With another pandemic-ridden season coming to an end, it is time to look at the best performing teams in the PL. Various aspects contribute to a team’s success in the league, but none is more important than a solid defense. In this article, we will look at five teams with the best defensive record in PL 20/21.
#5 Manchester United – 44 goals conceded
Manchester United’s quality in attack is well documented but they have downgraded from the previous season when it comes to conceding goals. At the beginning of the season, United conceded too many for their own liking. After a 6-1 humiliation at Old Trafford, United’s defence slowly became solid with captain Maguire leading from the front.
The importance of Maguire was clearly visible during the clash against Liverpool in May as United conceded four goals. Liverpool could have easily scored more and it is vital for United to find a suitable partner for Maguire this summer.
#4 Liverpool – 42 goals conceded
Liverpool deserves a lot of credit for conceding less than United despite losing their first choice defenders early in the season. Van Dijk, Matip and Gomez suffered long-term injuries but Phillips and Rhys Williams rose to the occasion and performed above expectations.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has received a lot of flak for his defending but has done decently after being dropped from England’s squad for qualifiers. Fabinho too needs appreciation for filling in at centre-back without committing any costly errors. Ozan Kabak’s full potential is yet to be seen and if Van Dijk and Gomez return, he might be loaned out to another PL club.
#3 Arsenal – 39 goals conceded
Arsenal’s defensive record in PL 20/21 is a huge improvement and their best performance since 2015/16 when they conceded 36 goals. Gabriel has been inconsistent but he is clearly an upgrade over Mustafi and Sokratis. The fit-again Rob Holding has also played to his potential and is expected to be a sure starter next season.
Kieran Tierney is Arsenal’s best player this season without a doubt. His gifted crossing ability, pace, energy and versatility has been key to Arsenal. For the next season, Arsenal needs an experienced right-back with Hector Bellerin poised to leave the club.
#2 Chelsea – 36 goals conceded
After Kepa’s disastrous 19/20 season, Chelsea badly needed a keeper to re-vitalize their defence. Edouard Mendy’s arrival has changed everything and has contributed to Chelsea’s superb defensive record in PL 20/21. Thiago Silva’s experience has also helped but credit must be given to Zouma, Rudiger and Christensen. The trio have improved appreciably and are the future of Chelsea’s defence.
Captain Cezar Azpilicueta has been solid but it might be time for him to take a backseat and allow the younger ones to dominate. Reece James’ crossing and ability to track back has earned him a lot of supporters, including the England manager Southgate.
#1 Manchester City – 32 goals conceded
After a 5-2 drubbing at the hands of Leicester, it looked like Manchester City were preparing for another season filled with defensive issues. But the Portuguese Ruben Dias almost single-handedly changed City’s fortunes with his presence at the back. An old school defender who will put his body on the line for his team, Dias is also touted to be a future captain for the club.
Stones’ renaissance is also a talking point while Ederson has won the golden glove for the second season running. Joao Cancelo’s attacking qualities have never been questioned but he has improved immensely as a defender under Guardiola.