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Top 20 best 1v1 Defenders in the Premier League

Who are the best 1v1 defenders this season? Using football analytics BetVictor has uncovered the defenders who have posed opposition attackers the greatest challenge and proved themselves to be the most difficult players to get past.

To rank players, they looked at the statistical performance of every Premier League defender over three key areas which indicate how dominant they are in defensive 1v1 situations.

Key Findings:

  • Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk is the top-performing 1v1 defender in the league. No player has a superior rate per 90 mins for the number of times dribbled past this season.
  • Newcastle United’s Fabian Schär has ranked in second place, matching Virgil van Dijk for a percentage of dribblers tackled with 73.30% – the joint-highest percentage achieved.
  • Crystal Palace’s Tyrick Mitchell and Marc Guéhi have proved excellent in 1v1 situations, with Marc Guéhi having the second joint-best rate for the number of times dribbled past (0.17) in the league.
  • Brighton Player of the Season Marc Cucurella has been a staple for his side in both attack and defence, ranking 18th in the league for his 1v1 defensive output.
  • Wolves defenders Max Kilman and Rayan Aït Nouri made the top 20 players. Additionally, Jonny Castro and Romain Saïss ranked inside the top 30 making Wolves the best-represented team inside the top 30 players.
  • Despite conceding the most goals Norwich can take some solace from the 1v1 performance of their full-backs, with Dimitris Giannoulis and Max Aarons ranking 5th and 12th

Top 20 best 1v1 Defenders in the Premier League right now

Best 1v1 defenders Top 20 best 1v1 Defenders in the Premier League

The table above looks at the top 20 players for 1v1 defending based on their statistical output over the course of the season. The statistics assessed all focus on how well a player has performed against opposition dribblers. Players were ranked by their output across the three metrics using a weighted scoring model as used in football recruitment.

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  • Performance data were collected for the 2021/22 Premier League season from FBref.
  • Only players with more than 900 league minutes played were analysed to improve data accuracy.
  • A number of dribblers tackled was possession adjusted to help minimise distortion towards players who face a larger number of dribblers.
  • Each defender was analysed across three statistics and given a standardised score (Z-score) per statistic.
  • A total standardised score was then calculated for each player using a weighted scoring model. Weighting split: PAdj No. of dribblers tackled (20%), % of dribblers tackled (40%), and No. of times dribbled past (40%).

Read: Top 10 defenders with the most assists in Premier League history


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Rahul Roy
Rahul Roy
I am a computer guy by profession and a sports fanatic by choice.



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