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The top -5 Defensive midfielders in the Premier League

Discover the standout defensive midfielders of the Premier League in 2023, featuring top talents like Rodri, Thomas Partey, and Yves Bissouma.

5 Defensive midfielders in the Premier League

As the new Premier League season continues to inch ever closer to getting underway, we at 101 have kicked into gear a new series, which takes a look at the finest the English top-flight has to offer, in each position across the pitch.

In this piece, we delve into the best of the best defensive midfielders, whittling the competition down to a final five.

Defensive midfielders play a crucial role in modern football, acting as the linchpin between defense and attack. In the Premier League, the competition is fierce, and only the best stand out. Here’s a detailed look at the top defensive midfielders in 2023, highlighting their significant contributions and impact on their respective teams.

1. Rodri (Manchester City)


  • Score: 83%
  • Highlights: Rodri has been a vital part of Manchester City’s midfield, often dictating the tempo of the game. His performance in the Champions League, where he was named Man of the Match, underscores his influence. He excels in possession and is frequently involved in both defensive duties and initiating attacks.

2. Thomas Partey (Arsenal)

Thomas Partey

  • Score: 80%
  • Highlights: Partey’s role at Arsenal has been transformative, particularly in advancing the ball into the final third. His ability to complete passes under pressure and maintain a high level of ball retention makes him indispensable to Mikel Arteta’s plans.

3. Yves Bissouma (Tottenham Hotspur)

Yves Bissouma

  • Score: 77%
  • Highlights: Known for his defensive prowess, Bissouma excels in duels and tackles. His physicality and reading of the game allow him to break up opposition plays effectively, providing a strong shield for the Spurs’ defense.

4. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur)

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg

  • Score: 72%
  • Highlights: Højbjerg’s consistent performances are marked by his dominance in aerial duels and his ability to progress the ball forward. His leadership on the pitch is a crucial aspect of Tottenham’s midfield setup.

5. Moises Caicedo (Chelsea)

Moises Caicedo

  • Score: 71%
  • Highlights: Caicedo’s versatility is a standout feature, allowing him to adapt to various midfield roles. His knack for ball recovery and his energy across the pitch make him a valuable asset to Chelsea’s dynamic play.

Honourable Mentions:

Casemiro and Declan Rice

  • Casemiro (Manchester United): While his defensive stats are impressive, Casemiro’s contributions in ball retention and distribution are areas for improvement.
  • Declan Rice (Arsenal): Renowned for his ability to read the game, Rice’s interceptions and clearances are key to Arsenal’s defensive solidity.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Defensive Midfielders in the Premier League

The role of a defensive midfielder is indispensable in the Premier League, where the intensity and pace of the game require exceptional skill and tactical awareness. Players like Rodri and Thomas Partey exemplify the blend of defensive solidity and playmaking ability that define the modern defensive midfielder. As the season progresses, it will be intriguing to see how these players continue to influence their teams and the league as a whole. Their contributions not only stabilize their respective teams but also shape the dynamic nature of Premier League football. For a deeper dive into their performances,

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.