Defensive duo Federico Fernandez and Karl Darlow are top of the Premier League table for clearances and saves made so far this season.
Argentine Fernandez has had to make 42 clearances this campaign so keep the opposition attack at bay – more than ANY other Premier League player seven games into the new season.
He was instrumental in our 2-1 win against Everton yesterday and arguably our best player on the day, making countless blocks, tackles and vital interceptions.
The 31-year-old is out of contract next summer, but he’s ageing like a fine wine and should be handed a new deal, being our most reliable centre-back for me.
Elsewhere, goalkeeper Darlow is following a similar trajectory to Martin Dubravka, who last year saved the most efforts on goal than anyone else in the top flight.
He has made a whopping 34 stops in just 7 appearances which means he is averaging almost five a game, pondering calls about whether he should be considered for international duty.
Are these stats a concern? They are unwanted to an extent but do showcase just how important our solid backline has been to our success in recent years.
Dubravka certainly has a fight on his hands to dethrone Darlow once he returns from injury – despite being our player of the season in 2019/20.
As for Fernandez, he continues to be one of the club’s unsung heroes and has worked his way up the pecking order after being out of Bruce’s initial plan when he first arrived at the club last summer.