The 2022-23 Premier League campaign has already seen 118 goals scored in the first four weeks of the season. The matches have been filled with end-to-end action and there have been several unpredictable results early on in the campaign.
This is due to an increase in the quality of each team, not to mention every player on the pitch becoming a goal threat. The same could be seen last season as well, with defenders more often than not finding the back of the net from set-pieces.
Some Premier League centre-backs have been a massive goal threat for their teams this season.
The primary duty of a centre-back is to provide protection to the keeper and bring the ball out from the back. However, scoring from set-pieces has become just as vital for many defenders over the years.
Most Premier League centre-backs being a huge aerial presence. Hence, it is no surprise that some of them have excelled in front of goal since the start of last season.
On that note, let's take a look at five centre-backs who have scored the most Premier League goals since the start of last season.
#5 Conor Coady (4)
The Toffees have bagged a defender who can massively help them out defensively. They will be sure to use him as a target in set-pieces as well.
The England defender, who is 6 feet tall, is an expert at winning balls in the air, especially in the opposition penalty box. His four goals last season are evidence of the same, even more so given the context of those strikes.
The centre-back scored a late equalizer in the 3-2 victory against Aston Villa last October, while also scoring in the 3-1 win in January against Southampton.
Coady then became the man of the moment when he scored the only goal of the game against Everton in March. He rounded off a complete season by scoring a 97th minute equalizer in a 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in May.
The Toffees will hope Coady can get to the end of many set-pieces this season and bail them out when they need him the most.
#4 Ben Mee (4)
Ben Mee is set to turn 33 in September but the centre-back is still very much capable of doing a job against the best teams in the Premier League.
The defender joined Brentford this summer after Burnley were relegated from the top-flight last season.
The Bees were excellent defensively last season. They have now brought in an immaculate defender to make it even harder for opponents to score against them. In doing so, they will also be eager to tap into Mee's ability to find the back of the net whenever he gets into the penalty box.
Despite only being able to make 21 Premier League appearances last season due to injuries, the centre-back managed to score three times.
He first found the back of the net in a 3-1 defeat to Everton last September when he scored Burnley's only goal on the night. His next contribution was far more important. He found the back of the net in a 3-3 draw against Patrick Vieira's all-action Crystal Palace side.
Mee's most crucial goal came earlier this year in February when he banged in a header in the 1-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur. That was his last goal for Burnley.
He has already scored for Brentford this season with a back-post header in the 4-0 battering of Manchester United. The Bees can expect a lot more of these while the 32-year-old is still at the club.
#3 Aymeric Laporte (4)
Aymeric Laporte is yet to play a Premier League game this season after it was declared last month that the centre-back has suffered a knee injury.
The Spaniard is expected to return soon and Pep Guardiola will be happy to have arguably his best defender last season available for selection again.
Laporte excelled in 1v1 challenges and allowed Manchester City to play high up the pitch last season. His presence in attacking set-pieces was also immense.
The centre-back scored in two 5-0 victories last season against Norwich City & Newcastle United respectively. His most valuable contributions came in the victory against Leicester City and the draw against Southampton.
In an enthralling game against the Foxes on Boxing Day, Manchester City led 4-0 at half-time. However, Leicester scored thrice in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, only for Laporte to give his side some breathing space. Raheem Sterling later added a sixth but the centre-back's goal was vital to his side.
Laporte's strike against Southampton in late January, which ensured that the Citizens got a point on the day, was perhaps the most significant.
City won the Premier League title last season on the last day by just one point over Liverpool. Laporte ensured he did his job in helping his side achieve the same.
#2 Virgil van Dijk (4)
Virgil van Dijk is the most recent member to join this list after the Liverpool centre-half scored a thumping header in the recent 9-0 rout of Bournemouth.
The defender was amongst the goals last season as he scored thrice in 34 Premier League matches.
His first of the three came in the win against Southampton last November when Liverpool slammed the Saints 4-0 at Anfield. His second goal was his most important as he scored in the 3-1 victory against Crystal Palace in January.
Van Dijk's third came in the 6-0 thrashing of Leeds United in February this year, on a day when he also donned the captain's armband.
The Dutch defender, however, has looked defensively suspect early on this season. He will look to get back to his best this season and make his aerial presence count as well.
#1 Gabriel Magalhaes (6)
Gabriel Magalhaes has been one of the key figures in Mikel Arteta's sensational rebuild at Arsenal, which has taken shape since the start of last season.
The Gunners are currently sitting at the top of the Premier League table after narrowly missing out on the top four last season.
One of the main reasons for their progress over the last 12 months has been an increased belief amongst the entire squad regarding the project at the club. No player has looked more invested in this than Magalhaes.
The Brazilian centre-back has been incredible defensively for Arsenal. Despite his rash decision-making at times, his no-nonsense tackling has bailed out his side a lot of times.
What has helped his side more over the last 12 months has been his six goals since the start of last season. His most recent winner against Fulham in the London derby is a classic example of the same.
The South American was fantastic last season too, as he scored five times in 35 Premier League appearances.
He scored in the 2-0 win against Leicester City last October before scoring against Southampton in December as well. Magalhaes later scored the winner in a 1-0 victory against Wolves in February. He also found the back of the net against West Ham United in May.
The centre-back added his fifth goal on the last day of the 2021-22 season as Arsenal slapped Everton 5-1 at the Emirates.
Magaalhes still has a few defensive deficiencies in his game. However, his bullish presence during attacking set-pieces has made up for it, at least over the last year or so.