Barclay's Premier League's Top Defenders - 2010-11 Season
West Ham icon Bobby Moore is the standard for defenders in England, and while these 10 defenders Jamie Trecker and FOX Soccer have picked out aren't in the same class as the Three Lions' legend, their play did distinguish them from their peers in this year's Premier League. Click ahead for FOX Soccer's Barclay's Premier League defenders of the season.
Nemanja Vidic, LCB, Manchester United
My Player of the Year, bar none. Vidic was the rock that United built its 19th title on. Uncompromising, smart and gifted with an almost otherworldly sense of positioning, Vidic dared all to try and beat him. Few could.
Rio Ferdinand, RCB, Manchester United
Ferdinand was slowed by injuries and age, but formed the best defensive tandem in the league alongside Vidic, and has to get a nod for his efforts this season. Is he the world-beater he once was? No, but he's still crafty and strong in the air, and able to make the big tackle when has to.
David Luiz, RCB, Chelsea
The former Benfica man was one of the best pickups of the winter transfer period, and he's only going to improve. He immediately added steel to a back line hurting from the loss of Alex and the slowing of John Terry, and while he can be naive at times (ask Chicharito) he's going to be one of the greats.
Gary Cahill, RCB, Bolton Wanderers
Solid, smart and coveted, Cahill's play is a major reason why Bolton is eyeing a top-ten finish. His assured work (especially in front of an erratic goalkeeper) is also why Cahill is likely to be heading to Liverpool or Arsenal in the offseason. He's going to leave a big hole for Owen Coyle to fill.
Vincent Kompany, CB, Manchester City
The most improved player of the year, the Belgian back gave City stability through a roller-coaster year finally rewarded by a place in Champions League and the FA Cup. Thoughtful and averse to making rash challenges, Kompany's size belies a soft touch and solid positioning. May be the best young defender in the league.
Fabricio Coloccini, LCB, Newcastle United
Player of the year on a Newcastle team that is badly run, badly managed, and riven by self-inflicted wounds. A class act and a well-respected pro, the much-traveled Coloccini cleaned up a lot of messes this year, arguably keeping Newcastle from sliding further down the table.
Leighton Baines, LB, Everton
A stalwart for Everton, Baines provides bite at both ends of the field, getting forward to provide key assists and a few big goals while cleaning up a lot of messes in the back. Without him and Tim Howard, Everton would be in far worse shape.
Bacary Sagna, RB, Arsenal
Calling Sagna the best defender on a team known for awful defense might seem like the ultimate backhanded compliment. It’s not meant to be. Fact is, without him on the wing, Arsenal would have conceded far more goals than they did. Faded at the end of the season, but overall, was a bright spot on a miserable back four. If Thomas Vermaelen had been healthy he’d have got the nod.
Roger Johnson, RCB, Birmingham City
His team may well be relegated yet, but Johnson has shown himself to be one of the bright spots in an otherwise troubling season for the Blues. Quick, smart and slick, Johnson has been a must-have for Birmingham since he joined the side in 2009. Mystifyingly, he has yet to get a turn in an England jersey despite being one of the true standouts in the heart of his club's defense.
Nigel de Jong, DM, Manchester City
A midfielder in name though a defender by function, de Jong's probably never going to win over American fans, though the Dutch international has shaped up since the days when his tackles cost him a spot on his national team. Since that wake up call - precipitated by De Jong breaking Newcastle man Hatem Ben Arfa's leg - he has settled into one of the most reliable defenders in the league. Smooth, steady and no longer reckless, De Jong is the lynchpin.
What do you think?
Did we miss anybody? Or, are we being too generous to some in the 10? Use poll (below) to choose your favorite, and use the comments to tell us who we missed. Who knows: The gallery we make from the readers' top 10 may be stronger the the group we've chosen. Tomorrow, FOX Soccer will pick their five top goalkeepers of the 2010/11 season.