Nemanja Vidic vs Virgil van Dijk: Settling the debate with Premier League statistics

  • Kobe Tong
Manchester United's Serbian defender Nem

Nemanja Vidic vs Virgil van Dijk has unexpectedly become one of the biggest talking points for football fans in lockdown.

With the Premier League absent from our screens until June 1 at the very earliest, supporters have been forced to entertain themselves with throwback content and social media discussions.

As far as the latter is concerned, there’s arguably never more fireworks than when Manchester United and Liverpool fans are the two contingents at either side of an argument.

The Old Trafford faithful will defend Vidic’s achievements until they’re blue in the face, referencing his superior trophy cabinet and record of two Premier League Player of the Year awards.

However, you can guarantee that Kopites will respond with videos of Fernando Torres running him ragged or the Serbian picking up a red card that it would be hard to imagine Van Dijk receiving.

Vidic vs Van Dijk debate rages on

They’ll also be sure to counterattack the trophy argument with Van Dijk’s pending Premier League title and Champions League crown as well as his 2018/19 record of never being dribbled past.

It’s a never-ending back and forth that has resulted in countless Twitter threads, damning montages, statistical analyses, votes and just about every debate-settling method you could imagine.

For the record, our own GIVEMESPORT poll ended with 54% of supporters saying that’d rather have a prime Vidic than Van Dijk, but that’s hardly stopped the tete-a-tete on social media.

Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League

Comparing their prime statistics

So, we’re almost at an ends with how to possibly answer the question, meaning we’re having to resort to the most objective method possible: Premier League statistics.

Anybody who has ever spent time procrastinating on the website of England’s top division will know that you can compare players by just about every stat since Opta started recording them.

We feel pretty confident in selecting 2018/19 as Van Dijk’s prime and 2008/09 for Vidic, seeing as United racked up a record 14 consecutive clean sheets, so we keyed them into the database.

We’ll let the statistics speak for themselves, so check them out down below:


Is that the nail in the coffin for Van Dijk?

In truth, we’re not convinced that Van Dijk should be elevated that highly in the Vidic debate, both in terms of their overall careers and their respective best seasons so far.

The stats above show that Vidic has the upper hand in the latter department and Van Dijk will need to win a serious amount of trophies in the coming seasons to compete in the former.

There is a real argument that Vidic was more inconsistent and was certainly susceptible to losing his head easier, but there are just too many objective indicators that he outdoes Van Dijk. 

Liverpool FC v West Ham United - Premier League

But as the many, many means of comparison in recent months have shown, there’s no definitive way of ever settling the debate and we’ll just have to enjoy the fans slugging it out in the mean time.

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