When asked for the greatest Premier League defender of all time, almost every football fan will say Titus Bramble. Wait, what?
There has been such hype surrounding Virgil van Dijk this season that supporters have looked to see if the Dutchman really deserves his place amongst Premier League greats.
Few fans will dispute that the Liverpool man deserved the PFA Player of the Year award, but many will argue that comparisons to defenders like Nemanja Vidic are somewhat premature.
It's a fair comment and one that seems to have been corroborated by the Premier League's website, which allows fans to compare statistics across the competition's history.
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Van Dijk vs Vidic
As a result, it's emerged that Van Dijk just doesn't match-up to a peak Vidic nor Vincent Kompany when it comes to the data alone.
Admittedly, the numbers aren't everything and Whoscored.com average match ratings would even have you believe that 2014-15 Phil Jones was better than the current Liverpool man.
It certainly seems unlikely, but perhaps it isn't such an anomaly when we refer back to Bramble, who produced some fascinating data during the 2008-09 campaign.
Compared to Titus Bramble?
The then Wigan defender accumulated 32 blocks, 75 interceptions, 86 tackles, 507 clearances, 63 tackles won and 297 headed clearances throughout that season.
That's all well and good, but what does actually mean? Well, every single one of those statistics trump both Vidic and Van Dijk in the 2008-09 and 2018-19 seasons respectively.
It's a pretty eye-opening revelation and the full statistic analysis can be seen down below:
Well, it goes to show that statistics aren't everything.
Of course, it doesn't mean Bramble should suddenly be heralded as the Premier League's greatest, but it's certainly fascinating that his numbers mix it with the best.
Bramble definitely has the advantage of having to do far more defending during that season, although an 11th place finish for the Latics was an impressive outcome.
It also fails to factor in that Bramble conceded far more goals in 2008-09, with both Edwin van der Sar and Alisson Becker winning the Golden Glove with Vidic and Van Dijk in front of them.
On individual output alone, though, perhaps they all needed a little bit of Bramble in their defensive line.
Either that or you better ask the bizarre question: would Vidic or Van Dijk be able to do it over 12 months at the DW Stadium?
Who do you think is the greatest Premier League defender ever? Have your say in the comments section below.News Now - Sport News