Much has been made of Per Mertesacker’s seeming mission to duck out of as many headers as possible in recent weeks, which has played its part in Arsenal conceding set-piece goals to both Stoke and Liverpool.
The statistics indicate that the giant German wins a respectable 70 per cent of his aerial duals, but for the tallest centre half in the Premier League, this record could be considered average at best.
It is interesting that Mathieu Debuchy has only lost eight of his 41 headers and this suggests that he could follow in the footsteps of the likes of Javier Mascherano and become a capable converted central defender despite being on the shorter side.
Former Cardiff midfielder Gary Medal also plays at the heart of the defence when on international duty with Chile, even though he is only 5ft 7ins tall.
But should Arsene Wenger decide that a more aerially-dominant defender is required in January, here are two of the better options from the Premier League menu.
Of all the defenders to have played over 100 minutes of Premier League action this season to date, no player can claim to have won a higher percentage of their headers than West Ham’s Welshman.
The Hammers’ win percentage more than doubles in their games to feature Collins in comparison to those without him and only six goals have been conceded with him on the pitch this season.
What managers want from their central defenders are players willing to put their bodies on the line and attack every aerial ball.
Shawcross arguably does this better than anyone in the top-flight and only Steven Caulker has won more headers than Stoke’s skipper this season, albeit at a far lower percentage.
The former Manchester United trainee best combines winning headers with a high percentage of doing so and it has remained a slight mystery how a bigger side hasn’t come knocking for him in recent seasons.