EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players After Matchday 16
This weekend marks the final stage before the hectic festive period in the Premier League begins. It will be our last slice of normality ahead of wall-to-wall fixtures to end the year, and this article serves as your stock check on how the best players are performing heading into it.
Only performances in the 2018-19 Premier League season affect this ranking. Reputations, cup performances and European showings matter not.
To be eligible, players need to have started at least 50 per cent of the games—so, in this case, eight (or more) out of 16. That rules the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Ross Barkley out for this edition.
Players who have appeared in multiple positions (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Richarlison) are categorized by the spot they've played most. If those values are level, they fall into the category for the role they played most recently.
The idea is for our rankings to give you an idea on a week-to-week basis of who the best in each position has been this season. So, if a Team of the Season was crowned this early, the No. 1s in each category would be our choices.
There are some major shifts among the top order of goalkeepers, among which the headline is Alisson Becker completing a remarkable rise to claim the No. 1 spot. He has been great all season but particularly great of late, with every facet of his game shining.
Following him closely into second is Ben Foster, who saved his second penalty of the season on Monday night in another excellent display. It's arguable he's on course for his best-ever season at the moment.
Martin Dubravka, Lukasz Fabianski and Hugo Lloris all slip but not because they played particularly poorly; it's because the aforementioned two have been so good. At the bottom, Rui Patricio replaces Mat Ryan in 10th.
Biggest rise: Alisson Becker (+4)
Biggest fall: Multiple (-2)
|1||Alisson Becker (+4)||Liverpool|
|2||Ben Foster (+3)||Watford|
|3||Martin Dubravka (-2)||Newcastle|
|4||Hugo Lloris (-2)||Tottenham|
|5||Lukasz Fabianski (-2)||West Ham|
|6||Ederson Moraes (Stay)||Manchester City|
|7||Bernd Leno (Stay)||Arsenal|
|8||Jordan Pickford (Stay)||Everton|
|9||Joe Hart (Stay)||Burnley|
|10||Rui Patricio (New!)||Wolves|
There's big news among the right-backs too, as Matt Doherty's third goal of the season—and otherwise sound performance—lifts him to the summit here, displacing Kyle Walker.
Walker's own struggles against Chelsea played a part in this move, but the two now stand pretty close in performance levels for the season and could swap with one another a few times over the course of the busy festive period.
Our biggest mover is Cesar Azpilicueta. He may not have had a season to remember, but his performance against Manchester City—in which he shut down Leroy Sane and recorded an astonishing 13 tackles—was a day to savour.
Last week's ninth- and 10th-ranked players, DeAndre Yedlin and Seamus Coleman, were sent off and scored an own goal respectively, forcing new blood into the lower reaches.
Biggest rise: Cesar Azpilicueta (+4)
Biggest fall: Ricardo Pereira (-2)
|1||Matt Doherty (+1)||Wolves|
|2||Kyle Walker (-1)||Manchester City|
|3||Trent Alexander-Arnold (Stay)||Liverpool|
|4||Cesar Azpilicueta (+4)||Chelsea|
|5||Pablo Zabaleta (-1)||West Ham|
|6||Aaron Wan-Bissaka (-1)||Crystal Palace|
|7||Hector Bellerin (Stay)||Arsenal|
|8||Ricardo Pereira (-2)||Leicester City|
|10||Kiko Femenia (New!)||Watford|
The goalkeepers and right-backs provided plenty of excitement, but that excitement hits the ice for a moment here.
Only six of our top 10 left-backs played in the last round and only one did enough to earn himself a boost: Ben Davies. The Tottenham Hotspur man played some super cutting passes into attacking areas for his forwards and contributed to a clean sheet.
The rest? Well, consider it "one of those weeks." Even Lucas Digne's brilliant last-gasp free-kick isn't enough for a rise as Ben Chilwell played really well for Leicester City.
Biggest rise: Ben Davies (+2)
Biggest fall: Multiple (-1)
|1||Andy Robertson (Stay)||Liverpool|
|2||Marcos Alonso (Stay)||Chelsea|
|3||Ben Chilwell (Stay)||Leicester City|
|4||Lucas Digne (Stay)||Everton|
|6||Luke Shaw (Stay)||Manchester United|
|7||Benjamin Mendy (Stay)||Manchester City|
|8||Ben Davies (+2)||Tottenham|
|9||Jose Holebas (-1)||Watford|
|10||Paul Dummett (-1)||Newcastle|
Aymeric Laporte and John Stones' moderate struggles at Stamford Bridge last Saturday only served to widen the gap between themselves (and therefore everyone else) and Virgil van Dijk.
Michael Keane drops two after an iffy showing against Watford—he and Yerry Mina consistently losing their men in the box, which eventually led to goals. Deservedly rising into the Everton man's old spot is Antonio Rudiger, who was superb against Manchester City.
His colleague, David Luiz, scored the killer second goal and put in an impeccable defensive showing to match, paving his re-entry into the top 20. Jan Vertonghen also rejoins us after returning from suspension with a solid performance.
The biggest riser is Willy Boly, who was again aerially dominant and cross-repellent against another opponent.
Biggest rise: Willy Boly (+7)
Biggest fall: Terence Kongolo (-4)
Defensive Midfielders/Central Midfielders
Lucas Torreira's magnificent performance and goal against Huddersfield Town, in conjunction with the Manchester City midfield's off-day at Chelsea, results in the Uruguayan cracking the top three in this section.
It's the first time since October 23 (Gameweek 9) that the Citizens haven't occupied all three of those positions.
Jorginho, Declan Rice, N'Golo Kante and Moussa Sissoko are all on the rise after more strong showings, while we welcome Andre Gomes—who has been stellar for Everton alongside Idrissa Gueye—after he hit the threshold for eligibility.
Biggest rise: Declan Rice (+4)
Biggest fall: Multiple (-2)
|1||David Silva (Stay)||Manchester City|
|2||Fernandinho (Stay)||Manchester City|
|3||Lucas Torreira (+1)||Arsenal|
|4||Bernardo Silva (-1)||Manchester City|
|6||Etienne Capoue (Stay)||Watford|
|7||Declan Rice (+1)||West Ham|
|8||Idrissa Gueye (-3)||Everton|
|9||N'Golo Kante (+7)||Chelsea|
|10||Abdoulaye Doucoure (+2)||Watford|
|11||Georginio Wijnaldum (-2)||Liverpool|
|12||James Milner (+2)||Liverpool|
|13||Moussa Sissoko (+4)||Tottenham|
|14||Andre Gomes (New!)||Everton|
|15||Aaron Mooy (-5)||Huddersfield Town|
|16||Philip Billing (-5)||Huddersfield Town|
|17||Joao Moutinho (-2)||Wolves|
|18||Ruben Neves (-5)||Wolves|
|19||Mateo Kovacic (Stay)||Chelsea|
|20||Jonathan Hogg (-2)||Huddersfield Town|
Our top two, Raheem Sterling and Eden Hazard, went head-to-head last weekend. The latter fared better than the former, delivering a pair of assists, but it's not enough for the Belgian to leap to the summit.
Roaring into third is Mohamed Salah, who is starting to look a lot like his old self again now. He barely even celebrated his hat-trick against Bournemouth and gave the matchball to James Milner. The stone-cold finisher is back.
Felipe Anderson continued his cracking run of form and rises to seventh; Roberto Pereyra sparked into life against Everton and rejoins the top 10; and Pedro, Dele Alli and Riyad Mahrez all qualify for the rankings having made eight starts.
Biggest rise: Pedro (New!)
Biggest fall: Lucas Moura (-5)
|1||Raheem Sterling (Stay)||Manchester City|
|2||Eden Hazard (Stay)||Chelsea|
|3||Mohamed Salah (+3)||Liverpool|
|4||Ryan Fraser (-1)||Bournemouth|
|5||Leroy Sane (-1)||Manchester City|
|6||Gylfi Sigurdsson (-1)||Everton|
|7||Felipe Anderson (+3)||West Ham|
|8||Anthony Martial (-1)||Manchester United|
|9||Roberto Pereyra (+4)||Watford|
|10||James Maddison (-1)||Leicester City|
|11||Sadio Mane (-3)||Liverpool|
|14||Christian Eriksen (Stay)||Tottenham|
|15||David Brooks (-1)||Bournemouth|
|16||Dele Alli (New!)||Tottenham|
|17||Lucas Moura (-5)||Tottenham|
|18||Riyad Mahrez (New!)||Manchester City|
|19||Josh Murphy (New!)||Cardiff City|
|20||Robert Snodgrass (-2)||West Ham|
There's little excitement at the summit here given both Callum Wilson and Sergio Aguero are injured, but look a little further down and you'll see some twists and turns.
Richarlison's eighth goal of the season lifts him back into the top five, swapping with Glenn Murray—who has seen his playing time limited by the emergence of Florin Andone at Brighton & Hove Albion.
We have two new entries in the form of Salomon Rondon, who has really found his groove of late and looked ferocious against Wolves, and Firmino, who has impressed from the No. 10 role of late but still qualifies as a striker for now.
Biggest rise: Richarlison (+2)
Biggest fall: Multiple (-2)
All statistics via WhoScored.com.