In Search Of The Best Defensive Midfield Partnership In The Premier League

Yahoo did a statistical comparison of some defensive midfield partnerships after 3 games in the PL. Now with 11 games gone and a boring international break on hands, it is a good opportunity to see where we stand.

Fabregas & Matic Vs Toure * Fernandinho
Stats comparison of Chelsea vs Manchester City

Arguably Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Fernandinho were the best double act in Premiere League last year. But the downturn in form of Yaya Toure has been a major talking point among the media this season.

If we look at the stats, Farbregas has no competition when it comes to Assists, Key Passes and Chances created per game. Matic has astonishingly won 2.4 Tackles per game. The Chelsea pair collectively beat the opposite pair in terms of successful Take-ons although Yaya Toure just comes on top individually. The City pair beat Chelsea pair in terms of Blocks and Aerial Duels but only with a slight margin. Then coming to interceptions Matic alone matches City pair.

Verdict: The Chelsea pair win in offensive part of the game comprehensively thanks in no small part to Cesc Fabregas and then match them defensively collectively with Matic dominating. Yaya Toure has been found missing in the creative department of the game this year, and although has worked harder defensively to compensate.

Fabregas & Matic Vs Flamini & Ramsey
Stats comparison of Chelsea vs Arsenal

Its the same story in Assists, Key passes and Chance creation with Fabregas overwhelming the opposite triumvirate. Interestingly, when it comes to defensive portion of the game, Flamini surprises by closely matching Matic in Tackles, Blocks and Aerial duels. He made more interceptions but has less success in winning Take-ons. Ramsey on the other hand looks promising when it comes to Key passes and Chance creation.

Verdict: The Chelsea pair collectively shrug off Arsenal’s triumvirate. Flamini has been doing his job well and perhaps Ramsey will do better with proven striker to finish chances that he creates.

Fabregas & Matic Vs Barry & McCarthy
Stats comparison of Chelsea vs Everton

Its shocking how Everton’s midfield partnership has just focused on defensive duties perhaps the perils of having Baines and Coleman to your left and right respectively.

Likewise then, let us look at the defensive stats. Chelsea pair win in Tackles and Successful take-ons although Everton pair are quite close. The Everton pair beat Chelsea closely on Aerial Duels and Interceptions. In terms of Blocks, Chelsea pair are nowhere in sights.

Verdict: Defensively alone, Everton pair come just out on top of Chelsea pair, but overall it should be no debate that the Chelsea pair are better overall.

Fabregas & Matic Vs Schiederlin, Davis & Wanyama
Stats comparison of Chelsea vs Southampton

Its Everton all over again as we analyze Southampton’s midfield partnership (in terms of Assists, Key Passes, Chances Created) but there is a difference of goals per game with Southampton getting 6 goals from the pair in comparison to Chelsea’s 2.

Defensively they make more Tackles and win more Aerial Duels but have lesser number of successful Take-ons. In terms of interceptions and Blocks both teams are quite close to each other.

Verdict: The Southampton triumvirate will rank above Chelsea defensively but not overall. BUT there is a crucial piece of information missing here: they haven’t faced the traditional ‘Big Six’ of PL except Tottenham. So their comparison can only be taken with a pinch of salt.


Although Fabregas has the luxury of playing a few minutes every game at number 10, he is still by far the best defensive midfielder creatively. Matic has been hailed as being even better then Makelele in the ‘Makelele role’ by Greame Souness.

Chelsea after 11 games have the best defensive midfield partnership in the Premiere League. Fabregas while heads the creative department, Matic on the hand bosses when it comes to screening his back four.

It can be noted that both pair help each other creatively and defensively. And the fact that Fabregas is willing to do the ugly part and Matic has the quality going forward make them the dream partnership.

Do you agree with our assessment? Did we miss any club which could have matched this partnership? Do the stats reflect the picture accurately? Have we missed some telling stat?

All stats are per game and supplied by Squawka