Despite not getting the credit it deserves, tacklers in football is one of the most exciting traits of the sport, mainly because a well-time tackle can be a very exciting moment and it shows the player’s commitment to make a difference during a game, which is something worth taking into account. And recently we got a study of the best tacklers in the English Premier League, so we’re going to talk about the best players in that particular regard.
The famous stats website known as WhoScored recently shared a graphic about the best tacklers in the English Premier League, which is a very interesting topic to discuss as it shows the players’ defensive awareness and how willing they are to engage on a physical level while actually doing right. And there are some very interesting conclusions to draw from that.
The graphic showcases both timing of the tackles and the success of said tackles. And in this particular situation, Manchester United’s right-back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, is on top of both stats and there is not even a context about it–the man is the best tackler in the English Premier League by far, which is something that makes a lot of sense since Wan-Bissaka’s game is all about recovering the ball through his tackles.
Another great is Burnley’s center-back, the highly regarded James Tarkowski, who has a very similar success in terms of tackles executed, although his timing percentage is not as high as the Manchester United player. Brighton’s Solly March is another high point, not so much about a really good position in the graphic but rather about how balanced it is due to the fact that the Seagulls player is also quite good at bombing forward in Graham Potter’s team.
Perhaps one of the most telling in the graphic is Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara, whose lack of defensive solidity has become a bit of an issue in the Premier League. Thiago provides a lot of positive things for the Reds in terms of creativity and distribution, but it is also worth pointing out that his tackling has been lackluster to say the least and it is clearly shown in this graphic, especially considering the eye test where he has misplaced tackles quite clearly.
A lot of people claim that stats can’t be that effective when it comes to analyzing football, but I personally think that a combination of this plus the eye test is a much more complete way of understanding what works and what doesn’t in the game. This is why there are more and more football clubs trying to apply analytics: because it gives them a bit of an edge over their rivals and we’re going to see a lot more of that in the coming years.