Football Features

Best Premier League left-Backs right now | 2023

By James Amey

Published: 7:00, 15 September 2023

The Premier League is home to some of the world’s best left-backs.

Some of football’s most talented full-backs have graced the Premier League in its history, from Ashley Cole to Dennis Irwin to Leighton Baines and everyone in between.

More on the best Premier League players:

But who are the standout left-backs right from 2023?

You’ll find a list of them below, based on their Squawka Score across 2023. Only players who have played 900+ minutes of Premier League football in 2023 are included.

Here are the five best left-backs in the Premier League.

5. Antonee Robinson

  • Team: Fulham
  • Minutes played: 2,160
  • Squawka Score: 56%

The American has been one of Fulham’s most consistent players since they returned to the English top flight at the beginning of last season, playing in 39 of their 42 league games. Robinson is now one of the first names on Marco Silva’s team sheet thanks to his impressive defensive numbers.

A per-90 average of 6.46 ball recoveries and 1.79 interceptions puts him in the top 20% for those metrics — and in the top five Premier League left-backs for his ‘Squawka Score’.

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4. Oleksandr Zinchenko

  • Team: Arsenal
  • Minutes played: 1,602
  • Squawka Score: 58%

Zinchenko’s injury issues at the start of this campaign look behind him after recently returning to the Arsenal side. This could not have come sooner for Mikel Arteta, as the Ukrainian provides perfect balance to the line-up. Inverting from left-back, Zinchenko is an important cog in the Spaniard’s system. His return also allows Thomas Partey to move to midfield, when he himself is back from injury.

Signed from Manchester City alongside Gabriel Jesus, Zinchenko — who can also play in midfield –brought a winning mentality to the Emirates as they pushed his former side all the way for the title. He will be hoping to stay injury-free for the rest of the season as the Gunners look to go one step further this time around.

3. Andy Robertson

  • Team: Liverpool
  • Minutes played: 1932
  • Squawka Score: 65%

Andy Robertson became the defender with the most assists in Premier League on Boxing Day, overtaking former Everton left-back Baines. His performances in 2023 have gone from strength to strength, within a Liverpool team yet to taste defeat at home this calendar year. He ended the 2022/23 campaign with eight assists, the most of any Premier League defender bar Trent Alexander-Arnold (9).

Robertson ranks in the top 20% for chances created, big chances created, pass accuracy, final third entries, penalty area entries, ball recoveries and touches. He has helped Jurgen Klopp’s side go 15 games unbeaten in the Premier League as they aim to return to the Champions League after missing out last term.

2. Pervis Estupinan

  • Team: Brighton
  • Minutes played: 2,228
  • Squawka Score: 66%

The Brighton full-back has excelled under new manager Roberto De Zerbi with freedom to attack at will down the Seagulls’ left-hand side. The Ecuadorian has created 1.98 chances and 0.32 big chances per 90 so far in 2023, which ranks in the top 5% and top 20% respectively. He also ranks within in the top 20% for touches in the opposition box (3.23), expected assists from open-play (0.15) and ball recoveries (7.1).

Estupinan is the only Premier League defender this calendar year to create 30+ chances and have 30+ shots in the competition. On top of that, he has provided more assists than any other left-back in that time (7). Little wonder, given he has also taken more touches in the opposition box than any other defender (80).

Honourable mentions

Ben Chilwell has more license to bomb forward under new boss Mauricio Pochettino. It may not be long before he replaces someone in the top five Premier League left-backs. However despite an assist against Liverpool on the opening day, he will want to improve his decision-making in the final third (especially with his shooting after the mishap against Luton).

Manchester City’s summer signing Josko Gvardiol was omitted as he obviously fell under the 900-minute threshold. Pep Guardiola seems set to use the Croatian at left-back this season, despite his ability to play at centre-back. Gvardiol has taken to English football well so far, looking comfortable in his two Premier League starts against Newcastle and Sheffield United. As an £80m signing, we expect there is much more to come.

1. Luke Shaw

Many left-backs have come and gone at Manchester United, but Luke Shaw remains their number-one choice. He will be a big miss for Erik ten Hag as he recovers from injury, especially when you take a deeper look into his defensive stats in 2023 (although this may be skewed slightly by his time played at centre-back). The 28-year-old ranks in the top 5% per 90 for blocks (0.91) and in the top 20% for touches, aerial duels won, final third entries, long passes, passes into the opposition half, chances created, big chances created and clearances.

The Red Devils have drafted in Spurs defender Sergio Reguilon to fill in during his absence. But the former Southampton man has several times before come back stronger (and from more serious injuries) to once again make the left-back spot his own.

How did we rank the Premier League’s best left-backs?

We used Twenty3 Sport’s Discovery Tool to run a customised search. The Discovery Tool rates a player’s per 90 output in the metrics detailed below to produce a percentage score, referred to above as the Squawka Score.

Each player’s stats are compared to the average output of left-backs across the past three seasons of big-five European league football. The closer they rank to the 95th percentile and above for each metric, the higher the score.

We also weighted each stat from 1 to 5 to highlight the most important aspects of a left-backs’ play style.

Squawka left-back ranking metrics Weighting
Touches | Pass acc. | Blocked shots | Clearances | Challenges lost (-)| Tackle fouls (-) 1
Aerial duels won | Touches in opp. box 2
Duels won | Take-ons  | Crosses | Passes into opp. half attempted | Chances created 3
Interceptions | Tackles | Final third entries | Penalty area entries | Big chances created 4
Ball recoveries | Open-play expected assists 5
(-) indicates a weighting that favours fewer instances within the relevant metric (e.g. fewest fouls conceded from tackles made)

To be awarded a score, a player must have reached the automatically calculated minutes threshold, in this case 900 minutes in the Premier League during 2023.