Who has been the Premier League's best defender so far this season?
Last Updated: 15/01/16 2:38pm
Who has been the Premier League's top-performing defender in 2015/16? We check the stats to see who has been the best this season.
Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld, Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny and Manchester United's Chris Smalling have attracted plenty of praise.
But what about West Ham centre-back Winston Reid, Leicester captain Wes Morgan or Stoke's Erik Pieters?
Here, we examine a wide range of statistics from our friends at Opta - and there are some interesting names in the mix…
|Patrick van Aanholt||Sunderland||55|
The tackling criteria is dominated by full-backs and the defender who has made the most in the Premier League this season is Stoke's Pieters. His total of 80 have come at an unrivalled rate of 3.8 per game.
In terms of tackle success, however, Bournemouth's Adam Smith ranks as the most efficient among defenders to have made at least 30. The 24-year-old has won 39 of the 42 he has attempted, giving him an impressive success rate of 92.86 per cent.
Tackle success (min 30 tackles)
|Leandro Bacuna||Aston Villa||90.00%|
|Joel Ward||Crystal Palace||84.85%|
|Jordan Amavi||Aston Villa||83.33%|
|Matteo Darmian||Man Utd||80.77%|
He is followed in second place by Watford's Allan Nyom (87.72 per cent of 57 tackles) and Tottenham's Kyle Walker (86.96 per cent of 46 tackles).
|Jonny Evans||West Brom||58|
Anticipating danger is another major part of a defenders' role, and it's Arsenal's Koscielny who comes out on top with 69 so far this season, giving him an average of 3.8 per game, the highest of any defender. The Frenchman is followed by that man Pieters, who is level with West Brom's Jonny Evans on 58.
|Ramiro Funes Mori||Everton||125|
|Virgil van Dijk||Southampton||118|
Clearances may not be a glamorous aspect of the game - and some prefer to pass their way out of trouble - but they are a defender's bread and butter nonetheless. Norwich's Sebastian Bassong has made the most (181) followed by Swansea's Ashley Williams (163) and Spurs' Alderweireld (159).
|Scott Dann||Crystal Palace||26|
|Damien Delaney||Crystal Palace||18|
A brave block can be as valuable as scoring a goal, and no defender has made more of them than Swansea's Williams (28) this season. Crystal Palace's Scott Dann has also got his body in the way on plenty of occasions (26), along with Fabricio Coloccini of Newcastle (26) and Leicester's Morgan (23).
|Bacary Sagna||Man City||190|
|Nicolas Otamendi||Man City||181|
Which defenders do strikers hate coming up against in a duel? Stoke's Pieters would be right up there. He never shies away from a challenge and has competed a whopping 244 duels this season.
Duel success (min 75 duels)
|Winston Reid||West Ham||75.00%|
|Micah Richards||Aston Villa||72.86%|
|Virgil van Dijk||Southampton||71.02%|
|Angelo Ogbonna||West Ham||68.87%|
But while Pieters has won well over half of his duels, his success rate falls below a number of other defenders. Of those to have been involved in at least 75 duels, West Ham's Reid sits at the top of the pile with a 75 per cent success rate from his total of 104. Aston Villa's Micah Richards is next on 72.86 per cent, followed by Arsenal's Per Mertesacker on 71.91 per cent.
Most successful passes
|Bacary Sagna||Man City||988|
|Chris Smalling||Man Utd||820|
Williams name crops up again with passes. The Wales international has completed 1070 in total, making him the only defender to have made it into four figures.
Passing accuracy (min 300 passes)
|Eliaquim Mangala||Man City||88.78%|
Williams also features in the top 10 for passing accuracy, but the most efficient defenders in possession have been Chelsea's John Terry and Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista, who have clocked an 89.89 per cent success rate. Mertesacker ranks third (89.74 per cent) and it's no surprise to see the cultured John Stones on the list too (89.52 per cent).
Most chances created
|Aleksandar Kolarov||Man City||32|
|Aaron Cresswell||West Ham||26|
|Bacary Sagna||Man City||20|
Unsurprisingly, full-backs dominate the field in chances created, with Liverpool's Alberto Moreno leading the way on 41 so far this season.
Four defenders have contributed three Premier League assists this season: Seamus Coleman, Glen Johnson, Aaron Cresswell and Bacary Sagna.
Most clear chances created
|Player||Team||Clear chances created|
|Alan Hutton||Aston Villa||3|
|Aaron Cresswell||West Ham||3|
|Joel Ward||Crystal Palace||3|
In terms of clear-cut chances, however, it's another Spaniard who tops the charts. Arsenal's Hector Bellerin has laid on seven such opportunities, with Stoke's Glen Johnson (five) and Southampton's Ryan Bertrand (four) next. Only two of Moreno's overall tally have been classified as clear-cut by Opta.
Most goals scored
|Scott Dann||Crystal Palace||3|
A goalscoring defender is a precious asset, and this season, Koscielny, Dann and Norwich's Russell Martin have netted three each.
Which defender do you think has been the best in the Premier League this season? Let us know by tweeting @SkyFootball