Crystal Palace

TT Battle: Mamadou Sakho vs Harry Maguire

Crystal Palace will be looking to bounce back from consecutive Premier League defeats to Brighton and West Ham when they take on Leicester City at home this Saturday.

Defensively, the Eagles have been extremely poor in their last two outings, conceding a total of six goals, and manager Roy Hodgson will now be calling for an improvement at the back from his defenders including Mamadou Sakho.

As for Leicester, they, too, will not be happy with how they defended in their previous game after giving Tottenham plenty of space to attack in a recent 2-0 home loss.

The return of Harry Maguire to the starting XI, however, whenever it comes, will undoubtedly prove to be a massive boost for Claude Puel.

How, though, do Sakho and Maguire compare?

Mamadou Sakho

Collectively, of late, Crystal Palace’s back four have struggled. That being said, individually, Sakho is still a quality defender who has been massive for the Eagles since joining from Liverpool.

In the air, the Frenchman is so dominant, while on the ground he is probably one of the strongest tacklers in the Premier League.

On the ball, Sakho can make supporters feel very nervous at times with his unorthodox posture, yet the 28-year-old still displays qualities of a shrewd ball-playing centre-half.

On top of his ability to make a progressive pass into a team-mate, surprisingly, Sakho also has the sort of footwork that can see him get out of sticky situations.

TT Grade: B-

Harry Maguire

If spectators think Sakho is good on the ball, then they are in for a treat with Maguire. It was only until his heroics with England in the World Cup where the 25-year-old finally started to get most people’s attention.

But prior to that, Maguire was already showing in the Premier League with Hull City and Leicester what he is capable of.

The England international can play forward passes through the lines and into a team-mate to get attacks going, while he is also able to get his side on the front foot by stepping out of defence with the ball before going on a marauding run past the midfield.

And from a defensive standpoint, Maguire is a brilliant header of the ball, which is just one attribute that makes him a sturdy defender on top of being a gifted footballer.

TT Grade: A

TT Verdict:

While it may not look like it when watching them play, Sakho and Maguire are two similar defenders — or at least two defenders with similar attributes.

The pair are strong in the air and can both play forward passes out of defence. However, given Maguire is probably capable of doing a bit more when on the ball and is nowhere near as clumsy as Sakho, who can be prone to making a serious error, the Leicester man is the clear winner in this battle between Premier League centre-halves.

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