The ordinary football fan’s vocabulary of football terms has grown immensely in recent years. A lot of this has to do not only watching football but with fantasy football or with games like a football manager. Nowadays, fans may use social media to demand that their team purchase a defensive midfielder, a ball-playing defender, or a pressing forward.
Today we take a look at the players responsible for breaking down opponents’ attacks. These are the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League in 2021.
Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City)
Wilfred Ndidi may just be the best player in the world to not be a household name. When Leicester City agreed to sell N’Golo Kante to Chelsea it seemed only natural that the Foxes would need to spend many years finding a replacement of a similar ilk. Instead, they found a solution much faster.
In the 2021/22 season, the Nigerian defensive midfielder has been one of Leicester’s best players. The same can be said of previous campaigns, although a series injury limited his playing time during the last campaign. Blessed with incredible tackling and positioning, Ndidi is, without a doubt, one of the best DMs in the EPL.
Declan Rice (West Ham United)
In the modern game, the defensive midfielder offers team stability. The DM is tasked with breaking down opposition attacks but also contributing quickly and safely to build-up play. English player, Declan Rice, embodies these qualities. Rice’s incredible knack for interceptions, his sound passing, and his gusto have made him a consistent starting player for West Ham United. In 2021, the player also played a vital role in Gareth Southgate’s England squad which managed to reach the final of the European Championship.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool is famous for its recruitment policy. Unlike many of its biggest rivals, the Reds built much of their trophy-winning squad using a bang for buck philosophy that has guided them to Premier League and Champions League victories. Finding the right defensive midfielder, however, has proved more of a challenge.
Brazilian midfielder, Fabinho, was, arguably, no overnight success. The former AS Monaco player has, however, grown recently into becoming one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League. His displays, particularly, in the 2021/22 season have shown Fabinho to be an indispensable component of Klopp’s side.
Yves Bissouma – Brighton and Hove Albion
Yves Bissouma epitomizes the idea of the defensive midfielder as a perpetually underrated footballer. Last season, there was likely no better player in his position in the entire Premier League. Frankly, the fact that Graham Potter‘s side has managed to retain his services for another year is extremely surprising. Bissouma is integral to many aspects of Brighton’s style of play. With him on the pitch, the team is extremely sound defensively (they recorded 12 clean sheets last season). Bissouma also contributes tremendously to build-up play and is the first player that Potter depends on then basis his often experimental strategies.
N’Golo Kante – Chelsea
Kante is not just one of the most beloved players in the world. Considering his trophy cabinet that includes a World Cup trophy, two Premier League winner medals, and the Champions League, the Frenchman may just be one of the greatest players in EPL history.
There’s little that can be said about Kante that hasn’t been discussed already. Humble, and tirelessly willing to work the pitch, seemingly no through pass has a chance with him on the watch. He makes others loo like stars. And, when called upon to be the team’s creative engine he can do that too. Besides all of this, he is one of the most likable and popular players in several generations.
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