Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool are the three strongest teams in the Premier League.
While Pep Guardiola’s men might seem nailed on to conquer England for the fourth in just five seasons now, there’s no denying who the two biggest threats to their throne truly are.
Man City vs Liverpool vs Chelsea
In fact, when you try and name the best Premier League players in each position, it’s uncanny how many times that leaves you with a three-horse race between Chelsea, Liverpool and City stars.
Here at GIVEMESPORT, it’s something that we’ve taken a close look at this season when the Joao Cancelo vs Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Reece James debate was raging more than ever.
And while that particular conversation might have fizzled out in recent weeks, we’re inclined to think that there’s an almost-identical situation unfolding between the three teams’ finest centre-backs.
Dias vs Van Dijk vs Rudiger
We say that because there’s good reason to think that Ruben Dias, Virgil van Dijk and Antonio Rudiger make up the three best centre-halves in the Premier League right now.
The likes of Thiago Silva, Aymeric Laporte and Raphael Varane might have something to say about that, but we think that it’s a pretty uncontroversial statement to make based on this season alone.
Therefore, it’s not a giant leap to suggest that working out the winner of the Van Dijk vs Rudiger vs Dias debate so far this season would crown the best centre-back in the Premier League.
And in the interest of consistency, we’re attempting to settle the conversation by once again calling upon Squawka’s comparison matrix to see who has produced the best league statistics in 2021/22.
Using the ‘per 90 minutes’ setting to ensure that nobody is unfairly rewarded for extra minutes, we ran the test across 35 data-sets – supplied by Opta – that you can peruse at your leisure below:
- Games Played
- Ball Recoveries
- Possession Lost
- Shots On Target
- Chances Created
- Passes Attempted
- Pass Accuracy %
- Long Passes Attempted
- Successful Long Passes
- Long Pass Accuracy %
- Crosses Attempted
- Successful Crosses & Corners
- Crossing Accuracy %
- Successful Crosses from Open Play
- Through Balls Attempted
- Duels Contested
- Tackles Made
- Fouls Conceded from Attempted Tackles
- Take-ons Completed
- Take-on Success %
- Fouls Won
- Fouls Conceded
- Aerial Duels Contested
- Aerial Duels Won
- Aerial Duel Success %
- Ground Duels Contested
- Ground Duels Won
- Ground Duel Success %
- Clean sheets
Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
Who comes out on top?
Fair to say that’s a pretty comprehensive overview of their games, right? So, well, once we pulled the trigger on the test, we tallied up how many data-sets that each centre-back came top of.
There were plenty of draws and close calls throughout the number crunching, but there was an eventual winner, so be sure to check out how the Van Dijk vs Rudiger vs Dias test ended below:
1. Antonio Rudiger – 13
2. Virgil van Dijk – 12.5
3. Ruben Dias – 9.5
Rudiger’s rise to power
So, there you have it, the data suggests that Rudiger is the best centre-back in the Premier League right now as he edges out Van Dijk by a nose hair and blows Dias completely out of the water.
On the back of his match-winning performance at Tottenham Hotspur, Rudiger is becoming more and more widely acknowledged as one of the best centre-backs in the sport – and rightfully so.
The simple fact of the matter is that Chelsea need to secure a contract extension for the Champions League winner as soon as possible because he’s been simply unstoppable under Thomas Tuchel.
Besides, when you consider just how incredible Van Dijk and Dias have been in recent years, you know you’re doing something right when you’re coming out on top against those two.