Ranking EPL's Top 10 Players over 30
The English Premier League can boast some of the world’s brightest young players, some of whom will light up Brazil during the World Cup next year. On the other hand, though, the league still has some excellent players aged 30 or over.
This list is all about right now. Form is everything here, and there's no room for sentiment based on past performances. For instance, Ryan Giggs may be one of the top Premier League players of all time, but as of right now, he doesn't make the cut.
Instead, we will look at which players have driven their teams on during the early stages of the season.
So, without further ado, let's take a look at the EPL's top 10 players over 30.
Naturally, a few players were unlucky to miss out on the top 10. Here, we take a look at the best of the rest:
Kevin Nolan, 31, West Ham United
Despite not scoring as often as he has done in the past, Nolan remains the lynchpin within Sam Allardyce's five-man midfield. His assist for Ravel Morrison's goal against Norwich proves his worth.
Petr Cech, 31, Chelsea
Still one of the best keepers in the league, he is as important to Chelsea as any of their attacking stars.
Jermain Defoe, 31, Tottenham Hotspur
He may be limited in other areas, but Defoe can still score goals. That will prove invaluable for Spurs as they go deeper in Europe and challenge in the Premier League.
Jonas Olsson, 30, West Brom
The Swede is resolute at the heart of the West Brom defence, and he has been for some time now. His altercation with Jose Mourinho aside, Olsson is cool, calm and collected for the most part.
10. Jussi Jaaskelainen, 38, West Ham United
A poor showing against Norwich aside, Jussi Jaaskelainen remains as solid as ever between the posts.
His performance against Southampton, in which he made a number of crucial saves, preserved a point for his side against one of the league’s form teams.
He has conceded just 11 goals in 11 games so far, and that’s why he makes the top 10.
Of course, the defenders can take much of that credit too, but Jaaskelainen is a more-than-capable final line of defence.
The veteran keeper still has much to offer.
9. Kolo Toure, 32, Liverpool
He may be in the latter stages of his career, but Kolo Toure has still managed to add some much-needed defensive steel in the Liverpool back line.
Since arriving from Manchester City, the Ivorian has enjoyed a new lease of life under Brendan Rodgers and is repaying his manager’s faith. He’s been a mainstay in the starting lineup and looks to be a settled player at Liverpool.
He is the only defender in the top 10, which speaks volumes about the season he has had.
With Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge scoring goals for fun at the other end, Toure and Co. have been equally as important in defence.
There’s never been a question about Toure's ability. He was, after all, part of Arsene Wenger's renowned "Invincibles" squad back in 2004. This season, we have seen shades of that Kolo Toure once again.
8. Artur Boruc, 33, Southampton
With Southampton’s young stars grabbing all of the headlines early in the season, it's fitting that they are safeguarded by an older goalkeeper.
Despite being beaten by Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic's freak goal, Boruc has been impressive.
Everyone is waiting for Southampton’s fall from grace. If it does happen, it's vital that players like Boruc remain steadfast on and off the pitch in order to keep the young players' heads afloat.
He creeps ahead of Jaaskelainen in the top 10 courtesy of the fact that the Saints have conceded just five goals in 11 games, the fewest in the Premier League.
7. Tomas Rosicky, 33, Arsenal
As B/R suggested last week, Arsenal may be seeing the best of Tomas Rosicky right now.
He has flown somewhat under the radar due to Aaron Ramsey’s barnstorming performances and the arrival of Mesut Ozil this season.
But maybe that suits him.
When fully fit, he has been a shoo-in for Arsene Wenger and capped a fine start to the season with a superb display against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. It is his tenacity that has been impressive in the early stages of this campaign.
That's why he makes the top 10.
Sure, Rosicky has shown in the past that he can mix it with the better players technically, but his tackling and hard-working performances have added an extra bite to Arsenal's midfield.
He was missed in the defeat to Manchester United, and it proved telling.
6. Gareth Barry, 32, Everton (on Loan from Manchester City)
It's no exaggeration to say that Gareth Barry could be one of the signings of the season if Roberto Martinez's side continues the way they have started.
Barry has been at the centre of it.
In the victory over Chelsea, he protected the back four and allowed Everton's attacking players to flourish. It's not a glamorous role that he plays, not by any means, but it's extremely effective.
Barry sneaks ahead of Rosicky because he is plying his trade for a new team, whereas Rosicky has been at Arsenal for years. Barry's settled quickly, and it's showed.
He's unlikely to be wanted by Manchester City in the long-term, but he's arguably found his permanent new club already. He fits the Everton side like a glove.
5. Rickie Lambert, 31, Southampton
How times have changed for Rickie Lambert.
His career trajectory has seen him jump from the lower leagues all the way to the top half of the Premier League with one of the country’s most exciting sides.
Oh, and if that wasn't enough, he's also earned a spot in the England squad.
Much like Boruc, Lambert provides a dash of experience in an otherwise youthful squad. His physicality, his presence and his goals make him Southampton's talisman.
That is why, even when goals prove hard to come by, he is critical to the Saints. Form-wise, he had to be in the top 10.
4. Robin Van Persie, 30, Manchester United
Last season, Robin van Persie would have topped this list. By the end of the current campaign, expect him to be there or thereabouts once again.
It's a horrible cliche, but goals win games.
The Dutchman's goals guided United to a 13th Premier League title last season, and he has continued under David Moyes where he left off with Sir Alex Ferguson.
He cut a frustrated figure in some of United's early games, particularly against Liverpool, but he has steadily improved to lead the line superbly.
His winning goal against his former club Arsenal, and the performance that went with it, demonstrated his importance to Manchester United. If he can shake off the niggling injuries that have hampered him this season, he will no doubt lead United’s charge for silverware.
Van Persie sits ahead of Lambert due to the fact that he has seven goals to Lambert's four.
3. Steven Gerrard, 33, Liverpool
Much like the aforementioned Ryan Giggs, Steven Gerrard will go down as one of the Premier League greats.
And he is still as important for Liverpool as ever.
Involved in all four goals in the win over Fulham, Gerrard is showing he has plenty to offer even if his role has changed. His teammate Jose Enrique explained to The Independent's Carl Makham why that's the case:
Gerrard has been playing fantastic as always, our captain is really important for us. When you get older you lose something physically; when he was playing with (Fernando) Torres for example he was playing behind the striker and now he is deeper on the ball. He is playing with Lucas (Leiva) in a role he did not play when he was younger but the quality of the passes, crosses and free-kicks he is still doing the same thing. His quality is amazing.
Don't be too surprised if Gerrard starts for England in Brazil next summer. He has it in him to do so.
2. Michael Carrick, 32, Manchester United
Michael Carrick has almost single-handedly held the Manchester United midfield together for the last two years.
Criticised in his first few seasons for not having a big enough impact on the game, Carrick has blossomed to become one of the Premier League’s finest midfielders on current form. His range of passing is limitless, his defensive cover is invaluable and he has established himself as one of the team's best players.
There are few players in the Premier League who can dictate the tempo of a match like Carrick.
Carrick sneaks ahead of Gerrard given that he is slightly fresher and is still at the very top of his game. Both are indispensable for their clubs, but Carrick is more so right now.
If David Moyes spends big in the next transfer window, Carrick might be relieved of some of the pressure that has been bestowed upon him during United's stuttering start this season.
Should that happen, then we may see an even better Michael Carrick.
1. Yaya Toure, 30, Manchester City:
Apart from Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure has been Manchester City's best player in the early stages of this season. Curling free-kick goals are becoming somewhat of a habit for the combative, technically adept midfield enforcer, and he is still roaming from box to box.
He really does have it all.
He was monstrous in the Manchester derby and is one of the better Premier League players regardless of age. His form has dipped at times, and he has been anonymous in a few games, but he is the standout player over the age of 30 right now.
He edges out Michael Carrick and Steven Gerrard courtesy of his better all-round ability. Toure is doing everything that those two are doing and more.
If City are to regain the Premier League title, then Yaya Toure will have to be at his very best. On his day, he is unstoppable.