Football, more than ever before, is a game of fine margins. Managers and their teams work to improve every single aspect of their players’ performance. The ADW (aerial duels won) is a vital statistic for clubs looking to win against tough, competitive opposition.
Let’s see which players have won the most aerial duels across Europe’s top leagues during the 2020/21 season.
Raul Garcia (Athletic Bilbao)
The 34-year-old attacking midfielder has won more aerial duels than any other player active in any of Europe’s top competitions. He’s won, on average, eight such duels per game. It’s an interesting stat, especially considering Garcia’s relatively limited passing range. He averages 51% passing accuracy, yet has been Bilbao’s best player on several occasions this campaign.
David Garcia (Osasuna)
David Garcia is a player that knows how to make good use of his height and athleticism. The defender has won 7 aerial duels per game on average. His dependable work at the back, complete with great tackles, evens out performances that, like Garcia, include little technical flourishes. In the air, however, he is very hard to beat.
Steve Mounie (Brest)
Brest knew they would struggle in Ligue 1 from the get-go. With this in mind, the team has employed a brave, highly physical style. It’s worked so far, with Brest stuck comfortably in mid place. Steve Mounie best exemplifies his team’s strategy. An old-fashion forward, Mounie is an expert at winning the ball in the air and maneuvering through opposition defenders. He’s scored twice and provided two assists, making him one of the best transfer investments of any French club this summer.
Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United)
Sheffield United was last season’s surprise package in the Premier League. Chris Wilder‘s tactics were a mixture of resiliency and inventiveness. McBurnie is an ambassador for this style. This season, he’s won more aerial duels than any other player in the EPL. With that being said, this is only a small consolation for the Blades who’ve failed to win a single name this season and sit bottom of the league.