The Best

Premier League's best defenders - ranked

Cancelo has had a great season
Cancelo has had a great season / Image by Briony Painters

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It's been said that the art of defending has been lost in the modern Premier League.

However, it is more accurate to say that what is expected of defenders has changed. No longer is the back four simply tasked with keeping clean sheets.

Now, defenders increasingly perform vital roles in possession too, whether it's starting moves with long passes or bombing down the wings and creating scoring opportunities.

This week our list of the 10 best defenders in the Premier League is powered by 90min's 'Football Tackles' charity of the week: The Ryan McBride Foundation.

The Ryan McBride Foundation help young people in the north west of Ireland realise their full potential by identifying key areas where it believes it can assist these young people.

Be it through providing local clubs with football kits, training gear and equipment, working in partnership with Derry City to provide coaching and mentoring young players on an entirely cross-community basis, or their Ryan McBride Schools Cup tournament for primary school children in the city, the Foundation has sought to give children access to sport and impact upon their social and life-skills.

To find out more about the fantastic work that the Ryan McBride Foundation do click here.

10. Thiago Silva (Re-entry)

Thiago Silva
Timeless / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Thiago Silva has proved to be an inspired signing for Chelsea.

With the Blues looking short of centre-backs heading into the 2021/22 campaign, the Brazilian - now 37 - will need to keep contributing next season.

9. Antonio Rudiger (-)

Antonio Rudiger
Rudiger is now one of the world's most in-demand defenders / Robin Jones/GettyImages

One of the most in-demand centre-backs in world football right now, Antonio Rudiger's stock has gone through the roof over the past 12 months.

Another benefactor of Tuchel's tactical shift, Rudiger is a dangerous ball-playing defender who not only reads the game brilliantly and is tremendous in the air, he's exceptionally comfortable joining in attacks with the ball at his feet.

It's a shame for Chelsea that he'll be leaving this summer.

8. Marc Cucurella (-)

Marc Cucurella
Marc Cucurella / Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

Marc Cucurella is brilliant.

He proved that by ripping Man Utd limb from limb last week. He played well against Leeds this weekend too and is undoubtedly one of the signings of the season.

7. Joel Matip (-)

Joel Matip
Matip is brilliant / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Liverpool look a much better team with Joel Matip in the starting XI.

If he can stay fit then the Reds' chances of winning a quadruple will increase tenfold.

6. Ruben Dias (Down 1)

Ruben Dias
Dias is back from injury / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Back from injury and back into the top five last injured again...which is very bad for Man City.

He was the best defender in England last season, the Portuguese international has been mightily impressive when fit this season too.

5. Cristian Romero (Up 1)

Cristian Romero, Ben Davies
Romero / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

After an up-and-down few weeks for Tottenham, Cristian Romero has helped Tottenham steady the ship recently.

When he's fit and available, Spurs look twice the team.

4. Andrew Robertson (-)

Andrew Robertson
Robertson remains one of the best / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Liverpool's attacking prowess down each flank is famed, so there's really no surprise to see Andy Robertson ranked among the league's best defenders.

The Scot hasn't been at his absolutely brilliant best for all of this season, granted, but he has that level of class that few left-backs in the world possess. In fact, he's still the best in the business.

3. Trent Alexander-Arnold (-)

Trent Alexander-Arnold
Alexander-Arnold has been back to his best / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Some doubted the ability of Trent Alexander-Arnold after a ropey couple of months and some lapses in defensive concentration.

Fortunately, Liverpool's right-back has put all of that to one side, has come back stronger than ever and is undisputedly the most dangerous full-back in the league.

2. Joao Cancelo (Up 3)

Joao Cancelo
Joao Cancelo is now an established star / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

When Manchester City signed Joao Cancelo from Juventus in 2019, many were underwhelmed by his arrival. Now into his third season at the Etihad, any doubts over the 27-year-old's ability have been firmly put to bed.

Brilliant on either side of defence, or as a supplementary midfielder, Cancelo has the touch and finesse to pick out passes and through balls that few others can even see. That's why Pep Guardiola loves him.

1. Virgil van Dijk (-)

Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk is top dog / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Can anybody other than Virgil van Dijk really lay claim to being the best defender in the Premier League?

We don't think so.

The Dutchman is imperious in every facet of the game and is on course to establish himself as a legendary figure at Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp will be relieved that he is set to shake off an injury in time for the Champions League final.