The 2016-17 season promises to be one of the most closely contested seasons ever. A lot of the major clubs will be focussing on their defence. United and City have already signed a new centre back with Chelsea and Arsenal both in the market looking for defensive recruits.
Here we present you three defenders who will be crucial for their teams this season;
Koscielny has time and time again proven to be one of the best defenders in the League. Arsenal look a much solid team when he’s at the centre of defence. While Cech had a huge role to play in the high number of clean sheets Arsenal got last season, Koscielny too played a crucial role. The fact that Mertesacker’s performances dropped consistently didn’t help Arsenal either, along with the constant injuries. Arsenal’s record since August 2013 with and without Koscielny in the team tells the story. They win 2.33 games when he’s in the team compared to 1.48 without. Their win percentage is 73% with and 39% without the French man. Their clean sheet percentage is 56% with him and a mere 13% without. They also concede just 0.65 goals per game with him in the squad and 1.83 when he’s not.
In a very disappointing season for Everton, captain Jagielka missed a lot of games due to injuries. The fact that Leighton Baines, another seasoned campaigner, too spent the majority of the season on the sidelines didn’t help either. With centre-back partner John Stones sealing a big money move to Man City, Jagielka will have to seriously step it up for Everton. With the likes of Funes Mori not performing well enough to be regularly starting for a club like Everton, the burden on Jagielka has significantly improved.
United had a terrific defensive record last season and a lot of that had to do with Chirs Smalling. The English defender raised his performance to a different level and assumed real leadership at the centre of the defence. With Eric Bailly set to be his new partner, he’ll play a crucial role in helping the Ivorian adjust to the pace of the English game. Despite his newfound form, the United defence still looked clueless at times, especially from set pieces. Smalling has to keep improving and will play a major role if United are to lift the title come May.