Destroyers of the Pitch: Top 5 EPL Defensive Midfielders

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During this festive and giving time of the year, I would like to make light of those that are best at taking away. Yes, I’m talking about what may arguably be the most important position in modern day English Premier League football. Defensive midfielders usually don’t get the goal scoring glory of forwards, nor do they get the recognition a keeper and a back line get during a clean sheet; but having a pure number 6 that can disrupt the other team’s attack and start the counter is evidently necessary in such a physical league.

Patrick Vieira captained the Arsenal Invincibles, who may not have reached such heights without a dominant figure patrolling the midfield in front of the defenders. Manchester United’s Roy Keane was feared both on and off the pitch for defending his teammates, and most famously himself with leg breaking tackles (literally). Claude Makelele was an integral force in Chelsea’s 2004-05 Premiership and League Cup winning side.

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Before we look at today’s top 5 EPL defensive midfielders, there are a few players that barely missed the cut.

Honorable Mentions:

James McCarthy, Everton – Football fans started taking notice of the young lad while he was at Wigan. His stock skyrocketed after the 2013 FA Cup Final, as McCarthy’s stymieing of the City attack along with the work he had put in for the Irish national team earned him accolades. After his time at Wigan, McCarthy followed Manager Roberto Martinez to Everton and is mastering the position under the tutelage of Gareth Barry, who has been quite the defensive midfielder himself.

Mohamed Diame, Hull City – The Senegalese midfielder began to open up some eyes in his years with the Irons of West Ham from 2012-2014. Though a bit inconsistent, the potential he showed at the position along with his ability to make crucial tackles caused for great interest in the January 2013 transfer window among larger clubs. Diame stuck it out at West Ham and made a move to Hull City this past Summer. The 27-year-old may benefit from a move to a better team as he’s shown greater discipline in keeping his position and venturing up only when necessary. Unfortunately for him, the rest of the squad has been extremely poor this season.

Fernandinho, Machester City – The Brazilian was an expensive signing from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer of 2013. If it weren’t for the tendency to get himself and his side in trouble with questionable tackles from time to time along with more minutes on the pitch, he would make the cut. He is hampered by the multitude of options the Citizens have with the likes of Yaya Toure and Fernando. Otherwise, his pure steel would be welcomed by sides lacking such an enforcer.

Use the “Next” arrows above or below to see who made the list!