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Several players have put their names forward for the title of best Premier League right-back this season, but who is currently leading the way?
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, Manchester City’s João Cancelo, and Chelsea’s Reece James undoubtedly sit top of the pile. But can they be separated as we go into the busy festive period?
Alexander-Arnold – 2 goals, 8 assists
The Liverpool youngster is undoubtedly well on his way to Premier League folklore. At just 23, he has lifted the trophy once, and has twice been named in the PFA Team of the Year. Alexander-Arnold has continued such fine form over recent years this season.
The Liverpool full-back boasts two goals and eight assists so far. He also has nine clean sheets to his name. He clinched last month’s Player of the Month award thanks to his one goal, four assists and two clean sheets in November.
Reece James – 4 goals, 5 assists
The Chelsea right-back has had an astonishing season so far. His four league goals place him joint-second in the club’s top scorers leaderboard. Only Mason Mount (7) has more. James is, however, joint-top of the assists leaderboard. He has five, alongside Mateo Kovacic.
The defender has been given a very attacking role by Thomas Tuchel. And it has proven to be a wise move. The clean sheets have certainly dried up for the Blues in recent weeks, but James’ performances have yet to drop. It’s his best season so far in a Chelsea shirt.
João Cancelo – 1 goal, 6 assists
Not only has City defender Cancelo shone at right-back, but he has also starred at left-back. His versatility is there for all to see, with Pep Guardiola fortunate to have such a talented player at his disposal.
The Portuguese full-back has bombed forward on every possible opportunity this season. That was particularly evident in the club’s 4-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday. The defender netted his first goal of this Premier League campaign. He also has six assists to his name, with his ten clean sheets crucial to City’s success so far.
28. It's one of the goals of the season! 🔥
On his 100th appearance, Cancelo picks the ball up in the middle of the park, drifts past one, fakes onto his strong foot and then unleashes a rocket past Dubravka! 🚀
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 19, 2021
Which other right-back has impressed most?
There are, however, a handful of right-backs that certainly aren’t a million miles away from the leading three. And Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu is among the very best of the rest.
The 23-year-old has been a revelation since joining the Gunners from Bologna in the summer. He certainly isn’t the most attacking full-back. But his focus on defensive duties more than makes up for that. He has been key to helping the club stay tight at the back, with the defender keeping nine clean sheets so far.
Southampton’s Tino Livramento is another who has had a successful season on an individual level. West Ham’s Ben Johnson has also been in fine form.
Elsewhere, Wolves right-back Nelson Semedo and Aston Villa’s Matty Cash have also impressed. Both Tariq Lamptey and Max Aarons meanwhile are already well on the way to establishing themselves as top right-backs at just 21.