EPL 100: Fascinating Facts from Premier League Player Rankings
In case you didn't catch it, B/R scouted and graded the top 100 players in the English Premier League coming into the 2013-14 season.
With so much to digest from it, this is the first of a series of articles to come taking nuggets of information and opening them up to public debate.
Here, we check in on the most heavily represented teams, who has the strongest defensive/offensive presence and more.
Most Represented Team: Chelsea
The most-represented team in the B/R EPL 100 was Chelsea, boasting 14 players among the league's elite.
Marco van Ginkel snuck in at No. 96, ensuring you can build a complete first XI of Chelsea players ranked in the top 100. You can't say the same for any other club, and perhaps that indicates a slight strength advantage in favour of Jose Mourinho's troops.
That's not to say it's a runaway, though, as Manchester City boast 12 in the rankings, while United slip into third place with 11.
The other nearest contenders were Arsenal (10), Liverpool (7) and Tottenham Hotspur (7).
Strongest Defensive Presence: Chelsea
Perhaps by virtue of being heavily represented, Chelsea boast the highest defensive presence in the B/R EPL 100.
Taking into account goalkeepers the Blues have six players featured, with Petr Cech (13th) and Branislav Ivanovic (23rd) finishing very highly.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Ashley Cole both achieved a top-50 placing to ensure the Blues' full-back quota is well stocked with quality, while Gary Cahill and David Luiz represent two excellent options to partner Ivanovic centrally.
Manchester City, Manchester United were hot on their heels once more, with Everton keeping pace too. All three teams had four representatives from their defensive setup.
Strongest Offensive Presence: Manchester City
Pipped by Chelsea in both overall numbers and defensive presence, Manuel Pellegrini will rest assured he has the best offensive arsenal to choose from in the league.
Manchester City have six attacking players—defined as wingers, forwards or attacking midfielders—in the top 100, with David Silva, Stevan Jovetic, Sergio Aguero and Jesus Navas in the top 25.
Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo feature a little later to indicate City's Chilean tactician has a wealth of world-class options to choose from, and City's attacking numbers far outweigh the large majority of the league.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United were all one shy of the mark with five.
Best Debut Seasons
The B/R EPL 100 also serves a fantastic marker for players in their debut Premier League seasons, measuring them against each other to see who made the biggest individual impact.
The highest-ranked newcomers for the 2012-13 season were Shinji Kagawa and Philippe Coutinho—the former should be set to enjoy a fantastic second season after disappointing initially, while the latter is expected to continue the explosive form shown from January onward.
The new crop this year, including Victor Wanyama, Andre Schuerrle and Stevan Jovetic, will be hoping to emulate their successes.
On the other side of the coin, there's a vast array of players 30 years of age and older who are still playing to an incredibly high level.
Robin van Persie (30) and Michael Carrick (32) both achieved a top-10 ranking, while Steven Gerrard (28th) and Frank Lampard (33rd) are proving they've still got "it" at 33 and 35 years of age respectively.
The top 25 is awash with young faces, pointing toward the fact that the modern game demands quickness, fresh legs and superb levels of mobility. Those punching at the same weight are doing so because they are technical masters or boast an incredible ability to read, understand, change and adapt to their own limits.
All of that rings true when you think of how Gerrard has converted from a barnstorming No. 10 to a regista-esque playmaker.
Is the Premier League Falling Dangerously Behind?
Perhaps the most damning of notes is delivered before the the rankings even begin.
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dante and Arturo Vidal were all ranked in the system to give readers a feel for scale of the grading, and it's no coincidence those four players were picked.
They are some of the best in their respective positions, and they all scored higher than any Premier League player.
Worrying? Perhaps a little, and when you take into account the lack of English representation in the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League last season, it becomes a paling realisation.