Premier League

Which players are the most dominant in the air in the Premier League?

Looking at outfield players who have played at least 500 minutes in the English top flight, some surprising names pop up

2:50pm on Thursday 14th January 2021
Martin Macdonald

West Brom midfielder Romaine Sawyers is the most dominant outfield player in the air in the Premier League in the 2020/21 campaign.

Sawyers has won 83% of the aerial duels he has been involved in this season, however looking closer at how often he is actually involved in aerial duels, he wins 0.9/1.0 on average per 90 minutes.

He may win the vast majority of his duels in the air, but compared to some of the other players on our leaderboard, he isn't involved in as many.

Second on the list is, surprisingly, Everton's Andre Gomes, who has won 78% of his aerial duels this campaign.

Normally seen as a creative force in midfield, Gomes certainly isn't known for his towering headers or his ability to dominate an opponent in the air, but when called upon this season he has emerged on top more often than not. On average, he wins 1.1/1.4 aerial duels per game.

Just in behind on 76% is Man Utd captain Harry Maguire. There is an argument to say that it is Maguire, not Sawyers, who is the most dominant player in the air in the league, simply because he is involved in aerial duels much more often.

Not only is he involved in more, averaging 5.3 per game, but he wins more, too, with 4.0.

Due to injuries, Joel Matip has been in and out of the Liverpool team this season, starting just seven matches in the Premier League. When he does play, he tends to perform well in the air, winning 2.9/3.9 aerial duels per match for a success rate of 75%.

Making up the top five is Reece James, who wins 2.0/2.7 duels in the air per 90 minutes for a success rate of 75%.

Premier League Aerial Duels Won

PlayerTeamDuels Won P90Overall Win %
Romaine SawyersWest Brom0.9/0.183%
Andre GomesEverton1.1/1.478%
Harry MaguireMan Utd4.0/5.376%
Joel MatipLiverpool2.9/3/975%
Reece JamesChelsea2.0/2.775%

Looking at every player in the Premier League who has played over 500 minutes and not just outfield players, then it is goalkeepers who dominate the standings.

However, we can hypothesise from this that the reason for their success could be attributed to receiving a lot more protection from referees, particularly during aerial duels.

2020/21 Premier League: Standings, Matches, Team Stats, Player Stats

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