5 Premier League seasons which proved the importance of a stable defence
In the modern game, the fans have always been attracted towards the skills and goals of the attackers, ignoring the importance of the defenders at the back. The attackers have constantly enjoyed the limelight while the defenders have continued to live under their shadow.
There are several instances where the defenders have shown their class, times when attackers have failed. A clean sheet guarantees you a point, but a goal doesn't, does it?
To know the importance of defenders, here a look at the stats of five different seasons.
#5 2011/12 season - Blackburn Rovers
In the 2011/12 season, Blackburn were relegated from the top-tier despite scoring more goals than 8th-placed Liverpool due to their poor collective performances at the back. The Rovers were ninth in terms of goals scored across the league as they managed to net 48 throughout the campaign - an average of more than 1.25 goals per match.
48 goals would have ensured they remained in the Premier League, had they been more consistent at the back. They leaked 78 goals -- an average of two per game -- during the course of the campaign, making them the second worst in terms of goals conceded behind Wolves, who finished bottom of the table.
The Rovers failed to maintain discipline at the back as they accumulated 66 yellow cards and 5 red cards during the campaign. One of the reasons for their failure was the miserable display from their centre-backs who had a season to forget. Scott Dann was clearly the weak link in their defence as he struggled to perform in every game he started.
Stats reveal that he had been very poor in the air as he has won a mere 19 out of 54 aerial battles which is clearly behind the mark for a centre-back. Adding to this, the English defender slotted three goals in his own net showing his poor awareness at the back. He finished the season with a tackle success ratio of 60% which was the poorest among the other defenders in his side.
Liverpool managed to finish in eighth position, despite scoring one less than Blackburn in comparison. Their defensive performances were not particularly impressive when you compare them with rivals above them, though they crucially kept clean sheets in eight of their 14 league victories.
Blackburn meanwhile, only kept three clean sheets (all against teams in the bottom half) during the campaign and regularly lost high-scoring matches. The sheer gap between the two sides highlights the importance of having a stable defence within your side to avoid failure.