Cesar Azpilicueta is the best defender in the Premier League

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In recent years, the game has evolved into a state where good defenders are far less valued than good defenders. It is a shame, but an inevitability.

The Premier League boasts some of the very best defenders in the world, and they are often overlooked.

But Nathan Mylum has decided to right this wrong, and pick out the five best defensive stars in the English top flight...

5. Gary Cahill, Chelsea

The first of three Chelsea players to make the list, as well as being the only Englishman. Cahill has stepped up a gear since the arrival of Jose Mourinho, to become one of the best centre backs in the league.

However, Cahill is not quite yet the complete player and may feel he still has more to learn. Alongside him in defence is John Terry who has just about experienced it all so Cahill can learn a lot from him and continue to grow and develop.

4. Pablo Zabaleta, Manchester City

Gazelle like in the way he bombs forward on the right hand side, week in week out for City. He also proves to be tough to beat in defensive situations and his size allows him to bully smaller wingers.

However, Zabaleta has the ability to rank higher on the list. But, this season Manuel Pellegrini seems to chop and change at right back, which has seen Zabaleta not getting as much game time as he would like.

3. Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea

Ivanovic is another member of the consistent Chelsea back four and is the most attacking one. Watching him play can be tiring.

Ivanovic, who originally was a centre back and has been converted to a right back, does not look out of place on the plank.

The energy and commitment he puts alone are enough to make the top five. To that, you add his ability in the air and his appetite to join into attacks and you have a great defender.

2. Vincent Kompany, Manchester City

The City skipper could have made a claim for the number one spot, but recent injuries have seen his season stop and start.

On his day, Kompany can dominate anyone. His size and power means he can bully centre forwards, as well as having the ability to read the game and look comfortable on the ball.

1. Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea

Yes, it is another Chelsea player. Azpilicueta has truly emerged and many believe it was his rise in form which saw Ashley Cole depart the club. Out of the regular Chelsea back four; Cahill, Terry and Ivanovic, it is the Spaniard who grabs the least headlines.

Since Jose Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge, Azpilicueta has been an ever-present in the Chelsea side. Recently, both Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, agreed that he was the best defender in the league.

That alone is a hell of a compliment considering he is a right back who has been playing at left back with great ease, which remains me a lot of a certain Philipp Lahm.

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Vincent Kompany
Branislav Ivanovic
Gary Cahill
Manchester City
Premier League
Pablo Zabaleta

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