As the 2022-23 campaign comes to a close, we find it the perfect time to take a look at which teams across Europe’s top five leagues have put together the most secure defences in their respective league competitions.
The great Sir Alex Ferguson famously once said ‘attack wins you games, defence wins you titles’ but you knew that because it’s become one of the most cliché, overused quotes in football. Obviously.
Having said that, the man did win 13 league titles and two Champions Leagues among countless other accolades during a 26-year spell in charge of Manchester United, thus the chances are he probably knows what he’s talking about. So, without further ado, here are the 10 teams in Europe’s major leagues with the most clean sheets.
10. Real Sociedad – 11
Somewhat of a surprise package in La Liga this season, Real Sociedad find themselves at the front of a battle to steal fourth place and clinch a spot in the Champions League for next season.
Imanol Alguacil’s side have finished in the Europa League positions in their last few seasons, but a good defence could be key to finally breaking through and pushing into the top four.
9. Arsenal – 12
It’s perhaps surprising to see the Gunners only as high as ninth across the top five leagues, considering how long they’ve spent at the top of the Premier League table this season.
So long as they lift the title at the end of next month, though, they really won’t be all that concerned.
Aaron Ramsdale talks us through why he became a goalkeeper, 𝙏𝙃𝘼𝙏 save against Leicester and which teammate he’d trust in goal. 😅
The @premierleague Castrol Save of the Month Winner for March for 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘒𝘦𝘦𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘝𝘪𝘦𝘸… pic.twitter.com/feqpFfFobC
— Castrol (@Castrol) April 14, 2023
8. Paris Saint-Germain – 12
PSG rarely have to worry about dropping the ball over in Ligue 1. Despite the occasional flurry from a side who muster up enough talent and momentum to disrupt the status quo, they essentially have a golden ticket to their domestic league title every season.
But Christophe Galtier – despite failing to help them to European glory – has made them a better-balanced outfit this season, which is quite the achievement considering their attacking roster.
7. Lens – 12
Matching Les Parisiens’ defensive record thus far appears to have been key in Lens being the surprise package in the French top flight this season.
The side from the north of France look set for second place in Ligue 1 if they can finish the season strong. Former Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba has played a big role in that, and deserves credit after returning to his native country.
6. Newcastle United – 13
We know, you’re sick of hearing the praise about ‘plucky underdogs’ Newcastle, who are as much of a plucky underdog as John Cena was to WWE at this point. Sure.
But credit where it’s due, they’ve been mightily impressive in how they’ve ascended sensibly. Nick Pope has been imperious between the sticks, and St. James’ Park has become a fortress.
Nick Pope is even making saves outside the box! 😅🧤 pic.twitter.com/8FQDxi8xpk
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) April 10, 2023
5. Roma – 13
A famed Italian side, managed by Jose Mourinho, being praised for their defensive solidity? This is football heritage.
It’s been a little chaotic at times – and Mourinho has seemingly been sent off more times than I’ve had hot meals – but Roma have for the most part impressed and could still finish inside the top four in Serie A for the first time since 2017-18.
4. Manchester United – 14
Massive credit to Erik ten Hag for not only rescuing but seemingly reviving the rapidly sinking ship that was Manchester United. Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez deserve significant kudos, too.
Just a shame that the occasional freak thrashings – you know the ones, United fans – appear to have ruined their goal difference and their chances of challenging for anything more than the top four.
This save from David de Gea! 😲pic.twitter.com/nWlQbVDvhj
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) January 18, 2023
3. Napoli – 14
While all the focus has been on how incredible Luciano Spaletti’s attack has been for Napoli this season, their defence has been quietly just as important.
Kim Min-jae has stood out and put the rest of Europe on watch, while Alex Meret has stepped up in goal for the Serie A champions-elect.
2. Lazio – 18
Chasing the runaway leaders in Serie A is Lazio, who have been tremendous and sit second in the table.
Maurizio Sarri’s side are playing an attractive brand of football, making it effective and have only conceded 20 goals in the league after 30 games. That’s an absurdly good defence.
1. Barcelona – 22
It’s amazing what several economic levers – whatever they are – and a trip to Turkey for your starting goalkeeper can do to get a club back on the right path.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has been playing like a man possessed since obtaining a new hairline, while Barcelona find themselves back on top of La Liga despite their precarious financial situation. Credit must go to Xavi, though, who has found excellent solutions with the pressure firmly on as a young head coach at perhaps the biggest club in the world.
Which was your favourite Ter Stegen save against Betis? pic.twitter.com/T1xeuLhO06
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 14, 2023