While it takes bravery to commit to tackling as often as some of the players do in the Premier League, there is a real skill to winning the ball more often than not, with WhoScored investigating those players who not only throw themselves into tackles with superb regularity but come away with the ball cleanly at an exceptional rate.
None of the top three players in the league for total tackles won (Faurlin, Cabaye and Diame) feature in our top 10 when it comes to success rate, though all of those on our leaderboard have completed at least 35 tackles this season to ensure that they truly are consistent masters of the art.
To further assess each of the candidates' ability to win challenges we have also looked into the percentage of their successful tackles that have seen them come away with the ball, with some of the total occasionally going to other players, teammates or even out of play. We have calculated each players successful tackles against the challenges in which they have missed the ball or been dribbled past, so without further ado here is a look at our top 10, with an in-depth look at some of the standout performers.
Percentage of Tackle Attempts Won
When it comes to the mere tackles per game or total tackles stats one can expect to see a number of midfielders lead the way, particularly from lower sides in the league who are forced to make challenges more often. However, it takes looking at the percentage of tackle attempts won to understand the most successful tacklers in the league, with defenders coming to the fore in their chosen subject in the most past.
Many will be surprised to see Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny lead the way for success rate of players to have completed at least 35 tackles, with the Gunners' centre-back dispossessing his opponent in the challenge a remarkable 93% of the time (50 / 54).
Perhaps a less shocking inclusion is that of Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany in second, with his 88% success rate in the tackle having been missed of late as he sits out through suspension, incidentally due to what was deemed to be a bad tackle in the FA Cup - though he did win the ball!
The first of just 3 midfielders in the list is Bolton's Mark Davies in third, who has come into the team alongside the likes of Reo-Coker and Muamba - known for their tackling ability - and shown them how it's done. Over his 19 appearances, Davies has completed 46 out of 53 tackle attempts (87%).
Though Blackburn lost a youngster, and indeed key player, in Phil Jones in the summer the versatile Jason Lowe has tried to fill the void, from right-back in the most part. The 20-year-old is the youngest player on our leaderboard and deserves credit in completing 86% of his tackle attempts this season as part of a makeshift and often-inefficient back four.
Undoubtedly the most attacking player to make the top 10 is Fulham's Moussa Dembele, whose barnstorming performances in support of the Fulham front line have caught the attention of the likes of Tottenham. While the young Belgian has impressed with his flair and creativity this term, he has shown a superb ability in the tackle too, completing 64 out of 75 attempts (85%).
Completed Tackles to Come Away with the Ball
When it comes to the percentage of tackles that our analysed top 10 have won and successfully come away with possession of the ball in the process, there is a clear standout. The aforementioned Kompany backs up the common conception of many who believe he is one of the finest centre-backs in the league, and indeed Europe, by successfully coming away with the ball a magnificent 88% of the time. Of the 43 tackles he has completed, he has therefore successfully retained possession directly after the challenge on 38 occasions.
Somewhat unbelievably, Moussa Dembele ranks second behind the City skipper in this regard to come away with the ball from 81% (52) of the 64 tackles he has completed while in third place, the first of two Liverpool players in our top 10, Jose Enrique, is just behind on 80%. The much-improved Younes Kaboul of Tottenham places fourth having wowed many with his consistent performances that have perhaps made him Harry Redknapp's first choice centre-back among the company of the likes of King, Dawson and Gallas.
Two England international centre-backs - past and present - come 5th and 8th respectively, with Wes Brown and Phil Jagielka both having proved crucial to their sides this season and although he ranks 6th here, the brilliance in the tackle of Lucas Leiva cannot be overlooked. With 5.7 completed tackles per game - a total of 68 from just 12 appearances - Liverpool are missing the Brazilian's fighting spirit in midfield, with Lucas coming away with possession of the ball at his feet from 76% of his completed challenges.
Interestingly, the tables turn for the likes of Davies and Koscielny here, who rank 10th and 9th respectively with 63% and 64%, meaning that a high percentage of their challenges see the ball go to another player or out of play.
However, effectiveness when it comes to not being beaten by an opponent - with Koscielny failing to win the ball with just 4 clean tackle attempts thus far - will be crucial to each of their respective sides' success at either end of the table. Having had his critics in the past, the Frenchman is winning over the fans this season and, with all of Arsenal's injury woes at the back, will certainly be one of Wenger's most important players in the second half of the season.