2 Arsenal defenders rank best in Europe for this stat: Deserve more chances?

Arsenal's Brazilian defender David Luiz (L) and Leeds United's English striker Patrick Bamford compete during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium in London on February 14, 2021. (Photo by Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP)
Arsenal's Brazilian defender David Luiz (L) and Leeds United's English striker Patrick Bamford compete during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium in London on February 14, 2021. (Photo by Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP)

David Luiz and William Saliba are the top-two outfield players in Europe’s top leagues for minutes played without being dribbled past.

William Saliba playing for OGC Nice against Paris Saint-Germain on 13th February 2021 (Photo via FEP / Panoramic)
William Saliba playing for OGC Nice against Paris Saint-Germain on 13th February 2021 (Photo via FEP / Panoramic)

SofaScore report that David Luiz is the outfield player with the most minutes played across the top five European leagues this season without being dribbled past once.

Luiz is at 1,076 minutes so far with that record still intact. William Saliba is in second place, at 990 minutes played.

There are a couple of mitigating factors here. Firstly, as you can tell by the minutes, neither player has been a regular all season long. They’ve both completed fewer than 12 games’ worth of minutes after 28 rounds of matches.

That makes it a bit easier to maintain the record of not being dribbled past, as does the fact that both players tend to avoid committing to challenges. Luiz has made 10 tackles this league season, whilst Saliba has made nine.

By contrast, someone like Konstantinos Mavropanos, on loan at Stuttgart, made 10 tackles in a single game recently. So there’s an extent to which your defensive style influences this stat, just as much as your ability to win the ball in a tackle.

Having said all that, Luiz and Saliba are clearly good at what they do. At the very least, they know when it’s worth trying to make a tackle.