Who is the Best Defender In the EPL? 

The Premier League has been home to some of football’s best defenders over the years. Two years ago, Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk seemed to be the undisputed best defender in the world. However, due to a nasty injury he suffered in 2020 and the emergence of competitors, there is now a legitimate debate worth having. 

So far, there have been three standout defenders in the premier league. Players who have shown a very high level of consistency over the past two seasons. Chelsea defender, Thiago Silva. Manchester City defender Ruben Dias and the aforementioned Virgil Van Dijk of Liverpool.  so who is the best defender in the EPL?

Thiago Silva (Chelsea)

At 37 years of age, Thiago Silva continues to defy expectations. Terrific at reading the game and exceptional at timing his tackles to perfection. It speaks volumes that when he was signed from PSG at 35, there were few negative remarks. His ability to play out of the back is suited perfectly to Thomas Tuchel’s system. 

Thiago Silva: 'This is the most important moment of my career' - We Ain't  Got No History

Playing in the middle of a back three, he was part of a sturdy backline that saw Chelsea go all the way to the UEFA Champions League final. He was exceptional in the final itself, constantly offering a calming presence under sustained pressure. His ability to read plays excellently means he is hardly ever caught out of position.

He has all the qualities you expect from an elite-level Central defender. Tackling, interceptions, high-level awareness, and positional skills remind you of Italian defenders from past decades. Due to his well-advanced age, he can occasionally show glimpses of a lack of pace but he plays in a system that makes up for that particular weakness. Overall, an exceptional defender who will retire as one of the best ever. 

Ruben Dias (Manchester City) 

The renaissance of Manchester City coincided with his arrival last season. After injuries to key members of the Man City title-winning team in 2019, Pep Guardiola’s men completely fell apart the following season. After a disappointing start to the season, Ruben Dias arrived from Benfica for a reported €65M. His arrival was a huge boost to Manchester City. Reminiscent of Vincent Kompany, Dias was pivotal as City went on to recapture the Premier League title.

Manchester City defender Ruben Dias has been named Premier League Player of  the Year - calciomercato.co.uk

His no-nonsense, old-school dominant style of defending blends perfectly with the aggressive high line Pep adopts. His bravery and impeccable timing have been key to the Citizens’ dominant defensive performances this season. Unlucky to miss out on the footballer of the year award last season but he is now rightfully recognized as one of the best. A true Leader. 

Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)

It is impossible to talk about Liverpool’s recent success under Jurgen Klopp without mentioning Virgil Van Dijk. Liverpool signed him in January 2018 for £75M. While his transfer fee raised a lot of eyebrows, his impact was instant. After just a few months nobody was talking about his price tag anymore as he was playing in the UCL Final against Real Madrid.  

Playing Style

A tall and fast defender who always has things under control. He brings calmness to any defense and his style fits Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool perfectly. He is one of the best ball-playing defenders in the World despite his height.

Van Dijk is a very tough defender to play against as he reads the ball well, and is always very firm and careful with his tackles. He hardly gives away fouls and that shows how smoothly he operates as a center back in Liverpool’s system.

Game of Thrones star slams 'embarrassing' Virgil van Dijk after Liverpool  trophy celebration - Mirror Online

Van Dijk became the first defender to win the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. The Dutchman was the first EPL Player to win the award. Virgil Van Dijk was also a staggering 11 points away from beating Lionel Messi to the 2019 Ballon D’Or award. 

So in your opinion, Virgil Van Dijk, Ruben Dias or Thiago Silva – Who do you think is the best defender in the EPL ?