The Premier League is getting more and more intense by the week. England may be the only country to play through the festive period, but that has not brought about a drop in the intensity levels. Defenders and midfielders, in particular, have maintained their fitness level and are not shying away from tackling the trickest attackers.
The Premier League has seen a surge of high-intensity teams this season
The introduction of teams like Watford and Brentford this season has led to an increase in the number of Premier League teams that want to play high-intensity football. Leicester City, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool are some of the teams that already function this way to win possession of the ball.
A large factor behind how they manage to do so is effective tackling. Winning the ball is a key element of any match. The ball-winners of any team are, arguably, the most prized asset in the squad.
On that note, let us take a look at five players who have won the most tackles in the Premier League this season.
Note: These statistics have been taken from Fbref.com.
#5 Mohammed Salisu (34)
Mohammed Salisu has become a tough nut to crack at the back for Southampton this season. The rock-hard Ghanian has been a massive presence in the backline and is often at the forefront of winning the ball back from opponents.
The Saints often lack possession of the ball and sit back to counter-attack the opposition. In doing so, it is crucial for them to win the ball back from time to time. Several teams also try to play through them due to a weak midfield. However, thanks to Salisu, it is not all that easy to do so.
The 22-year-old centre-back does hold back from lunging into tackles and wins most of the duels he participates in. His stature also makes him a capable figure that intimidates opponents. This has led to the defender winning 34 tackles this season in 20 appearances.
The departure of Jannik Vestergaard this season has seen Salisu come to prominence at Saint Mary's. It would not be a surprise if he becomes one of their most important players towards the end of the season.
#4 Tyrick Mitchell (35)
Tyrick Mitchell is arguably the most underrated full-back in the Premier League this season. The left-back was promoted to the first-team setup in 2020 and has become an integral part of the team under Patrick Vieira this term.
Under the Frenchman, Crystal Palace have played some attractive football. A young and bustling full-back, Mitchell often lends help to the frontline but performs his primary duty as a defender admirably. He rarely ever lets go of the opponent and times his tackles to perfection.
Mitchell's rapid pace also means that few can get past him even in a race. The 22-year-old ace has managed to win 35 tackles in 21 appearances so far this season. One of the best youngsters to watch out for in the coming years, Mitchell is quickly becoming an indispensable asset at Selhurst Park.
#3 Allan (38)
Allan has been one of the few players to have enjoyed a good Premier League season at Goodison Park this term. Everton have struggled this season and are closer to the relegation zone than the top half of the table. However, things could have been a lot worse if they had not had their ever-present bustling midfielder.
The Brazilian joined the club for £21.7m in their first full season under Carlo Ancelotti. He justified his price tag with some incredible performances last season. Allan dictates play for Everton but also plays an integral role in disrupting the opponent's play by winning tackles.
The 31-year-old midfielder has a lot of experience of playing at the top level and it shows in the way he manages to come out on top in challenges. Although he does make rash attempts sometimes, he rarely fails to win the ball. This has helped him win 38 tackles in just 17 appearances this season.
If the Toffees manage to have a better second half to their campaign, a lot of it will be down to Allan and his ball-winning abilities.
#2 Wilfred Ndidi (39)
Wilfred Ndidi has been an incredible defensive option for Leicester City this season. Leicester City ended last season on a good note after finishing fifth in the league and winning the FA Cup. They would have hoped to do the same this season but have experienced injury issues in their backline.
The problem was solved by Ndidi, who shifted from his defensive midfielder role to act as the third centre-back in a three-man defense on multiple occasions. It boded well for the Foxes as his high-octane method of playing and ability to force the opponent into conceding the ball proved useful.
The Nigerian rarely shies away from tackling to win the ball. His strength is such that he can easily outmuscle most opponents. This has resulted in him winning 39 tackles in just 13 appearances this season.
Ndidi is currently on AFCON duty but is sure to return to Leicester's playing XI in mid-February.
#1 Christian Norgaard (56)
Christian Norgaard has been a revelation in the Premier League this season. The central midfielder joined Brentford from Fiorentina in 2019. Norgaard was a key player during the club's rise to the Premier League. He has continued to contribute to their success in the top-flight this term.
Like any other Brentford player, Norgaard possesses innate levels of stamina and can run for days. This means the Dane is always open to competing for a 50/50 challenge.
Moreover, since the Bees excel in transition plays, the 27-year-old presses from the front to win the ball. Norgaard has won 56 tackles in 21 appearances this season, 17 more than his closest competitor.
An adept ball-winner and excellent reader of the game, Norgaard has been a crucial reason behind Brentford exceeding expectations in the Premier League this season.