Rodri vs Fabinho vs Kante vs Rice: Who is the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League?

Rodri, Fabinho, N’Golo Kante and Declan Rice are currently the four best defensive midfielders in the Premier League.

Ok, so there’s some debate there, but we’re pretty confident to say that Douglas Luiz, Wilfred Ndidi and Pierre Emile Hojbjerg fall short of the top four as things stand.

Rodri quietly minds his own business as one of the most underrated players in world football, while Rice proves week after week that a move to a Champions League club is what he deserves .

Rodri vs. Fabinho vs. Kante vs. Rice

Meanwhile, Kante has been on the hunt for the Ballon d’Or with his performances in 2021 and Fabinho rarely goes into a game without cementing his status as one of Liverpool’s finest players.

So all that considered, even if you’re a little outraged to see Rice rub shoulders with Kante, we can surely agree with relative certainty that these four players are the best in their roles right now.

However, here at GIVEMESPORT we didn’t want to just end there as the Premier League‘s winter break has allowed us to take a closer and more statistical look at the quartet.

Statistical comparison

And having already looked at the best centre-backs and full-backs in the division using Squawka Comparison Matrix, we are again using his data to settle another burning debate in English football.

We’ve picked 35 stats that show different qualities in central defensive midfielders and counted which of Kante, Rodri, Fabinho and Rice come out on top in the most metrics.

The statistics in question are:

  • Games played
  • Keys
  • Ball recoveries
  • possession lost
  • Goals
  • Shoot the target
  • Aids
  • Chances Created
  • Passes attempted
  • Success Accuracy %
  • Long pass attempts
  • Successful long passes
  • % Long Pass Accuracy
  • Attempted crossings
  • Successful crossings and turns
  • % crossing accuracy
  • Successful crosses from open play
  • Through tempted bullets
  • Duels disputed
  • Tackles made
  • Fouls conceded on attempted tackle
  • Supports ended
  • Support % Success
  • Fouls won
  • Fouls conceded
  • Aerial duels disputed
  • Aerial duels won
  • % of success in aerial duel
  • Ground duels contested
  • Ground duels won
  • % of success in duel on the ground
  • Clearances
  • interceptions
  • Blocks
  • Clean sheets

Who emerges victorious?

The data is taken from Premier League matches this season and we ran the test through the ‘per 90 minutes’ filter to make sure players wouldn’t get an easier run if they racked up more minutes.

So, without further ado, be sure to check out who the stats are the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League right now by checking out who was the data darling below:

1. Rodri – 12.5

2. N’Golo Kante – 10.5

3. Rice Declan – 6.5

4. Fabinho – 5.5


Rodri wins

There you have it, the data suggests that – if nothing else – Rodri has been the most complete defensive midfielder in the Premier League so far in the 2021/22 season.

The Manchester City stalwart emerged victorious for chances created, passing accuracy, aerial duels won, clean sheets and more to reiterate his status as one of the best in the world in his position.

However, the fact that Kante was blowing down his neck through wins in metrics like ground duels won, clashes completed and tackles made really shows his endless quality.


Besides, the Chelsea hero has had a relatively quiet season by his standards but continues to produce the kind of stunning numbers that see him get the better of Rice and Fabinho.

Speaking of which, West Ham United and Liverpool aces shouldn’t be too dismayed given the level of competition and it’s not like they’re completely whitewashed.

This perhaps shows that Fabinho is not having his best season at Anfield and that Rice still has a bit of a way to go before he can truly compete for the CDM throne in the Premier League.

“Denis Zakaria at Man Utd, it’s possible!” (Football terrace)

Well, everyone will at least have “a little way to go” with Rodri proving to be so unstoppable right now…

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