EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players for the 2017-18 Season
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.
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.
|1||David De Gea||Manchester United|
|2||Ederson ||Manchester City|
|4||Lukasz Fabianski ||Swansea City|
|6||Thibaut Courtois ||Chelsea|
|7||Mat Ryan||Brighton & Hove Albion|
|8||Kasper Schmeichel ||Leicester City|
|9||Jonas Lossl ||Huddersfield Town|
|10||Jack Butland||Stoke City|
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.
|1||Kyle Walker||Manchester City|
|3||Antonio Valencia||Manchester United|
|5||Kieran Trippier||Tottenham Hotspur|
|7||DeAndre Yedlin||Newcastle United|
|10||Florent Hadergjonaj||Huddersfield Town|
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.
|2||Fabian Delph||Manchester City|
|3||Ben Davies||Tottenham Hotspur|
|5||Ashley Young||Manchester United|
|8||Patrick van Aanholt||Crystal Palace|
|10||Ben Chilwell||Leicester City|
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.
|1||Jan Vertonghen||Tottenham Hotspur|
|2||Nicolas Otamendi||Manchester City|
|5||James Tarkowski ||Burnley|
|6||Jamaal Lascelles ||Newcastle United|
|8||Davinson Sanchez||Tottenham Hotspur|
|10||Virgil van Dijk||Liverpool|
|11||James Tomkins||Crystal Palace|
|12||Christopher Schindler||Huddersfield Town|
|13||Harry Maguire||Leicester City|
|14||Lewis Dunk||Brighton & Hove Albion|
|16||Florian Lejeune||Newcastle United|
|18||Phil Jones||Manchester United|
|19||Kurt Zouma||Stoke City|
|20||Angelo Ogbonna||West Ham|
Defensive Midfielders/Central Midfielders
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.
|1||David Silva||Manchester City|
|4||Nemanja Matic||Manchester United|
|6||Mousa Dembele||Tottenham Hotspur|
|7||Paul Pogba||Manchester United|
|10||Eric Dier||Tottenham Hotspur|
|12||Wilfred Ndidi||Leicester City|
|13||Luka Milivojevic||Crystal Palace|
|15||Mohamed Diame||Newcastle United|
|16||Aaron Mooy||Huddersfield Town|
|18||Jonathan Hogg||Huddersfield Town|
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.
|1||Kevin De Bruyne||Manchester City|
|3||Raheem Sterling||Manchester City|
|4||Leroy Sane||Manchester City|
|5||Christian Eriksen ||Tottenham Hotspur|
|8||Heung-Min Son||Tottenham Hotspur|
|9||Riyad Mahrez||Leicester City|
|11||Jesse Lingard||Manchester United|
|12||Alexis Sanchez||Manchester United|
|13||Dele Alli||Tottenham Hotspur|
|15||Jose Izquierdo||Brighton & Hove Albion|
|17||Bernardo Silva||Manchester City|
|18||Pascal Gross||Brighton & Hove Albion|
|19||Ruben Loftus-Cheek||Crystal Palace|
|20||Anthony Knockaert||Brighton & Hove Albion|
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.
|1||Harry Kane||Tottenham Hotspur|
|3||Sergio Aguero||Manchester City|
|4||Romelu Lukaku||Manchester United|
|5||Gabriel Jesus||Manchester City|
|6||Wilfried Zaha||Crystal Palace|
|7||Jamie Vardy||Leicester City|
|9||Marko Arnautovic||West Ham United|
All statistics via WhoScored.com