Fabian Balbuena was brought to West Ham this summer as Manuel Pellegrini looked to revitalise his defensive options.

The Paraguyan international endured a slightly sticky start but has found his groove now; he was exceptional against Chelsea on Sunday.

As per WhoScored, Balbuena sits atop the Premier League rankings for one crucial metric; which goes to show how well he has settled in.

Joint-most interceptions

(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)

The statistics show that Balbuena’s 18 interceptions in six Premier League games this season has not been beaten by anybody else in the top flight.

His numbers dwarf the likes of N’Golo Kante and Virgil van Dijk, and other more highly-regarded performers.

 

He shares the Premier League record with Watford’s Etienne Capoue, who would expect to be in the thick of the action more, due to his midfield role.

Balbuena has settled perfectly

(Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

The injury to Winston Reid and the departure of James Collins presented Pellegrini with both a headache and an opportunity.

He had to replace experienced, Premier League campaigners who had long since formed the bedrock of the Hammers team.

However, he was also able to freshen up his defensive options; adding quicker, more dynamic centre-halves who could adjust to his more forward-thinking style of play.

Opting for players from abroad like Balbuena, who had never played in the Premier League before, meant a period of adjustment would be required. It looks as if Balbuena’s has been short, as the stats show he is already making a contribution unbeaten by anyone else in the top flight.

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