EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players After Matchday 16

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterDecember 14, 2018

EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players After Matchday 16

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    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.


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    PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

    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)    


    Top 10 Goalkeepers
    1Alisson Becker (+4)Liverpool
    2Ben Foster (+3)Watford
    3Martin Dubravka (-2)
    4Hugo Lloris (-2)Tottenham
    5Lukasz Fabianski (-2)West Ham
    6Ederson Moraes (Stay)
    Manchester City
    7Bernd Leno (Stay)Arsenal
    8Jordan Pickford (Stay)Everton
    9Joe Hart (Stay)Burnley
    10Rui Patricio (New!)

Right-Backs/Right Wing-Backs

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    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 Cityin which he shut down Leroy Sane and recorded an astonishing 13 tackleswas 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)


    Top 10 RBs/RWBs
    1Matt Doherty (+1)Wolves
    2Kyle Walker (-1)Manchester City
    3Trent Alexander-Arnold (Stay)Liverpool
    4Cesar Azpilicueta (+4)
    5Pablo Zabaleta (-1)West Ham
    6Aaron Wan-Bissaka (-1)Crystal Palace
    7Hector Bellerin (Stay)Arsenal
    8Ricardo Pereira (-2)Leicester City
    9Bruno (New!)Brighton
    10Kiko Femenia (New!)Watford

Left-Backs/Left Wing-Backs

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    James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

    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)


    Top 10 LBs/LWBs
    1Andy Robertson (Stay)Liverpool
    2Marcos Alonso (Stay)Chelsea
    3Ben Chilwell (Stay)
    Leicester City
    4Lucas Digne (Stay)
    5Jonny (Stay)Wolves
    6Luke Shaw (Stay)Manchester United
    7Benjamin Mendy (Stay)Manchester City
    8Ben Davies (+2)Tottenham
    9Jose Holebas (-1)Watford
    10Paul Dummett (-1)


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    OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

    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)


    Top 20 CBs
    1Virgil van Dijk (Stay)
    2Aymeric Laporte (Stay)Manchester City
    3John Stones (Stay)Manchester City
    4Joe Gomez (Stay)Liverpool
    5Antonio Rudiger (+1)Chelsea
    6Toby Alderweireld (+1)Tottenham
    7Michael Keane (-2)Everton
    8Federico Fernandez (Stay)Newcastle
    9Lewis Dunk (Stay)Brighton
    10Issa Diop (+1)
    West Ham
    11Willy Boly (+7)Wolves
    12Ryan Bennett (-2)Wolves
    13Nathan Ake (-1)
    14Jan Vertonghen (New!)Tottenham
    15David Luiz (New!)Chelsea
    16Conor Coady (-1)Wolves
    17Craig Cathcart (Stay)Watford
    18Terence Kongolo (-4)Huddersfield Town
    19Shane Duffy (-3)
    20Fabian Balbuena (Stay)West Ham

Defensive Midfielders/Central Midfielders

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    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)


    Top 20 DMs/CMs
    1David Silva (Stay)Manchester City
    2Fernandinho (Stay)Manchester City
    3Lucas Torreira (+1)Arsenal
    4Bernardo Silva (-1)Manchester City
    5Jorginho (+2)
    6Etienne Capoue (Stay)
    7Declan Rice (+1)West Ham
    8Idrissa Gueye (-3)Everton 
    9N'Golo Kante (+7) Chelsea
    10Abdoulaye Doucoure (+2)Watford
    11Georginio Wijnaldum (-2)Liverpool
    12James Milner (+2)Liverpool
    13Moussa Sissoko (+4)Tottenham
    14Andre Gomes (New!)Everton
    15Aaron Mooy (-5)Huddersfield Town
    16Philip Billing (-5)Huddersfield Town
    17Joao Moutinho (-2)Wolves
    18Ruben Neves (-5)Wolves
    19Mateo Kovacic (Stay)Chelsea
    20Jonathan Hogg (-2)Huddersfield Town

Attacking Midfielders/Wingers

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    GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

    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)


    Top 20 AMs/Wingers
    1Raheem Sterling (Stay)Manchester City
    2Eden Hazard (Stay)Chelsea
    3Mohamed Salah (+3)Liverpool
    4Ryan Fraser (-1)Bournemouth
    5Leroy Sane (-1)
    Manchester City
    6Gylfi Sigurdsson (-1)Everton
    7Felipe Anderson (+3)
    West Ham
    8Anthony Martial (-1)Manchester United
    9Roberto Pereyra (+4)Watford 
    10James Maddison (-1)
    Leicester City
    11Sadio Mane (-3)
    12Pedro (New!)Chelsea
    13Willian (+2)Chelsea
    14Christian Eriksen (Stay)Tottenham
    15David Brooks (-1)Bournemouth
    16Dele Alli (New!)Tottenham
    17Lucas Moura (-5)
    18Riyad Mahrez (New!)Manchester City
    19Josh Murphy (New!)Cardiff City
    20Robert Snodgrass (-2)West Ham


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    LINDSEY PARNABY/Getty Images

    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)


    Top 10 Strikers
    1Callum Wilson (Stay)Bournemouth
    2Sergio Aguero (Stay)
    Manchester City
    3Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Stay)Arsenal
    4Richarlison (+2)Everton
    5Harry Kane (Stay)Tottenham
    6Glenn Murray (-2)
    7Alexandre Lacazette (Stay)Arsenal
    8Salomon Rondon (New!)Newcastle
    9Roberto Firmino (New!)Liverpool
    10Joshua King (-2)



    All statistics via WhoScored.com.