CIES Football Observatory have revealed the top performing full backs and centrebacks in Europe this season and there is no place for any Arsenal player.

This is perhaps not surprising in the slightest.

While we hail Hector Bellerin and, to a lesser extent, Nacho Monreal, the fact is the Arsenal defence has been more than a little poor this season as a unit and that has no doubt had a knock-on effect on the player’s stats individually.

Even the normally dependable Laurent Koscielny has endured something of a poor season.

The Premier League is not well represented at all in this report with only Manchester City and Liverpol getting players on either list.

Liverpool’s banned Mamadou Sakho comes in at number 10 on the best centrebacks list while Aleksandar Kolorov is listed as the eighth best full back in Europe.

Oddly, the best performing defender in the Premier League seems to be Nicolas Otamendi.


As CIES explains, “The analysis is based on the statistics of players in six-areas of the game, weighted accordingly to the their importance per position. Two Key Performance Indicators are crucial for defenders: rigour and recovery. The former area defines the ability to minimise opponents’ chances through robust duelling. The latter highlights proficient interception work. Only players fielded for at least 60% of minutes are included in the rankings.”
KPI chart via CIES Football Observatory
KPI chart via CIES Football Observatory

Top 10 centrebacks:

  1. Mats Hummels (Dortmund GER)
  2. Thiago Silva (PSG FRA)
  3. Nicolas Otamendi (Man City ENG)
  4. David Alaba (Bayern Munich GER)
  5. Facundo Roncaglia (Fiorentina ITA)
  6. Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid ESP)
  7. Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli ITA)
  8. David Luis (PSG FRA)
  9. Samuel Umtiti (Lyon FRA)
  10. Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool ENG)

Top 10 full backs:

  1. Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid ESP)
  2. Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich GER)
  3. Dani Alves (Barcelona ESP)
  4. Ricardo Pereira (Real Madrid ESP)
  5. Marcelo Vieria (Real Madrid ESP)
  6. Marcos Alonso (Fiorentina ITA)
  7. Ignazio Abate (AC Milan ITA)
  8. Aleksandar Kolorov (Man Cit ENG)
  9. Jordi Alba (Barcelona ESP)
  10. Senad Lulic (Lazio ITA)