Head for heights: Zouma, Djimsiti and Maguire top Euro ranking

November 17 – A ranking of the leading European club defenders by aerial defensive duels has been topped by Chelsea centre-back Kurt Zouma (pictured) who has won 26 aerial duels out of 27 (96.3%).

The CIES Football Observatory ranking gives the top 100 players from the 10 best European leagues. Only players having won at least 20 defensive aerial duels were included.

Atalanta’s Berat Djimsiti ranked second while Manchester United’s Harry Maguire was ranked third.

“Maguire lost only three defensive aerial duels out of 30,” say the report authors. “With 90% of defensive aerial duels won, he has the second best ratio in the Premier League ahead of Yerry Mina (Everton), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Jonny Evans (Leicester City) and Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa).”

Clubs looking to bolster their defence for the long term are also given pointers to who they should be recruiting.

“The five youngest footballers in the top 100 are all born in the year 2000: Loïc Badé (RC Lens), Matteo Lovato (Hellas Verona), Arthur Theate (Ostende), Sven Botman (LOSC Lille) and Tommy St. Jago (Utrecht),” says the CIES.

See the full ranking at https://football-observatory.com/IMG/sites/b5wp/2020/wp313/en/

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