Many years have passed since the days of Vinnie Jones and Stuart Pearce – Premier League players who were renowned for their love of tough tackles.
The game has evolved and defenders who are as comfortable with the ball at their feet are just as valuable in the modern era.
But tackling is still a key component of Premier League football and some players have done it more so than the rest this season.
The Premier League players with the most tackles this season:
Destiny Udogie – Tottenham (25)
Ange Postecoglou’s start to life as Spurs boss has been sensational. The Australian has won the Premier League’s Manager of the Month in each of his first two months in the job, with Tottenham top of the table.
One of the players who has thrived under his tutelage is Destiny Udogie. Full-backs are key to Postecoglou’s system and Udogie has been a revelation. The newly-capped Italy international has recorded 25 tackles in the Premier League this term.
At just 20-years-old, he also has the most defensive actions per 90 in the league; his potential is frightening.
Conor Gallagher – Chelsea (25)
It’s been an uncertain 12 months for Chelsea and Conor Gallagher is one of many players at the club whose future seemed unclear in this period.
The England international was nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2022 after an excellent loan spell at Crystal Palace and was expected to be given a key role in the Blues’ first team.
Things didn’t quite go to plan last season, but the 23-year-old is thriving under Mauricio Pochettino this time around.
Gallagher’s made the most tackles in the Chelsea squad so far this campaign and his 1.90 blocks per 90 ranks him in the 95th percentile for midfielders across the ‘big five’ European leagues.
No player has won possession in the final third more times than Conor Gallagher in the Premier League this season (13). 🥵 pic.twitter.com/k6MGJBv92p
— Squawka (@Squawka) October 11, 2023
It seems that the midfielder is finally realising his dream of becoming a star at Stamford Bridge.
Lucas Paqueta – West Ham (25)
West Ham have been another surprise package in the Premier League this season. David Moyes’ side have earned 14 points from their opening eight games and their attack has been a key part of that.
After an eventful summer, in which he was on the verge of a move to champions Manchester City before betting allegations arose, Lucas Paqueta has done his talking on the pitch with some stellar displays.
Winning the ball back has been vital to West Ham’s counter-attacking plan and Paqueta has done plenty of that. His 3.12 tackles per 90 minutes, which put him in the 99th percentile of attacking midfielders/wingers across Europe, are concrete evidence of this.
Yves Bissouma – Tottenham (26)
Like Udogie, Yves Bissouma has been a star for Spurs this season.
The Mali international has started every league game so far. Those eight starts are just two less than he made in his entire debut year in North London – a telling reflection of his progression under Postecoglou.
Bissouma has made 26 tackles in the Premier League this term, which has been integral to Postecoglou’s strong start.
Breaking up play and finding teammates 💪
Brought to you by Yves Bissouma 🎬 pic.twitter.com/cUOUQhnXyu
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 21, 2023
Joao Palhinha – Fulham (28)
Only one Premier League player has made more tackles this season than Fulham’s Joao Palhinha.
The Portugal international made an instant impact last year at Craven Cottage, helping Marco Silva’s side achieve a 10th place finish on their return to the top flight.
While a deadline day move to Bayern Munich fell through at the final stage, Palhinha has certainly still been giving his all for the Cottagers.
Marvelous Nakamba – Luton (36)
Teams at the lower end of the table usually have more defending to do and that has been exactly the case for Premier League newcomers Luton Town in 2023/24.
The Hatters have accumulated four points from the opening eight fixtures, which sees them a place above the relegation zone.
💪 Marvelous Nakamba has made more tackles and interceptions combined (43) than any other player in the Premier League this season pic.twitter.com/0b2ogN0nKB
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 9, 2023
One reason for that is the industrious midfielders in their engine room. Former Aston Villa man Marvelous Nakamba leads the rankings for the most tackles in the league by eight tackles.
The Zimbabwe international is averaging 4.5 tackles every game this season. Rob Edwards will be hoping that the 29-year-old maintains that rate if Luton are to have any chance at survival.