.
2. Antonio Rudiger - Chelsea
While Man City had the greatest defensive record in the league last season, Chelsea was not far behind, allowing only 36 goals in 38 games. The Blues' record is even more astounding given that Thomas Tuchel only came over at the end of January, and they only started to look solid at the back then. One of the first things Tuchel did after taking over was to make Antonio Rudiger a regular starter in the league, something he had only done four times under Frank Lampard in the previous season. Despite having his future called into question in January, the German went on to put up a string of outstanding performances, which he will undoubtedly repeat this year. In reality, Chelsea has only conceded seven goals in the league games Rudiger has played in under Tuchel.
1. Ruben Dias - Manchester City
Was there ever going to be another person at the top of this list? Ruben Dias only spent one season in England, but it was a memorable one. As previously said, City won the Premier League last season with the best defensive record in the league. Only 32 goals were scored by the Sky Blues in 38 league games. And Dias was instrumental in City significantly upgrading their backline, which had appeared fragile since Vincent Kompany's departure. In the six league matches he missed in 2020/21, City only kept two clean sheets and shipped three or more goals on two of those occasions five against Leicester and three against Newcastle. Dias may have only recently turned 24, but his imposing presence gave Pep Guardiola's side an air of confidence and calm.
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