The Premier League has not seen the likes of a defensive midfielder such as a Patrick Vieira or a Roy Keane for years. Sure there have been a few great players like Javier Mascherano or Claude Makelele coming in but they were in the league for only a few seasons and barely spent a lot of time in England.
The need for someone to not only control the game but come in with a crunching tackle to ensure that their team gets the momentum is incredibly important and we have seen quite a few players do something similar this season.
We look back at this exciting Premier League season and list out the top defensive midfielders.
From obscurity to the wish list of some of the top clubs in the world, it has been a whirlwind ride for a player who no one knew about at the start of the season. Leicester’s midfielder Kante has been incredible for the side all season and his stats back up what he has been doing on the pitch as well.
The 24-year-old makes an incredible 4.4 tackles on an average per game. His interceptions are also mind boggling as he manages 4.2 per game, not bad for someone who wasn’t even in the scouting network for some of the biggest clubs in England. Leicester have found a star and this player could well lead them to Premier League glory soon.
Another player who has impressed a lot this season is Kante’s partner in midfield, Danny Drinkwater. The 26-year-old English midfielder has done so well for the Foxes that he has recently been called up for the English national side, something that no one could have thought of at the start of the campaign.
Drinkwater though has been exceptional for Leicester and is one of those players who does all the work in midfield but doesn’t stand out a lot. The midfielder averages 2.9 tackles per game and also 1.6 interceptions to go along with that. He also manages around 1.5 clearances per game, a pretty good stat from the new England international.
Arsenal might be capitulating under the pressure of trying to win a Premier League title but there has been one player who has done pretty well for the Gunners, despite missing a significant portion of the season with injury.
Francis Coquelin is one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League, all that at the age of 24. The French midfielder does have the stats to back it up with 3.1 tackles and 3.3 interceptions per game, certainly a brilliant set of numbers for someone who is bound to get better with each season at Arsenal.