EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players for the 2017-18 Season

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMay 15, 2018

EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players for the 2017-18 Season

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    The 2017-18 Premier League season concluded Sunday amid a feast of goals and entertainment. It was an apt way to wave goodbye to a campaign that produced record-breakers at both team and individual levels.

    With all 380 games in the books, it's time to draw a line under the campaign and rank—for the final time—the top performers in each position. We go through seven categories, ranging from goalkeeper through to striker, and list the best 10 or 20 players who have played in those areas.

    Only 2017-18 Premier League performances count toward a player's ranking—no cups, no European football, nothing else. We've been updating these rankings on a rolling basis since last August, but this is the final, crystalised cut.


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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Sometimes football surprises you; sometimes it's predictable. Our No. 1 and No. 2 goalkeepers reflect that.

    No one should be shocked that David De Gea was the best goalkeeper in 2017-18. He put Manchester United on his back and dragged them through the campaign, as he always seems to do.

    But the fact Ederson was the second-best will have shocked many. We've seen how tough it can be for goalkeepers to adjust to life in England fresh from signing abroad, and Ederson's risky play carries its own unique implosion tendencies. He's been brilliant, though, going against the grain and, to an extent, redefining the role.


    Top 10 Goalkeepers
    1David De Gea Manchester United
    Manchester City
    3Nick Pope Burnley
    4Lukasz Fabianski 
    Swansea City
    5Jordan PickfordEverton
    6Thibaut Courtois 
    7Mat RyanBrighton & Hove Albion
    8Kasper Schmeichel 
    Leicester City
    9Jonas Lossl 
    Huddersfield Town
    10Jack ButlandStoke City

Right-Backs/Right Wing-Backs

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Manchester City were criticised for spending £50 million-plus on Kyle Walker last summer, a transfer that moved the goalposts for full-backs and their fees, but he has been worth it. It's arguable Pep Guardiola wouldn't have been able to find a better-suited player for his team (and this league), even if he had double the amount to spend.

    The gap between Walker and the rest of the right-backs is a wide one. Victor Moses and Antonio Valencia, both so effective last season, have experienced serious drop-offs in 2017-18, while Burnley's Matthew Lowton has been the "best of the rest" due to his consistency, chance-creation and crossing.


    Top 10 RBs/RWBs
    1Kyle WalkerManchester City
    2Matthew Lowton
    3Antonio ValenciaManchester United
    4Victor MosesChelsea
    5Kieran TrippierTottenham Hotspur
    6Hector BellerinArsenal
    7DeAndre YedlinNewcastle United
    8Kiko FemeniaWatford
    9Cedric SoaresSouthampton
    10 Florent Hadergjonaj Huddersfield Town

Left-Backs/Left Wing-Backs

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    A first goal for Liverpool was the perfect way to round off what has been an incredible maiden season in red for Andrew Robertson. His buccaneering performance against Brighton yielded a goal, assist and a clean sheet, solidifying his hold on top spot.

    Fabian Delph isn't far off Robertson, his conversion to full-back a genuine victory for coaching, while Ben Davies has been solid and consistent all campaign long.

    Below third, things get a little murky. Marcos Alonso scored a lot but didn't defend so well, Ashley Young had high points and low points, and Patrick van Aanholt took a while to get going.


    Top 10 LBs/LWBs
    1Andrew RobertsonLiverpool
    2Fabian Delph
    Manchester City
    3Ben DaviesTottenham Hotspur
    4Marcos AlonsoChelsea
    5Ashley YoungManchester United
    6Stephen WardBurnley
    7Sead Kolasinac
    8Patrick van AanholtCrystal Palace
    9Ryan BertrandSouthampton
    10Ben Chilwell
    Leicester City


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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    This season's best centre-back was Jan Vertonghen. He combined consistent, error-free performances with big-game showings when it mattered the most.

    He lost his partner Toby Alderweireld to a bad injury halfway through the campaign but didn't miss a beat, somehow finding time to coax rookie Davinson Sanchez through almost 40 appearances along the way.

    Nicolas Otamendi and Cesar Azpilicueta were tough to separate, while Ben Mee might feel a little peeved that James Tarkowski's getting all the end-of-season attention.


    Top 20 CBs
    1Jan Vertonghen
    Tottenham Hotspur
    2Nicolas Otamendi
    Manchester City
    3Cesar AzpilicuetaChelsea
    4Ben Mee
    5James Tarkowski 
    6Jamaal Lascelles 
    Newcastle United
    7Antonio RudigerChelsea
    8Davinson Sanchez
    Tottenham Hotspur
    9Nacho Monreal
    10Virgil van DijkLiverpool
    11James Tomkins
    Crystal Palace
    12Christopher SchindlerHuddersfield Town
    13Harry Maguire
    Leicester City
    14Lewis DunkBrighton & Hove Albion
    15Andreas ChristensenChelsea
    16Florian LejeuneNewcastle United
    17Nathan AkeBournemouth
    18Phil JonesManchester United
    19Kurt Zouma
    Stoke City
    20Angelo OgbonnaWest Ham

Defensive Midfielders/Central Midfielders

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    It's a surprise so little was made of David Silva's case for PFA Player of the Year. The race came down to Kevin De Bruyne vs. Mohamed Salah, but Silva's influence on this Manchester City team felt impossible to separate from De Bruyne's at times.

    He, Fernandinho and N'Golo Kante are the clear top three in this section, each of them excellent in their own way. Nemanja Matic's consistent influence nets him fourth.

    Abdoulaye Doucoure ends up all the way down in 14th after his form dropped with Watford's, while season-ending injuries to Emre Can and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain placed a ceiling on how high they could rank.


    Top 20 DMs/CMs
    1David SilvaManchester City
    Manchester City
    3N'Golo Kante
    4Nemanja Matic
    Manchester United
    5Aaron RamseyArsenal
    6Mousa Dembele
    Tottenham Hotspur
    7Paul PogbaManchester United
    8Jack CorkBurnley
    9Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainLiverpool
    10Eric Dier
    Tottenham Hotspur
    11 Emre CanLiverpool
    12Wilfred Ndidi
    Leicester City
    13Luka MilivojevicCrystal Palace
    14Abdoulaye Doucoure
    15Mohamed DiameNewcastle United
    16Aaron Mooy
    Huddersfield Town
    17Pierre-Emile HojbjergSouthampton
    18Jonathan HoggHuddersfield Town
    19Cesc Fabregas
    20Mario Lemina

Attacking Midfielders/Wingers

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Mohamed Salah swept every award under the sun this season...except one: best attacking midfielder/winger in our EPL 100. 

    Kevin De Bruyne's been top of the list all season and finishes up in that spot. It's essentially the battle that took place for the Player of the Year awards, and it's a very close call between two worthy winners.

    Raheem Sterling pips colleague Leroy Sane to third, Sadio Mane finishes up sixth, Burnley and Brighton manage four representatives between them and we'll be expecting much more next season from the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Willian.


    Top 20 AMs/Wingers
    1Kevin De Bruyne
    Manchester City
    2Mohamed Salah
    3Raheem Sterling Manchester City
    4Leroy Sane Manchester City
    5Christian Eriksen 
    Tottenham Hotspur
    6Sadio Mane
    7Eden Hazard Chelsea
    8Heung-Min SonTottenham Hotspur
    9Riyad Mahrez
    Leicester City
    10Mesut OzilArsenal
    11Jesse LingardManchester United
    12Alexis SanchezManchester United
    13Dele AlliTottenham Hotspur
    14JB Gudmundsson
    15Jose Izquierdo
    Brighton & Hove Albion
    17Bernardo SilvaManchester City
    18Pascal GrossBrighton & Hove Albion
    19Ruben Loftus-Cheek
    Crystal Palace
    20Anthony Knockaert Brighton & Hove Albion


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    IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

    In the last weekend, Harry Kane produced enough to displace Roberto Firmino and claim the No. 1 striker spot. Having scored 30 goals—yet another personal best—you would do well to argue against the choice.

    Jamie Vardy's final salvo saw him reach the 20-goal mark, completing a successful-yet-understated season, while Wilfried Zaha—the true lifeblood of Crystal Palace—is recognised for his overwhelming influence.


    Top 10 Strikers
    1Harry KaneTottenham Hotspur
    2Roberto Firmino
    3Sergio Aguero
    Manchester City
    4Romelu Lukaku
    Manchester United
    5Gabriel JesusManchester City
    6Wilfried Zaha
    Crystal Palace
    7Jamie Vardy
    Leicester City
    8Alexandre LacazetteArsenal
    9Marko ArnautovicWest Ham United
    10Chris WoodBurnley



    All statistics via WhoScored.com