Ranking EPL's Top 10 Performers Thus Far
The EPL season is now well under way, but who have been the top 10 performers thus far? Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey has rediscovered his form, Yaya Toure has been as colossal as ever for Manchester City and Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge can’t stop scoring.
All three are set to feature.
There are a number of criteria taken into account in ranking the EPL’s standout players thus far. The most important factor, however, is the overall impact the player has had for their team.
This can be in the form of goals, assists, tackles or saves. But, generally speaking, the players have been ranked on how important they've been for their respective teams.
So, without further ado, let’s run through the EPL’s top 10 performers thus far.
As is always the way, there are a number of players who just missed out on the top 10, but still deserve an honourable mention.
Christian Benteke, Aston Villa
The Belgian striker has started this season well with four goals. The current joint-top scorer in the Premier League enjoyed a wonderful season last year and will be crucial to his side’s hopes again this season. Unfortunately for Villa, a hip injury is set to keep him out of action for at least a month.
Gareth Barry, Everton
In the midst of Everton’s bright, attacking players, it’s the more pragmatic Gareth Barry who has stood out. He was excellent against Chelsea, disrupting play and guarding the back four superbly. Following his season-long loan move from Manchester City, Barry could prove to be one of the signings of the summer if he maintains such a high standard.
Jussi Jaaskelainen, West Ham
The 38-year-old Finn has been outstanding for West Ham in the early stages of this season. He was magnificent against Southampton and effectively earned his side a point with a number of crucial saves. Unlucky to miss out on the Top 10, he was bested by two goalkeepers who have been slightly more impressive.
Hatem Ben Arfa, Newcastle
There is no doubting the Frenchman’s ability, it’s just a case of him staying fit and playing regularly. His curling winner against Fulham illustrated his talent, and Newcastle will need him to build upon his bright start to the season.
There are, of course, a number of other players who came close to making the top 10. Please feel free to leave a comment if you think a player was worthy of an honourable mention!
10. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham
Spurs have conceded just once in five games this season, with Hugo Lloris excellent between the posts.
He came superbly off his line to deny Cardiff's Frazier Campbell a goal-scoring opportunity last weekend, even he if was close to handling the ball outside of his box.
His speed off the line is a real asset to Spurs’ defence.
That he has ousted Brad Friedel for a place in the starting lineup is a testament to his growing importance for Tottenham.
Lloris is one of the finest goalkeepers in the Premier League, although he is not the highest ranked in this top 10…
9. Ross Barkley, Everton
Ross Barkley has revelled in Roberto Martinez's Everton side.
With Gareth Barry anchoring, Barkley has enjoyed the freedom of his attacking role. The English youngster is particularly adept at finding and utilising space in the final third.
Capable with either foot, he capped an impressive performance on the opening day against Norwich with a tremendous left-footed strike.
The 19-year-old is the youngest player in the top 10 and finds himself at No. 9 due to his maturity in being the focal point of Everton’s attack.
Barkley is clearly important to Martinez’s style of play and he has repaid his manager’s faith in the first few games.
And who knows, if he carries on stringing together such impressive displays he could find himself on the plane to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
8. Simon Mignolet, Liverpool
Simon Mignolet’s last-gasp heroics in saving Jon Walters’ penalty ensured that Liverpool made a winning start to the season against Stoke. It was a fine debut for the Belgian.
It’s also the reason why he is ranked higher than Hugo Lloris of Tottenham, because he has come straight into the Liverpool side and looked at ease.
After Pepe Reina’s departure it was crucial that Liverpool brought in a keeper of high quality—and Mignolet has been the standout keeper in the early stages of this season.
His triple save against Southampton ensured that Liverpool only slipped to a marginal 1-0 defeat.
While Daniel Sturridge has rightly earned his plaudits for Liverpool’s fine start, Mignolet’s role cannot be understated.
7. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United
Wayne Rooney's performances of late suggest that he is returning to something near his very best.
But for a few more goals and a little more creativity in the final third, he could have found himself higher in the top 10.
He was the only player in red to come away from the Manchester derby with any credit for his performance after scoring yet another fine free-kick.
He was demonstrably the best player on the pitch against Chelsea and his absence against Liverpool was telling.
Rooney was quiet last season but after a summer in which transfer speculation was rife, he has started the season strongly.
6. Paulinho, Tottenham
Tottenham's hardest task this season was to buy quality players in the wake of Gareth Bale's transfer to Real Madrid.
While the likes of Roberto Soldado, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela certainly fit that bill, it is the Brazilian Paulinho who has impressed the most.
Bridging the gap between defence and attack, Paulinho has settled quickly into a new-look Spurs team.
His classy winner against Cardiff ensured Tottenham maintained a strong start to the season. It was fitting that the Brazilian should be the one to earn the three points.
Paulinho allows others around him to prosper and he’s already become one of Tottenham’s most important players.
He’s made a fine start to the season, with only three midfielders ranked higher in the top 10...
5. Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool
In the absence of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge has assumed responsibility in Liverpool’s attack and has four goals from five games.
He ranks higher than Rooney courtesy of the fact that he’s scored three game-winning goals and is the league’s joint-top scorer.
With Suarez’s return imminent, Sturridge will be looking to add to his goal tally on the back of the Uruguayan’s creativity.
The pair showed signs last season that they can work well together, which only bodes well for Liverpool and Sturridge.
4. Olivier Giroud, Arsenal
Olivier Giroud has equalled Sturridge’s goal tally and has been the Premier League’s star striker thus far.
His deft winner against Spurs was significant in the context of Arsenal’s start to the season, since the Gunners have only gotten better following the North London derby.
He didn’t have a bad season last year, but he didn’t score enough goals.
Giroud will be charged with scoring at least 15 Premier League goals and his excellent start means he is set to be one of Arsenal’s key players this season.
There is a wealth of attacking talent at Arsenal—and Giroud will be pivotal in ensuring that translates into goals.
3. Mesut Ozil, Arsenal
When you spend £42 million on a player, you expect an immediate return.
With Mesut Ozil's first few touches in an Arsenal shirt he expertly brought down a Kieran Gibbs pass before squaring to Olivier Giroud for his first assist in the Premier League.
His hat-trick of assists against Stoke proved it was no fluke.
Giroud is relishing having someone of Ozil’s class to feed off, which is why the German is one place higher in the top 10.
He’s looked comfortable in an Arsenal shirt and looks to have grasped the pace of the Premier League.
But let's talk about impact.
Ozil's most important contribution is intangible. His arrival has uplifted his teammates and the club's fans alike.
Before the season started there was an undercurrent of worry and angst at the Emirates, yet Ozil’s arrival has quashed the negativity after just a handful of games.
2. Yaya Toure, Manchester City
Yaya Toure has been central to Manchester City's strong start to the season and he was rampant in the derby against Manchester United.
Powerful from box-to-box, he’s added goals to his game with three in five league appearances.
His goals see him climb one place higher than Ozil, yet both players have made good all-round starts in terms of passing and creativity.
For all of City’s summer signings, it is Yaya Toure who remains integral to City’s title-winning ambitions this season.
His pinpoint free-kick against Newcastle showcased his technical ability to go alongside his physical presence.
As impressive as he has been, however, there is one midfielder who has ousted him for the top spot...
1. Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal
Aaron Ramsey has been the standout player in the Premier League thus far.
For all of Giroud's goals and Ozil's brilliance in the final third, it is Aaron Ramsey who has been Arsenal's most important player.
It's almost as if he is a new signing, such is the contrast to his performances of last season.
It’s difficult to separate Yaya Toure and Aaron Ramsey from the starts the pair have made to the season. Ramsey, however, secures top spot as a result of his overall impact.
The Welshman has been the driving force behind an Arsenal side which has recovered well from a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa.
After suffering a horrific leg break in 2010 it seemed that he would never return to fulfill the promise he showed as a youngster.
Of course, there is a long way to go, but a rejuvenated Ramsey could be one of the stories of the season.