Pep Guardiola, undoubtedly one of the best and most innovative coaches of his generation, once said he does not coach his players the art of tackling, whilst former Liverpool star Xabi Alonso stated he does not believe ‘tackling to be a quality’.
Christ, even Paulo Maldini, one of world football’s all-time great defenders says he had made a mistake if he was forced to tackle, so someone should tell this lot they’re doing the game all wrong.
We’re joking, of course, and if like us you believe a good old-fashioned tackle to be a fundamental part of the beautiful game, then these ball-winning machines are right up your street.
Here are the top tacklers in the Premier League so far this season…
Declan Rice – West Ham – 30 tackles
The West Ham youngster has emerged as one of the most promising talents in the Premier League, establishing himself in Gareth Southgate’s England squad after his switch of allegiance from the Republic of Ireland.
His impressive performances have seen him linked with a move to some of the division’s biggest sides, and the statistics show just why he is so highly-rated in the holding midfield role. The 20-year-old has been prolific in his ball-winning during West Ham’s impressive start to the new campaign, making 30 tackles in his eight appearances so far.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Manchester United – 31 tackles
Nicknamed ‘The Spider’ by teammates due to the range of his long legs as he dives into challenges, the full-backs prolific tackling ability has won him admirers throughout the Premier League.
Having made his name at Crystal Palace, Wan-Bissaka’s tackling and difficulty to beat one-against-one saw him join Manchester United in a £50m deal this summer, where he has continued to make challenges at an impressive rate.
The 21-year-old has made 31 tackles in just six appearances, a rate of more than five per game, establishing himself as a fixture at right-back and earning a first call-up to the senior England team.
Oriol Romeu – Southampton – 33 tackles
The Southampton midfielder continues to act as an enforcer down on the South Coast, marshalling in front of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s defensive set-up and breaking down play.
Romeu has started in each of the club’s opening eight fixtures of the new season, making 33 tackles in the process.
Many have tipped Southampton for a season of struggle and the club have won just twice so far, and they will need Romeu to continue to shut-down opposition attacks as regularly as possible if they’re to avoid the drop.
Wilfried Ndidi – Leicester – 35 tackles
The most prolific tackler in each of the past two seasons, speak to any Leicester fan and they will tell you that the Nigerian international is amongst the finest holding midfield players in the division.
Whilst the likes of N’golo Kante and Fabinho may grab more headlines, Ndidi’s statistical numbers are incomparable when it comes to breaking up the play.
The 22-year-old is strong and athletic, whilst his reading of the game allows him to provide a platform for Leicester’s exciting attacking talents to flourish.
Bigger clubs have been linked, though the Foxes will do their utmost to retain him.
Ricardo Pereira – Leicester – 35 tackles
Alongside Leicester teammate Ndidi at the top of the charts is flying full-back Pereira, who has been one of the stand-out players in the early weeks of the new season.
The Portuguese international is quickly being recognised amongst the best right-backs in the Premier League and has played a key role in the impressive early-season form of Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Having scored twice already his attacking threat has been well documented in recent weeks, though his joint-leading 35 tackles prove he is equally adept defensively.