Edit: Final 2011/12 Premier League Most Frequent Tacklers list
Here is a list of the top 10 players to have won the most tackles in the Premier League so far this season.
10. Joe Allen (Swansea City) – 60 tackles won
The young Welsh central midfielder has shown his combative nature in his debut Premier League season, winning 60 of his 81 attempted tackles, standing at 5’6”. Joe Allen was sent off in a 4-2 defeat at Blackburn earlier this season, but otherwise remains a clean player, conceding just 21 free kicks so far this season.
Swansea have been praised for their attractive passing style this season, and Joe Allen managed to escape criticism during their recent 3-1 defeat at Spurs, where the midfielder completed 57 of 59 pass attempts during the game, but failed to make a single forward pass attempt. No surprise he didn’t make it on the recent top creators list then.
9. Maynor Figueroa (Wigan Athletic) – 61 tackles won
As part of a Wigan Athletic side who do a lot of defending, left full back Maynor Figueroa leads the club in both tackle attempts and tackles won so far this season. The Honduran has already won more tackles this season that he did throughout last season in which he played every match for the Latics.
Maynor Figueroa’s busiest game this season came in a 5-0 loss at Old Trafford on boxing day. The full back won all 8 of his tackle attempts that day and 86% of his ground duels in a failed attempt to help out the rest of his under performing team mates.
8. Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) – 61 tackles won
Tottenham’s right full back who fought off competition from both Vedran Corluka and Alan Hutton to become a starter this season at White Hart Lane to recently being capped by England. Now hoping for a place on the flight to Poland/Ukraine in the summer, Kyle Walker has impressed since breaking into the first team, continuing on from his impressive performances for both Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa last season.
Kyle Walker has won 84% of his tackle attempts in the Premier League this season – the highest percentage amongst the top 10. Walker also has a 100% conversion rate with his shots on target this season. Or should I say, shot. His winner versus Arsenal earlier in the season is the only shot the young Englishman has got on target to date.
7. Kyle Naughton (Norwich City) – 62 tackles won
This list consists of full backs and central midfielders, and Norwich City’s Kyle Naughton has won the most tackles in the Premier League as a full back so far this season. Leading the way with 62, Naughton has done his best to protect what has been a leaky Norwich defence since joining on loan from Tottenham at the start of the season.
Kyle Naughton has a busy game up against Junior Hoilett during a 3-3 draw with Blackburn Rovers at the end of 2011, winning 6 of 8 tackles – both personal bests this season. Hoilett however did open the scoring in that game on the stroke of half time with a 20-yard strike.
6. Youssuf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion) – 63 tackles won
West Brom’s holding midfielder Youssuf Mulumbu is a bit of a cult hero down at the Hawthorns. A battling midfielder, only 5 players have made more tackles and only 4 players have made more interceptions than Congolese player.
One of the cheapest signings of modern time, Youssuf Mulumbu cost then-West Brom manager Tony Mowbray less than £200,000 to sign from Paris Saint-Germain in the 2009 winter transfer window. Last season he scored a late winner of rivals Aston Villa.
5. Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United) – 68 tackles won
Despite winning Ligue 1 with Lille last season, Yohan Cabaye turned up at Newcastle as a relatively unknown midfielder amongst the British media when he moved in the summer. Since then, Cabaye has become popular with both Newcastle fans and several Premier League viewers alike.
Only Scott Parker has attempted more tackles than Yohan Cabaye’s 98 to date. The midfielder also has an eye for goal, as shown with his long range free kick during Newcastle’s 3-0 thrashing of Manchester United back in January. Along with several other French speaking debutants at Newcastle, Cabaye is a big part of the overachieving Magpies this season.
4. Alejandro Faurlin (Queens Park Rangers) – 68 tackles won
A big part of Queens Park Rangers promotion campaign last season, Alejandro Faurlin was the player involved in a lot of controversy at the end of last season regarding his transfer to the London side. What turned out to be nothing certainly put the Argentine’s name amongst Premier League fans. This season, with excellent and consistent performances, Faurlin has only enhanced his reputation in English football.
Having torn his anterior cruciate ligament in a FA Cup third round tie with Milton Keynes Dons in early January, Alejandro Faurlin has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Yet, he still remains at number 4 in our tackling list at the start of July. This somewhat shows his effort and willingness to tackle during games alone.
3. Marouane Fellaini (Everton) – 70 tackles won
Only two players have won more tackles than Everton’s fuzzy-haired central midfielder, Marouane Fellaini this season. And only a handful have gone into more ground duels than the Belgian midfielder this season too. Although only Grant Holt has committed more fouls.
Marouane Fellaini is often unfairly penalised by referees for innocuous challenges and clumsiness, but the energetic Everton record transfer signing is both entertaining and a solid act in the middle of the part for the Merseyside club. Whether he’s taking possession off of the opposition or slowing play down by committing fouls, there aren’t too many players who get past Fellaini easily. 24 times he’s been dribbled past this season to be precise. In comparison, Alex Song has been beaten 41 times, Scott Parker 34 times, and Youssuf Mulumbu 29 times.
2. Scott Parker (Tottenham Hotspur) – 72 tackles won
Leading the Premier League with 102 tackle attempts, Scott Parker is second to only one when it comes to tackles won so far this season. His battling performances have been praised for two seasons now, as he consistently throws himself into tackles on the pitch, often resulting in him lying down in pain or taking a breather towards the end of a game.
Recently captaining the England side, Scott Parker has only lost 4 Premier League matches in a Tottenham shirt. That’s a significant contrast since captaining the West Ham side during last season’s relegation.
1. Moussa Dembele (Fulham) – 73 tackles won
Fulham central midfielder Moussa Dembele currently leads the Premier League with 73 tackles won after 31 games. His 79% tackle success is 8% higher than Scott Parker’s to date. The Belgian international is on his own in the ground duel battles, winning 225; 45 more than the next closest competitor.
Transfer rumours to a bigger club do circulate from time-to-time, and with performances such as Moussa Dembele has this season, including his cheeky back flick to setup Pavel Pogrebnyak’s winner at Queens Park Rangers in February. Dembele scored 10 goals during AZ’s Eredivisie title-winning season of 2008/09, but has just 1 Premier League goal in 2011/12. That came in a 2-0 victory at Wigan in October.