Taking into consideration the intricacies of the modern game, what’s required from a center-back at top level football environments can be summarized in the following:
For this purpose, we have selected the following metrics & kpis to benchmark the performance of center-backs in the Premier League
Integrated kpi incorporating all advanced metrics relevant to Creative Passing productivity (successful Tunnel Passing per 90', successful Long Passing per 90', successful Promote Possession Passing per 90' etc)
Integrated kpi incorporating all advanced metrics relevant to Defending efficiency (Defending Contests success % per 90', 1vs1 success % per 90' etc)
Advanced metric relevant to Aerial efficiency (Aerial Contests success % per 90')
As discussed in our previous post, teams looking to dominate possession applying a build-up from the back approach more often than not are the ones featuring in the highest league positions.
Consequently, among the top-10 players with the highest CRTP Productivity ratings, most of them are part of teams who are actually in the top-10 league positions.
Only exception is Brighton, whose -surprisingly- both center backs (Adam Webster/Lewis Dunk) are both in the top-10 center-backs with the highest CRTP Productivity ratings.
Toby Alderweireld along with Virgil van Dijk lead the rankings table, with David Luiz and Fernandinho in close distance. Surprise package Wolves’ center-backs Romain Saiss & Conor Coady have made it in the top-10 positions, along with Kurt Zouma (Chelsea) and Virgil van Dijk’s Liverpool counterpart Joe Gomez.
As we have examined in our previous post focusing on Virgil van Dijk’s performance, the Dutch-man is topping the ranks in the Defensive Efficiency metric. Up-close is Kortney Hause (Aston Villa) and Willy Boly (Wolves), Adam Webster (Brighton), Harry Maguire (Man Utd), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Shane Duffy (Brighton), Angelo Ogbonna & Fabian Balbuena (West Ham), with Joe Gomez (Liverpool) in the 10th position in this category too.
Besides the obvious domination of Virgil van Dijk, Brighton features two center-backs in this category too (Adam Webster & Shane Duffy), with West Ham also appearing very strong in the specific domain.
Kortney Hause (Aston Villa) is on top of the AER Efficiency table, with Shane Duffy (Brighton) and Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) in close proximity.
Kourt Zouma (Chelsea), Issa Diop (West Ham), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea) and Adam Webster (Brighton) make up for the rest of the top-10 positions.
A look at the cumulative rankings table offers some real insights about the top Premier League center-backs in the areas of focus. Virgil van Dijk is topping the ranks, with Adam Webster in second place. Joe Gomez and Kurt Zouma in close proximity on third and fourth position respectively, with Harry Maguire on fifth.
Wolves’ Connor Coady and Romain Saiss – both with 265 cumulative score- on position six & seven, with Kortney Hause, Jonathan Evans and Antonio Rudiger in the top-10.