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Wes Morgan is one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

Defenders

Defenders

On this page, we're going to take a look at defenders and the words we use to describe what they do.

What's the difference between a defender and a defence?

A defender is an individual player and the defence is a collection of players a team uses to defend. For example, John Terry is a defender who plays in Chelsea's defence. A defender's job is to defend as they are part of a team's defensive unit. A team might have a defensive style or an attacking style but a team always needs good defenders and good defences. We're now going to look at some examples of what defences do together and what defenders do on their own.

Arsenal's Hector Bellerin was the highest scoring defender in Fantasy Football last season.

What does the defence do?

Marking

Marking a player is when you stay close to an opponent to stop them from getting the ball. All defenders mark opponents, but managers decide how their defence will mark before the match. There are two main types of marking; zonal marking and man-to-man marking or man marking. Man-to-man marking is when defenders mark a specific opposition player. This can happen at corners and free-kicks but may happen in other areas of the pitch. If an opponent has a very creative player the manager might tell a player to man-mark him. He will then follow the creative player around the pitch to stop him from getting the ball. Zonal marking is when defenders mark a specific area of the pitch. When a player enters a defender's area it is the defender's responsibility to mark that player.

Tactics

Different teams play with different defensive styles and use different tactics. A team might play out from the back, which is when the goalkeeper throws the ball to a defender that is close to him. The team then play short passes as they move the ball further forward in order to keep possession. This style is in contrast to a more direct approach when the goalkeeper kicks the ball long. Another tactic might be to play offside or play the offside trap. This involves the whole defence working together as a unit and moving forward together when a pass is played to catch the attacker offside. Teams that play the offside trap are also more likely to play a high line. Playing a high line means the defenders are closer to the halfway line and have more chance of catching strikers offside. The opposite of this, is a defence sitting back or sitting deep. When a team plays very defensively, the whole team might be sitting back and it's very difficult for an attacking team to break them down. Jose Mourinho famously described this tactic as, 'parking the bus'.

John Terry has made over 700 appearances in Chelsea's defence.

What do defenders do?

Intercepting the ball

Intercepting the ball or making an interception means taking possession of the ball when nobody has control of the ball. You can make interceptions in different ways; you could head the ball away from danger at a corner, or if a dangerous cross comes into the box you could make an important clearance. A clearance is kicking or clearing the ball out of a dangerous area, sometimes a commentator might say a defender has kicked the ball into row z if he kicks the ball directly into the crowd. Another type of clearance is a block. A block is when an attacking player takes a shot and a defender stops the ball with any part of the body!

Tackling

Normally, a player's positional sense, which is the intelligence of knowing where you are on the pitch, will stop a defender from becoming isolated, but sometimes defenders need to tackle. A tackle is taking the ball away from an attacking player. There are three main types of tackle; the poke tackle, the block tackle and the slide tackle. The poke tackle is when you run next to the attacking player and put your foot out to get the ball. The ball will often go out for a corner or a throw-in but you have stopped the attacker in a dangerous position. A block tackle happens when a defender and an attacker are facing each other. Both players stay on their feet and challenge for the ball, it's probably the most common tackle in a football match. The slide tackle is the most dangerous tackle and should only be used as a final option because there is a high probability of not timing it correctly and conceding a free-kick and getting a yellow or red card. A defender slides along the pitch reaching the ball with one leg. It's important to get up immediately in case you didn't win the ball.

​​

Vincent Kompany is Manchester City's captain and one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

Think about vocabulary

We've looked at some of the most important things that defences and defenders do in a football match. Do you understand the words in bold? Look at the sentences around each word to help you understand. It can also help to use your knowledge of football. Think about what a defender does on the pitch. Does this also help your understanding?

Have a look at the activity below and check your understanding of defenders and the words that are used to describe what they do.

 

Quiz

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Describing Defenders

Who do you think is the best defender in the Premier League? Why?
Can you describe the best tackle you've ever seen? Do you think slide tackles should be banned?
What type of defending do you think is the best?
 
Remember to use the vocabulary you've just looked at in your comments below!

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Komentar

mobeckham's picture
mobeckham
14/05/2020
TR
6510
points

The best defender for me is Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand
They were absolutely a brilliant duo together in zone defence and man-to-man defence too apart from Champions League finals 2009 and 2011
Vidic usually used the bloke tackle to take the ball away from strikers and Ferdinand was smart enough to use the poke takle


mobeckham's picture
mobeckham
14/05/2020 06:36
Turkey
Manchester United
6510

The best defender for me is Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand
They were absolutely a brilliant duo together in zone defence and man-to-man defence too apart from Champions League finals 2009 and 2011
Vidic usually used the bloke tackle to take the ball away from strikers and Ferdinand was smart enough to use the poke takle

wanjames's picture
wanjames
26/02/2020
ET
10
points

Really an interesting article. I have learnt a lot from it. Thanks


wanjames's picture
wanjames
26/02/2020 16:49
Ethiopia
Manchester United
10

Really an interesting article. I have learnt a lot from it. Thanks

vall.dc
11/08/2019
BR
6
points

My favorite is Virgil van Dijk ❤️


vall.dc
11/08/2019 00:34
Brazil
Liverpool
6

My favorite is Virgil van Dijk ❤️

sabanoleg
23/10/2017
UA
2337
points

I like Vertonghen and Monreal.


sabanoleg
23/10/2017 17:18
Ukraine
Arsenal
2337

I like Vertonghen and Monreal.

Ahmed Adam Mamado's picture
Ahmed Adam Mamado
17/04/2017
SD
2903
points

1- Man Utd's Eric Baily


Ahmed Adam Mamado's picture
Ahmed Adam Mamado
17/04/2017 10:34
Sudan
Liverpool
2903

1- Man Utd's Eric Baily

davilillons
07/08/2016
ES
951
points

- I like very much Otamendi because has a great positional sense.He does good clearance and also start the team's play.
- When a striker took over of goalkeeper, a defender arrived behind and did a slide tackle for steal the ball cleanly .
- a slide tackle that steal the ball and don't hurt to the competitor is very impressive and spectacular.
- the best defense is zonal marking because more o less you have controlled the rival team.
Correct me, please


davilillons
07/08/2016 14:20
Spain
Arsenal
951

- I like very much Otamendi because has a great positional sense.He does good clearance and also start the team's play.
- When a striker took over of goalkeeper, a defender arrived behind and did a slide tackle for steal the ball cleanly .
- a slide tackle that steal the ball and don't hurt to the competitor is very impressive and spectacular.
- the best defense is zonal marking because more o less you have controlled the rival team.
Correct me, please

assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
05/08/2016
PS
3705
points

I do not remember a specific tackle at the moment,but the best player in tackling is Terry.


assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
05/08/2016 21:14
Palestinian Territory
Liverpool
3705

I do not remember a specific tackle at the moment,but the best player in tackling is Terry.

assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
05/08/2016
PS
3705
points

I think the best type of defending is parking the bus,a great tactic but a boring style for a lot of people.


assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
05/08/2016 21:12
Palestinian Territory
Liverpool
3705

I think the best type of defending is parking the bus,a great tactic but a boring style for a lot of people.

assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
05/08/2016
PS
3705
points

I think it is Wess Morgan who made a lot of tackles and helped the team to have a lot of clean sheets.


assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
05/08/2016 21:11
Palestinian Territory
Liverpool
3705

I think it is Wess Morgan who made a lot of tackles and helped the team to have a lot of clean sheets.

elghoul's picture
elghoul
05/08/2016
DZ
3988
points

Terry, Walker are between the best defenders in the Premier League.
Beckenbauer and Zitouni have both made the best tackles I've watched or said about. They always do their best fo not harming the opponent.
A high defence is the best in particular when you have a libero like the PSG and Brazilian one.


elghoul's picture
elghoul
05/08/2016 14:33
Algeria
Manchester City
3988

Terry, Walker are between the best defenders in the Premier League.
Beckenbauer and Zitouni have both made the best tackles I've watched or said about. They always do their best fo not harming the opponent.
A high defence is the best in particular when you have a libero like the PSG and Brazilian one.

kwesimanifest's picture
kwesimanifest
05/08/2016
GH
4768
points

I think slide tackles should be banned because it gets messy most times


kwesimanifest's picture
kwesimanifest
05/08/2016 05:47
Ghana
Manchester United
4768

I think slide tackles should be banned because it gets messy most times

kwesimanifest's picture
kwesimanifest
05/08/2016
GH
4768
points

The block tackle is the best just that the situation can be bad for a player if he gets the body hitting some parts that are very delicate to the body


kwesimanifest's picture
kwesimanifest
05/08/2016 05:46
Ghana
Manchester United
4768

The block tackle is the best just that the situation can be bad for a player if he gets the body hitting some parts that are very delicate to the body

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
05/08/2016
UA
6280
points

The best defender in the Premier League is John Terry because of his professional and human high levels.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
05/08/2016 05:40
Ukraine
Liverpool
6280

The best defender in the Premier League is John Terry because of his professional and human high levels.

kwesimanifest's picture
kwesimanifest
04/08/2016
GH
4768
points

Best defender in the premier league league is bellerin


kwesimanifest's picture
kwesimanifest
04/08/2016 17:27
Ghana
Manchester United
4768

Best defender in the premier league league is bellerin

aragorn1986's picture
aragorn1986
04/08/2016
ME
3557
points

There is no best type of defending. It depends of the opponents and player's skills and tactics. Good manager will take into consideration all these aspects and analize it a within a week before the match.


aragorn1986's picture
aragorn1986
04/08/2016 15:38
Montenegro
Arsenal
3557

There is no best type of defending. It depends of the opponents and player's skills and tactics. Good manager will take into consideration all these aspects and analize it a within a week before the match.

aragorn1986's picture
aragorn1986
04/08/2016
ME
3557
points

Slide tackles shouldn't be banned. It is part of this game. Football in the UK is special and we love it. One of the hardest tackles I've ever seen is Keane's tackle on Haland in Manchester derby..


aragorn1986's picture
aragorn1986
04/08/2016 15:35
Montenegro
Arsenal
3557

Slide tackles shouldn't be banned. It is part of this game. Football in the UK is special and we love it. One of the hardest tackles I've ever seen is Keane's tackle on Haland in Manchester derby..

aragorn1986's picture
aragorn1986
04/08/2016
ME
3557
points

Toby Alderweireld has made the third highest number of clearances last season! One of 5 best defenders.


aragorn1986's picture
aragorn1986
04/08/2016 15:28
Montenegro
Arsenal
3557

Toby Alderweireld has made the third highest number of clearances last season! One of 5 best defenders.

Leaderboard

Top Scorers
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1mobeckham6510
2Alex_from_Ukraine6280
3hsn5526
4wsanta5086
5kwesimanifest4768
6Liubomyr4408
7elghoul3988
8assemjuve3705
9aragorn19863557
10Gergő Nagy3396
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1Manchester United142031
2Liverpool110396
3Chelsea88716
4Arsenal85736
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7Newcastle United10477
8West Ham United7460
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10Crystal Palace4240

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

Goals

Learn 10 words that describe what defenders do on the pitch.