They say attack wins you games, but defence wins you titles. In an age where the beautiful game has evolved into a scathingly attacking version, a good defence does not always get the appreciation that is due.
Everyone wants to see goals galore in each game, as the strikers and attacking midfielders are the people who take away most of the accolades, yet one cannot deny that the base of every champion team is built on a solid defence.
This season too, it has been raining goals in all the top leagues of Europe. In the Ligue 1, there has been an average of 2.61 goals scored per match, whereas in the Premier League, the average is even higher - 2.75 goals per game!
In La Liga, the average is 2.53 goals per game, while in the Serie A, it is 2.72 goals per game. However, none of them matches the Bundesliga, where an average of 3.22 goals has been scored per game this season!
While it has been a tough season for defences so far, there are a few clubs who have held their own when it comes to shutting out oppositions. Some of them have redefined defending, but all have managed to set up their teams in such a way that it has been very hard to break them down. Today, we take a look at the top 5 clubs in Europe, with the strongest defence this season.
The La Liga side is the surprise inclusion in this list, especially since they are 10th in the league. But Marcelino Garcia Toral's side has the best defensive record in Spain, having conceded just 14 goals from 18 games in all competitions. In La Liga, they have conceded just 9 goals from 13 games, the same as Atletico Madrid, whereas in UEFA Champions League, the Spanish side has conceded just 4 goals from 4 games. In the Copa del Rey, CD Ebro scored a goal against them.
Valencia has lost just 2 games in La Liga this season, however, too many draws have cost them so far. Juventus, Espanyol and Levante are the only three sides to have scored more than one goal against Valencia this season. For the La Liga side, Gabriel Paulista has been quite good in the centre of the defence and has started in 16 of those 18 games. The Brazilian has been partnered with either of Ezequiel Garay or Mouctar Diakhaby, who have complimented him well.
Last season, Valencia conceded 38 goals from 38 games in La Liga and finished 4th in the league. This season, they have a better defensive record so far but have already drawn 8 games, 1 more than their tally for the whole of last season. While Marcelino's defence has been performing well, he needs to show his strikers the way to the goal, if he wants to better or even replicate last season's standings.