In any football team, having a strong tackler in midfield or defence is vital, especially in the blood-and-thunder world of the Premier League. Of course, some players are more gifted than others at the art of regaining possession, and the number of tackles a midfielder or defender makes is a crucial attribute when it comes to recruitment for many clubs.
With just a few weeks of the Premier League season left to play, let’s take a look at the five players who have made the most tackles in this campaign so far (information correct at the time of writing).
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg – 88
If there’s one thing José Mourinho got right in his time at Tottenham Hotspur, it was bringing Pierre-Emile Højbjerg into the fold from Southampton. The defensive midfielder has played in every match for Spurs this season, and his tough-tackling, no-nonsense style of play has been hugely effective in the middle of the park. Although it’s not been the best of campaigns for Tottenham by any stretch of the imagination, with not much backing in the Premier League odds, the performances of Højbjerg have certainly been a bright point.
Luke Ayling – 85
Leeds United’s Premier League odyssey under Marcelo Bielsa has been hugely enjoyable, for both their own supporters and the neutral, and Luke Ayling is a player who has improved greatly under the Argentine coach’s methods over the past few seasons. A strong and athletic right-back, Ayling is not afraid to get physical with opposing wingers and stick his leg in to regain possession. His tally of 85 tackles so far this season shows how well he has settled into life in the Premier League.
Yves Bissouma – 85
Although Brighton & Hove Albion have hardly pulled up any trees this season, and have been flirting with danger in terms of the Premier League relegation odds, the form of Yves Bissouma in midfield has continued to impress. The Malian is a hard-hitting central midfielder, adept at winning back possession and dictating play. 85 tackles from Bissouma demonstrate his importance to Brighton in terms of breaking up play, and he is a player often linked with a move to a bigger club.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 84
There are few better players in one-on-one situations than Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The Manchester United right-back is a master at keeping his eye on the ball and tackling hard when the time is just right. Although many feel that Wan-Bissaka’s attacking attributes let him down, you can’t argue with his defensive qualities, and his tally of 84 tackles made this season show that he is a man you can trust in any one-on-one duel.
Nélson Semedo – 75
The arrival of Nélson Semedo was seen as a good signing for Wolves last summer, particularly in light of the fact that they lost Matt Doherty to Tottenham Hotspur. Despite Nuno Espírito Santo’s side not having the best of seasons, Semedo has been solid at right-back, racking up an impressive 75 tackles so far. The former Barcelona man still has plenty left to give, and you’d expect him to be a big part of Wolves’ fortunes in the future.