You’d be forgiven for saying that any one of Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere or Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard are the best midfielders in the Premier League.
However, according to the latest set of results from Opta Crystal Palace’s Mile Jedinak is the best midfielder in the league. The result will come as no surprise to Palace fans with their captain a fan favourite amongst the Palace faithful.
The Australian has made 32 interceptions, made 24 clearances and won 34 tackles and 89 duels. Add to that his three goals and an assist so far this season and suddenly the 30-year-old has a case to be among the elite.
It seems the Socceroos skipper is carrying on from where he left off last season, a campaign where he only missed 45 minutes out of Palace’s 38 games, where he finished as the midfielder with the most interceptions (138) in Europe’s top five leagues. He also finished top of the Premier League statistics with clearances (155), tackles (102) and aerial battles (159).
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The defensive midfielder is far from the likes of Chelsea’s Spanish playmaker, Fabregas, who has nine assists already, but Neil Warnock’s decision to play him just in front of Palace’s back-four makes Jedinak one of the most desirable defensive midfielders the league has to offer.
Jedinak has come under some criticism of late with some poor passing percentages in recent games and a foolish sending off in the 3-1 defeat to Sunderland, but Palace will surely miss the 30-year-old when he leaves them for a month in January to captain his country in the 2015 Asian Cup.
Not just because he is the natural, stand out leader for his team, but for what he contributes in his tackling and interception abilities. The defensive midfielder is known for his physical approach on the field, his defensive discipline, aerial battles and fantastic leadership.
With a name like Mile (pronounced me-lay) you’d expect him to cover a fair distance on the pitch and he does exactly that, following the ball up and down the pitch for the full 90 minutes. He runs like a possessed animal throughout the game, chasing hard for every ball, closing every man down and once possession has been regained he is the first to look to play from the back. It’s exactly the type of player every Premier League team yearns for.
Those kind of performances saw him pick up Crystal Palace’s Player of the Year award for the 2012/13 campaign, during Palace’s quest for promotion, and narrowly miss out on the award last year.
So next time you’re comparing Gerrard and Fabregas with your friends, be sure to include Jedinak in that conversation, too.
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