Premier League 100: Ranking Best Players Entering 2018/19 Season

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterAugust 7, 2018

Premier League 100: Ranking Best Players Entering 2018/19 Season

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    We're on the eve of a brand new Premier League season.

    The 2018-19 campaign kicks off on Friday night as Manchester United take on Leicester City, and then we're into the thick of it; a 38-round slog to see who will be crowned champions, secure European berths and avoid relegation.

    As is tradition, B/R raises the curtain on this new term with an opening edition of the EPL100, a ranking of the very best players per position in the division. Once the season kicks off, this will turn into a rolling, performance-based ranking—shelving reputations and focusing solely on output—but for now, it's an overall ranking of the best.

    With no form to go on, we've simply asked "Who is better?"

    For example, James Tarkowski had a better 2018-19 season than Vincent Kompany, but most would still regard the Manchester City man as the better player. Bear this in mind when you flick through the rankings.

    Note: Badly injured players have not been included. That includes Laurent Koscielny, who at 32 and with a torn Achilles tendon is impossible to gauge, and Manuel Lanzini, who will miss the rest of the year at least with a torn ACL.


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    TF-Images/Getty Images

    Despite a pretty horrid World Cup, David De Gea's spot at the top of the goalkeeper rankings is more than secure. He's the best in the league, and for now it's not really up for debate.

    Ederson vs. Alisson is an interesting battle as they're closely matched and also compatriots; we've given Ederson the nod for second given he has a year in England under his belt and is more acclimatised.

    Hugo Lloris as low as seventh may surprise some people, but he's no longer the dependable No. 1 he was after an error-riddled 2017-18 season. Nick Pope props up the top 10, with honourable mentions going to Tom Heaton and Lukasz Fabianski.


    Top 10 Goalkeepers
    1David De Gea
    Manchester United
    2Ederson MoraesManchester City
    3Alisson BeckerLiverpool
    4Thibaut Courtois
    5Kasper SchmeichelLeicester City
    6Rui PatricioWolverhampton Wanderers
    7Hugo LlorisTottenham Hotspur
    8Jordan PickfordEverton
    9Bernd LenoArsenal
    10Nick Pope

Right-Backs/Right Wing-Backs

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    GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

    With Cesar Azpilicueta looking extremely likely to play right-back under Maurizio Sarri, he features in this section, placing in second behind 2017-18 Team of the Year selection Kyle Walker. Perhaps as he adapts back to the flank he overtakes Walker, but for now Azpilicueta will have to make do here.

    Kieran Trippier had an incredible World Cup, and Tottenham Hotspur fans will hope to see him translate those performances from country to club. He did things for England—such as dribble and take players on—that he rarely does for the Lilywhites.

    Leicester City have signed a good one in Ricardo Pereira; expect him to shine under Claude Puel's direction. 


    Top 10 RBs/RWBs
    1Kyle WalkerManchester City
    2Cesar Azpilicueta Chelsea
    3Antonio ValenciaManchester United
    4Ricardo PereiraLeicester City
    5Kieran Trippier
    Tottenham Hotspur
    6Trent Alexander-ArnoldLiverpool
    7DaniloManchester City
    8Hector Bellerin
    9Seamus ColemanEverton
    10Stephan LichtsteinerArsenal

Left-Backs/Left Wing-Backs

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    Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

    If Sunday's Community Shield match is anything to go by, Benjamin Mendy looks fit and ready to go. That should concern all Premier League right-siders, as he is one serious handful when powering forward.

    Andrew Robertson emerged as the answer to Liverpool's problems at left-back last season and will now get the chance to complete a full campaign in red. A few miles down the road, Everton have signed Lucas Digne from Barcelona—a player who rarely looked out of place at Barcelona when he got a chance to play.

    One to keep an eye is on Bernardo. That Brighton managed to sign him for less than £10 million may solely be down to his injury record, but if he stays fit he'll emerge as one of the most impressive in this position across the league.


    Top 10 LBs/LWBs
    1Benjamin MendyManchester City
    2Andrew RobertsonLiverpool
    3Marcos Alonso 
    4Lucas Digne Everton
    5Ben Davies Tottenham Hotspur
    6Nacho Monreal Arsenal
    7Emerson Palmieri Chelsea
    8Danny RoseTottenham Hotspur
    9Ryan BertrandSouthampton
    10BernardoBrighton & Hove Albion


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    Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

    Selecting the top three in this category was easy; Virgil van Dijk, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are leagues ahead of everyone else. From there, though, it gets tricky, as the next 10 or so names are pretty tough to split.

    If Eric Bailly can show the sort of form he began last season with, he'll be surging up the rankings in no time. There's no other Manchester United centre-back in our top 20, perhaps outlining why Jose Mourinho is pursuing one so aggressively in the transfer window.

    New Arsenal signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos made a lot of errors for Borussia Dortmund last season and has some convincing to do in 2018-19. The same, perhaps, can be said for his prospective partner, Shkodran Mustafi.


    Top 20 CBs
    1Virgil van DijkLiverpool
    2Toby AlderweireldTottenham Hotspur
    3Jan Vertonghen
    Tottenham Hotspur
    4John StonesManchester City 
    5Nicolas Otamendi
    Manchester City
    6Aymeric LaporteManchester City
    7Vincent Kompany Manchester City
    8Eric Bailly Manchester United
    9Davinson SanchezTottenham Hotspur
    10Harry Maguire
    Leicester City
    11James Tarkowski Burnley
    12Antonio RudigerChelsea
    13Ben MeeBurnley
    14Dejan LovrenLiverpool
    15Andreas ChristensenChelsea
    17Jamaal Lascelles Newcastle United
    18Lewis DunkBrighton & Hove Albion
    19 Shkodran Mustafi Arsenal
    20Jonny EvansLeicester City

Defensive Midfielders/Central Midfielders

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    Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

    Without a doubt the hardest section is this one, as it compares player profiles that are completely different in some scenarios. At the very top, Kevin De Bruyne and N'Golo Kante's roles are near-opposite at times, so it's tough to definitively label one better than the other.

    With that in mind, consider the top three a class of its own and order it how you like, then move down into a similarly jumbled run starting from Fernandinho and ending with Ander Herrera. Each and every one of them have their different strengths and weaknesses.

    This position probably boasts the most strength in depth this year, as evidenced by the list of players who didn't make the cut; it includes Mario Lemina, Aaron Mooy, Joao Moutinho, Adrien Silva, Victor Wanyama and many more.


    Top 20 DMs/CMs
    1Kevin De Bruyne 
    Manchester City
    2N'Golo Kante
    3David SilvaManchester City
    Manchester City
    5Paul Pogba
    Manchester United
    6 Naby Keita Liverpool
    9Mousa DembeleTottenham Hotspur
    10Nemanja MaticManchester United
    11 Ilkay Gundogan Manchester City
    12FredManchester United
    13Aaron RamseyArsenal
    14Ander HerreraManchester United
    15Lucas Torreira Arsenal
    16Abdoulaye Doucoure
    17Jean Michael SeriFulham
    18Wilfred NdidiLeicester City
    19Idrissa Gueye
    20Ruben NevesWolves

Attacking Midfielders/Wingers

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    PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

    Can Mohamed Salah pull another incredible season out of the bag? In Jurgen Klopp's system, he'll get a truckload more chances, so there may be nothing anyone can do to stop him if he finds his groove early.

    Leroy Sane's rapid progression sees him ranked above names such as Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Riyad Mahrez, but if you put reputations aside and focus squarely on the football, it's deserved.

    It's impossible to predict what kind of output Anthony Martial (if he's even in the Premier League by Friday) and Marcus Rashford will manage given their questionable roles in Jose Mourinho's team.


    Top 20 AMs/Wingers
    1Mohamed Salah Liverpool
    2Eden HazardChelsea
    3Christian Eriksen
    Tottenham Hotspur
    4Sadio ManeLiverpool
    5Leroy SaneManchester City
    6Alexis SanchezManchester United
    7Mesut OzilArsenal
    8 Raheem SterlingManchester City
    9Bernardo SilvaManchester City
    10Riyad Mahrez
    Manchester City
    11 Heung-Min SonTottenham Hotspur
    12Anthony Martial
    Manchester United
    13Dele AlliTottenham Hotspur
    15Marcus Rashford Manchester United
    16 Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace
    17Xherdan ShaqiriLiverpool
    18Jesse Lingard Manchester United
    19Henrikh Mkhitaryan
    20Felipe AndersonWest Ham United


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    Probably the second-trickiest category overall, ordering the strikers gave us multiple headaches. Again, it's a comparison of some very different players, with Jamie Vardy almost the antithesis of Gabriel Jesus, with the same going for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in comparison to Roberto Firmino.

    Harry Kane at No. 1 was easy, but then the tough questions began. Firmino's all-round contribution is stronger than any striker's and he doesn't lack for goals, so he claimed second ahead of elite poacher Sergio Aguero.

    If Chelsea put a bit of faith in Alvaro Morata, he could score hatfuls under Maurizio Sarri, while Marko Arnautovic looks set to continue as a striker if pre-season is anything to go by. He scoops 10th.


    Top 10 Strikers
    1Harry KaneTottenham Hotspur
    2Roberto Firmino 
    3Sergio Aguero 
    Manchester City
    4Romelu Lukaku
    Manchester United
    5Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal
    6Gabriel JesusManchester City
    7Jamie Vardy
    Leicester City
    8Alexandre Lacazette 
    9Alvaro Morata
    10Marko ArnautovicWest Ham United


    All statistics via