You Shall Not Pass! Europe's 11 Meanest Defences in 2017

The key to every great team is a solid defence and Europe's football body, UEFA, have announced which clubs have the best defensive record of 2017, as the domestic leagues paused for the international break. Taking into consideration teams from Europe's top 5 leagues alone, here are the 11 best defences of the year so far... Average goals conceded per game: 0.41 (5 goals in 12 games) The Italians have always been masters in the art of defending but Juventus seem to have taken it onto a new...

Atletico Madrid

Average goals conceded per game: 0.75 (9 goals in 12 games) 


Ever since Diego Simeone turned up at the Vicente Calderon Stadium, he has been instilling the importance of a tight back line for Atletico Madrid, normally consisting of no nonsense South American defenders. 


They've been as sturdy as ever in 2017, conceding just 9 goals in 12 games so far.

Villarreal

Average goals conceded per game: 0.75 (9 goals in 12 games) 


It's been a very positive campaign for the Yellow Submarine so far, with Fran Escriba's men threatening to challenge the top 4. 


One reason for their success this year has been their astute defending, marshalled in particular by Mateo Musacchio, who has helped Villarreal keep an average of 0.75 goals per game since the turn of the year.

Barcelona

Average goals conceded per game: 0.75 (9 goals in 12 games)


Tied in 9th position with both Atletico and Villarreal, Barcelona are known far more for their attacking prowess than their defensive stability. 


Nonetheless, the Blaugrana have done a good job so far this year at the back, with Samuel Umtiti in particular an outstanding performer, in what is his first season at the Nou Camp.

Saint-Etienne

Average goals conceded per game: 0.72 (8 goals in 11 games) 


Despite being only 7th in Ligue 1, Saint-Etienne's form since the start of January has been far better. 


Les Verts, France's most successful team of all time, have done a good job keeping a tight ship, with Paul Pogba's brother, Florentin, an essential part of the defence.

Roma

Average goals conceded per game: 0.72 (8 goals in 11 games) 


Serie A heavyweights Roma are widely accepted to be the second best time in Italy and their organised defence has a lot to do with why the side from the capital are so difficult to beat. 


The likes of Kostas Manolas, Bruno Peres and, strangely enough, former Spurs flop Federico Fazio are the men keeping the opposition at bay.

Everton

Average goals conceded per game: 0.70 (7 goals in 10 games) 


Ronald Koeman has  breathed new life into in-form Everton, who continue their climb up the Premier League. 


While Romelu Lukaku has been banging in the goals going forward it's been left to Ramiro Funes Mori and Ashley Williams to keep things secure at the back.

Paris Saint-Germain

Average goals conceded per game: 0.54 (6 goals in 11 games) 


The Ligue 1 champions are having their dominance seriously challenged for the first time in a while and boss Unai Emery has needed to make sure that his defence remains sturdy as we enter the business side of things. 


Champions League aside, it has been a fantastic defensive display from his men since the turn of the year, with just 6 goals conceded.

Monaco

Average goals conceded per game: 0.54 (6 goals in 11 games)  


The team who might well knock PSG off their perch is Manchester City conquerors Monaco. 


Although it is the French side's frightening attack taking all the plaudits at the moment, it is important to remember that their strong defence, flanked by Djibril Sidibe and Benjhamin Mendy, have matched the Parisiens' 0.54 average in 2017.

Manchester United

Average goals conceded per game: 0.50 (4 goals in 8 games) 


Surprisingly, Manchester United have statistically the third best defence in Europe this year, and they were rewarded by finally moving out of 6th place in the Premier League table. 


The likes of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have raised their game as the Red Devils aim to finish in the Champions League places.

Bayern Munich

Average goals conceded per game: 0.44 (4 goals in 9 games) 


Undoubtedly one of the best defences ever assembled in Bundesliga history, the likes of Philip Lahm, Mats Hummels and David Alaba barely break a sweat, especially when Manuel Neuer is keeping goal behind them. 


The runaway leaders are extremely difficult to score against, with just 4 goals going in since the turn of the year.

Juventus

Average goals conceded per game: 0.41 (5 goals in 12 games) 


The Italians have always been masters in the art of defending but Juventus seem to have taken it onto a new level. 


The Old Lady's now iconic formation of three central defenders and two wing backs, in front of the evergreen Gianluigi Buffon, is a strategy that has yet to be truly unlocked in the Serie A. 

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