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Finding the best centre-backs in the Allsvenskan - data analysis

Finding the best centre-backs in the Allsvenskan – data analysis

In this data analysis piece, we will be looking out for the best centre-backs currently playing in Allsvenskan using statistics. Centre–backs in the modern game have evolved a lot. No longer do we find them only defending and being part of the backline to defend, They play a huge role in the team’s attacking success too by starting attacks from the deep.

In our analysis, we will be considering both the attacking as well as defensive attributes.  We will be looking at players who have registered at least 800 minutes of football in the 2022 league season. Also, only proper centre-backs are taken into consideration, i.e. no makeshift options included.

We will shortlist the best options according to the statistics and data analysis. In this piece, we look into the players who might make the jump to a better league soon. Let’s dive deep into the analysis.

Defensive Duels

The key aspect in which centre-backs are often considered is how they engage in the duels and how well they complete and win them successfully. From the likes of Virgil van Djik to Sergio Ramos, all of these modern-day defenders are very good at challenging and competing even with the strongest and quickest of players. So we look into such players in our first section where we compare the Superliga defenders based on the number of defensive duels they attempt per game and the success rate.

Finding the best centre-backs from the Allsvenskan – data analysis statistics

Casper Ludvig Widell – The 19-year-old centre-back, who plays for Helsingborg, recorded 5.97 defensive duels per game with a winning accuracy of almost 76.67%. He also made 0.5 fouls per game this season which is a good figure for a young centre-back.

Rasmus Sjöstedt – The 30-year-old centre-back from Kalmar averaged 5.73 defensive duels per game last season with a success rate of 81.8%. He also made 0.33 fouls per game in the league the season which is again a very good value for a centre-back.

Lasse Nielsen – The 30-year-old centre-back from Malmo averaged 6.53 defensive duels per game last season with a success rate of 72%. He also made 0.26 fouls per game in the league the season.

Charlie Weberg – The 24-year-old centre-back from Helsingborg recorded 5.3 defensive duels per game last season with a success rate of 73.2%. He also made 0.28 fouls per game in the league that season which is very good value for a centre-back.

Elohor Godswill Ekpolo – The 24-year-old centre-back from Norrkoping averaged 9.55 defensive duels per game last season with a success rate of 69.18%. He also made 1.2 fouls per game in the league this season which is quite above average.

Defensive Positioning

It’s a well-known fact that defending is not just about diving into tackles and making challenges to win the ball back. Though these are some of the things that get the crowd going, they are not the only thing that any defender should be having. It is very important for a defender to read the play and intercept passes to block lanes since these have very little room for making errors and equally being effective in suppressing the opposition’s threat.

Finding the best centre-backs from the Allsvenskan – data analysis statistics

Charlie Weberg – The 24-year-old centre-back has averaged 7.29 interceptions per game with a possession adjusted value of 9.39. He has recorded 11.26 successful defensive actions per game.

Marcus Mathisen – The 26-year-old CB from Sirius has recorded 7.17 interceptions per game with a possession adjusted value of 8.89. He has recorded 11.95 successful defensive actions per game.

Carl Johansson – The 28-year-old CB from Goteborg has averaged 7.44 interceptions per game and with it rising to 9.15 after adjusting for possession. He recorded 11.04 successful defensive actions per game.

Leo Väisänen – The 25-year-old CB from Elfsborg has averaged 6.83 interceptions per game and with it rising to 8.56 after adjusting for possession. He has also recorded 10.68 successful defensive actions per game.

Robin Tihi – The 20-year-old CB from Varnamo is on loan from AIK. He has recorded 6.86 interceptions per game and with it rising to 8.27 after adjusting for possession. He has also registered 10.41 successful defensive actions per game.

Aerial Ability

Most of the teams these days still use long ball techniques to attack, so the ability to win an aerial duel against the opposition’s forward is a bonus. It also helps teams during set-pieces while defending. Centre-backs especially have to deal with tall centre-forwards of the opposition who may possess a great threat aerially.

Finding the best centre-backs from the Allsvenskan – data analysis statistics

Jon Birkfeldt – The 26-year-old CB from Varberg has recorded 8.14 aerial duels per game with a success rate of 59.49%. On average he has won 4.84 aerial duels per game in the league this season, which is a very good value as well.

Forrest Lasso – The 29-year-old CB from Sundsvall has averaged 6.9 aerial duels per game with a success rate of 75.7%. On average he has won 5.22 aerial duels per game in the league this season, which is amongst the league’s best.

Casper Ludvig Widell – The 19-year-old centre-back has recorded 7.56 aerial duels per game with a success rate of 52.6%. On average he has won 3.97 aerial duels per game in the league this season.

Carl Anders Lorent Johansson – The 28-year-old CB from Goteborg has averaged 6.22 aerial duels per game with a success rate of 66.67%. On average he has won 4.14 aerial duels per game in the league this season.

Joakim Lindner – The 31-year-old CB from Varberg has averaged 6.48 aerial duels per game with a success rate of 55.57%. On average he has won 3.61 aerial duels per game in the league this season.

Ball Progression

In this section, we’ll analyse the list of defenders we have based on a tendency to move the ball forward and also their ability to progress the attack both with their passing as well as carrying.

Finding the best centre-backs from the Allsvenskan – data analysis statistics

Charlie Weberg – The 24-year-old centre-back has averaged 15 progressive passes per game and 1.32 progressive runs per game. He also had a progressive passing accuracy of 79.87% which is a solid conversion rate.

Carl Mikael Lustig – The 35-year-old centre-back from AIK has averaged 11.65 progressive passes per game and 2.14 progressive runs per game. He also had a progressive passing accuracy of 84.65%, which means that he is very good at converting his passes at an excellent rate.

Mads Fenger – The 30-year-old centre-back from Hammarby has recorded 12.61 progressive passes per game and 1.39 progressive runs per game. He also had a progressive passing accuracy of 75.58%.

Lars Sætra – The 30-year-old centre-back from Kalmar has recorded 10.14 progressive passes per game and 1.62 progressive runs per game. He also had a progressive passing accuracy of 76%.

Anders Eriksson – The 22-year-old centre-back from Norrkoping has averaged 10.58 progressive passes per game and 1.36 progressive runs per game. He also had a progressive passing accuracy of 62.1%.

Playmaking and Passing Ability

Modern-day centre-backs are widely rated upon their ability to perform with the ball. Top teams across Europe like Manchester CityLiverpool, and Real Madrid all have quality ball-playing centre-backs with them. Their ability to break the pressing of the opposition acts as a first step towards building up to a goal.

Finding the best centre-backs from the Allsvenskan – data analysis statistics

Charlie Weberg – The 24-year-old centre-back has averaged 60.95 passes per game and 14.6, which is the league’s highest from a centre-back, have been passed into the final third with an accuracy of 63.23%, which again is a very good value.

Marcus Mathisen – The Sirius centre-back has recorded 75.06 passes per game on average and 10.9 of them have been those that moved the ball into the final third. He also completed his passes into the final third with an accuracy of 71.92%.

Edvin Kurtulus – The 22-year-old centre-back from Hammarby has averaged 71.45 passes per game with 9.7 of them being made into the final third per game with very good accuracy of 80.16%.

Sebastian Ohlsson – The 29-year-old centre-back from Degerfors has recorded 62 passes per game with 9.2 of them being made into the final third per game with a decent accuracy of 75.5%.

Mads Fenger – The 30-year-old centre-back from Hammarby has averaged 70.87 passes per game with 7.7 of them being made into the final third per game with a very good accuracy of 86.67%.

Players to watch out for

Based on the data, we have shortlisted a few options to look out for in the forthcoming season where we expect these centre-backs to take more significant strides.

Charlie Weberg

The Helsingborg centre-back is the most complete centre-back in Allsvenskan based on the statistics provided as we see him consistently featuring in multiple sections throughout the article. He is very good on the ball, playing an important part in his team’s ball progression, and also playing a huge role in possession for them. He is also good in the air where constantly competes and wins a very high amount of duels aerially. He is also decent in ground duels and has a very good ability to read games and intercept the ball.

Anders Eriksson

The young Norrkoping centre-back is great on the ball and has been one of their key performers this season. He is pretty good at carrying the ball forward and also making passes that help his team reach the final third as well. He is solid in terms of winning ground duels but is pretty mixed in the air where he is just above the average at winning the duels that come aerially. He could potentially improve that aspect of his game with better physicality as well.

Casper Ludvig Widell

Another young Helsingborg centre-back who has done pretty solid this season and has been a breakthrough player for his club. The highly rated youngster has been pretty good at winning duels in the air and also winning ground duels as well. For his age, he has a very good reading ability which helps him to win and intercept the ball easily as well. If he can develop his ability to progress the ball and play a crucial role for his team in possession, he could be a valuable defender and can be on the radar of many top European clubs and could end up playing in leagues like Serie A, La Liga, etc.

Conclusion

The Allsvenskan possesses some fine centre-backs with most of them being young and with high potential. In this article, we have covered both the attacking as well as defensive traits to discuss and list a few of the best-performing players. A lot of players have been handpicked and have seen themselves playing in multiple top-tier clubs across Europe. We could see that the players discussed could also follow the same path and be successful in the top leagues.