I feel that we could most certainly see increase his defence, his tackling and positioning definitely surpasses the people who sit on an 81 value, and just so you can see for yourself:
81: Philippe SENDEROS, Curtis DAVIES, Liam RIDGEWELL, Gaël GIVET, Clarke CARLISLE, Aaron HUGHES, Sotiris KYRGIAKOS, Nyron NOSWORTHY
Yeah, that seems about right now, doesn't it? Obviously that isn't perfect and I could probably see slight raises for the likes of Aaron Hughes and slight decreases for Senderos and Nyron Nosworthy, but that's an argument for another day. So, let's have a look at the people on an 82 for defence:
82: Johan DJOUROU, Joseph YOBO, Ryan SHAWCROSS, Gary CALDWELL
Now that's a pickle isn't it? I would personally say Ryan Shawcross is at least on par with him in terms of tackling, and with superior positioning, although I wouldn't be against raising him. Evans, I think has reached the stage where he has surpassed Djourou in terms of his defensive intelligence and is probably deserving to be above him, Yobo's not as positionally sound as young Jonny by a long way but Joseph's tackling is very, very accurate whilst Caldwell just looks completely out of place and quite frankly, could sit on a green value for defence.
In terms of raising or lowering other people, I'd do something like this
Senderos: 81 ---> 79/80
Nosworthy: 81 ---> 80
Hughes: 81 ---> 82
Davies: 81 ---> 80
Shawcross: 82 ---> 83
Yobo: 82 ---> 82 + Sliding
Caldwell: 82 ---> 79
Now if all these changes were to happen, I would be happy for him to sit on an 83 value for defence which would then put him on par with:
Carlos CUÉLLAR, Gary CAHILL, Branislav IVANOVIC, Daniel AGGER, Martin ŠKRTEL, Joleon LESCOTT, Abdoulaye DIAGNE-FAYE, Ryan SHAWCROSS
Which seems about right, although I could probably see a one point raise for Diagne Faye and a possible one point decrease for Skrtel.
"If you are first you are first. If you are second, you are nothing" - Bill Shankly.
"I guarantee fourth place" - Rafael Benitez.