Most people can agree that Nicolas Otamendi, of Manchester City, and Jan Vertonghen, of Tottenham Hotspur, are two of the best defenders the Premier League has to offer, but who is the better of the two.
Manchester City have only conceded 13 goals and are comfortably topping the table with 62 points. On the other hand, Tottenham have conceded 20 goals and are currently sitting in fifth place with just 40 points.
Statistically, it may seem that Otamendi is the better defender, nonetheless, that may not be the case. Let’s take a closer look.
Vertonghen- Tottenham Hotspur
This season Vertonghen is yet again proving just how vital he is to Mauricio Pochettino’s side. The Belgian has helped keep the Spurs fight for a top-two finish alive. He has been their usual rock at the back both in the Premier and the Champions League.
Following Alderweireld’s injury against Real Madrid, Vertonghen made sure the North Londoner’s defence maintained their shape and composure, and bedding in new addition Davinson Sanchez.
In doing so, Tottenham managed to beat current European champions Real Madrid 3-1. Furthermore, Vertonghen has had to adjust his defence to playing at Wembley. Wembley has a wider pitch than the old White Hart Lane Vertonghen has done a fantastic job at adapting, with statistics prove it.
Across the 21 games, the Belgian has partaken in this Premier League season, he has won 26 tackles and 59 aerial duels. He has also made 31 interceptions, 93 clearances, and 8 blocks.
Moreover, he has only committed 15 fouls and lost 26 tackles. Best of all, he made no mistakes leading to a goal this season. His 86% pass completion is also helpful when playing out of the back, but could be improved.
Vertonghen’s ability to cut out key passes and redistribute them is essential to Spurs. The Belgian also has a knack of blocking shots and clearing the ball from the back. Combined with terrific tackling, he is one of the main reasons that Spurs have conceded less than 20 goals this season.
Otamendi- Manchester City
Then there is Otamendi. This season the Argentine has improved greatly under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola.
With the change of tactics that Guardiola has implemented at Manchester City, the defence have only conceded 13 goals. Their attack has also improved as it has scored a mouth-watering 64 goals. That is a goal difference of +51 across just 22 matches. Otamendi has helped City keep 11 clean sheets so far in the Premier League.
The two main components of Otamendi’s success this season have been the change in tactics and the mentoring of Guardiola. Otamendi has polished and refined his positioning, passing, tackling, and reading of the game.
The Argentine has made 27 tackles whilst only committing 15 fouls. He has made 35 interceptions, 7 blocks, and 74 clearances, and has won 58 aerial duels. His pass completion is also a terrific 92%.
Otamendi, and City’s much improved back-line, seem to be nearly impossible to break down. That is reflected in the number of clean sheets they have kept and low tally of conceded goals.
Otamendi has a higher pass completion percentage and has made more tackles and interceptions, whilst Vertonghen has made more clearances, blocks, and won more aerial duels. He also made less mistakes leading to a goal, albeit just 1 less.
Vertonghen and Otamendi are matched in almost every category except clearances. This withstanding, it’s tough to come to a verdict. Otamendi is a part of a better back-line, but doesn’t necessarily make him a better player than Vertgonhen.
In this case, Extra Time Talk will leave it up to you to decide who the better defender is. Will it be the Belgian with his aerial duels and clearances? Or will it be the Argentine with his timely interceptions and accurate passing? What are your thoughts?