EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players After Matchday 20
Caught your breath yet? The Premier League football has been non-stop over this festive period, and we're not done yet. The turn of the new year will bring another batch, squeezed in ahead of the FA Cup third round.
Count on us to deliver an EPL 100 just in time, helping you take stock during this calm period.
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, 10 (or more) out of 20. That rules the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho out for the time being.
Players who have appeared in multiple positions (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mohamed Salah) 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.
We crowned Lukasz Fabianski our best goalkeeper of the first half of the season last week, with his excellent performance against Southampton sealing the title.
Alisson Becker follows closely behind him, and he provided another reminder of his all-round qualities against Arsenal on Saturday, when his handling, aerial command and distribution were all on show.
At the bottom, we have two new entries: Alex McCarthy and Neil Etheridge, who starred over Christmas for struggling sides. Etheridge, in particular, was almost single-handedly responsible for the four points Cardiff City gained last week.
Biggest rise: Ederson Moraes, David De Gea (+2)
Biggest fall: Martin Dubravka (-2)
|1||Lukasz Fabianski (+1)||West Ham|
|2||Alisson Becker (+1)||Liverpool|
|3||Martin Dubravka (-2)||Newcastle|
|4||Ben Foster (Stay)||Watford|
|5||Ederson Moraes (+2)||Manchester City|
|6||Hugo Lloris (-1)||Tottenham|
|7||Bernd Leno (-1)||Arsenal|
|8||David De Gea (+2)||Manchester United|
|9||Alex McCarthy (New!)||Southampton|
|10||Neil Etheridge (New!)||Cardiff City|
Matt Doherty is fighting hard to keep his top spot at the top of this section.
Under extreme pressure from Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who turned in two good individual performances against Manchester City and Chelsea last week, the Wolves man responded with a solid showing at Fulham and a very good one at Tottenham.
Trent Alexander-Arnold's Christmas period was an excellent one, and several players have moved down in the wake of his +4 jump. That includes the injured Pablo Zabaleta, who is a little unfortunate in that respect, and Kyle Walker, who has been benched by Pep Guardiola.
Biggest rise: Trent Alexander-Arnold (+4)
Biggest fall: Kyle Walker (-2)
|1||Matt Doherty (Stay)||Wolves|
|2||Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Stay)||Crystal Palace|
|3||Trent Alexander-Arnold (+4)||Liverpool|
|4||Ricardo Pereira (+1)||Leicester City|
|5||Kyle Walker (-2)||Manchester City|
|6||Pablo Zabaleta (-1)||West Ham|
|7||Cesar Azpilicueta (-1)||Chelsea|
|8||Hector Bellerin (Stay)||Arsenal|
|9||Martin Montoya (New!)||Brighton|
|10||Kiko Femenia (-1)||Watford|
Ben Chilwell's recent form has been very good, but it's still not enough to overhaul Andrew Robertson at the top.
That speaks to just how brilliant the Scotland international has been lately; he played all three festive fixtures at his typical 100 mph pace and somehow fought through the fatigue to find his typical high level.
Ben Davies' struggles against Wolves see him move down two, which clears the path for Lucas Digne (incredible against Burnley) and Luke Shaw (energetic against Huddersfield and Bournemouth) to move up.
Bernardo has really found his feet now, stealing the left-back spot off Gaetan Bong at Brighton, and he is turning in some strong performances.
Biggest rise: Lucas Digne (+2)
Biggest fall: Ben Davies (-2)
|1||Andy Robertson (Stay)||Liverpool|
|2||Ben Chilwell (Stay)||Leicester City|
|4||Marcos Alonso (-1)||Chelsea|
|5||Lucas Digne (+2)||Everton|
|6||Jose Holebas (-1)||Watford|
|7||Luke Shaw (+1)||Manchester United|
|8||Ben Davies (-2)||Tottenham|
|10||Paul Dummett (-1)||Newcastle|
Aymeric Laporte's dominant showing against Southampton made up for his two previous lacklustre ones against Crystal Palace and Leicester City. He keeps his place in second partly because of that and also because Joe Gomez and John Stones either didn't feature or didn't excel.
Antonio Rudiger showed how to handle Wilfried Zaha's eclectic style on Sunday, easing through a game against the forward in a way few can. David Luiz was even more impactful, firing in a beautiful ball for N'Golo Kante to convert for Chelsea's winner at Selhurst Park.
Watford didn't impress too heavily over the festive period—particularly in defence—and that's reflected in Craig Cathcart's drop of four.
Biggest rise: Shane Duffy (New!)
Biggest fall: Craig Cathcart (-4)
Defensive Midfielders/Central Midfielders
The two best central midfielders this weekend turned in two very different types of performances.
Paul Pogba's was full of panache and attacking inspiration, with the Frenchman responding well to being let off the leash by his new manager, scoring twice and adding an assist. He enters the rankings at 17.
Georginio Wijnaldum's, on the other hand, was borne from grit, intense work rate and exceptional anticipation. He was everywhere against Arsenal, completely outshining Lucas Torreira on the day. He moves up to fifth.
Other strong showers, such as Declan Rice, Mateo Kovacic and N'Golo Kante, receive sizeable boosts, while Etienne Capoue's iffy Christmas period is reflected in his drop of six.
Biggest rise: Declan Rice, Mateo Kovacic, N'Golo Kane (+4)
Biggest fall: Etienne Capoue (-6)
|1||Fernandinho (Stay)||Manchester City|
|2||David Silva (Stay)||Manchester City|
|3||Bernardo Silva (+1)||Manchester City|
|4||Lucas Torreira (-1)||Arsenal|
|5||Georginio Wijnaldum (+3)||Liverpool|
|6||Declan Rice (+4)||West Ham|
|8||Moussa Sissoko (-1)||Tottenham|
|9||N'Golo Kante (+4)||Chelsea|
|10||Abdoulaye Doucoure (Stay)||Watford|
|11||Etienne Capoue (-6)||Watford|
|12||James Milner (-1)||Liverpool|
|13||Idrissa Gueye (-1)||Everton|
|14||Joao Moutinho (+2)||Wolves|
|15||Ruben Neves (Stay)||Wolves|
|16||Mateo Kovacic (+4)||Chelsea|
|17||Paul Pogba (New!)||Manchester United|
|18||Philip Billing (-4)||Huddersfield Town|
|19||Andre Gomes (Stay)||Everton|
|20||Aaron Mooy (-2)||Huddersfield Town|
A couple of housekeeping notes to take care of: Mohamed Salah is now considered a striker, as he's played more games in that position this season than anywhere else now, and consequently Roberto Firmino is now considered an attacking midfielder, as he's been operating as a No. 10 since the Egypt international moved up front.
The big news is the arrival of Heung-Min Son, who has now played enough games to qualify for the rankings. He jumps straight in at third, with his form over the last two months being irresistibly good.
Anthony Martial, David Brooks and Jesse Lingard receive varying boosts thanks to high performance levels, and we have one new entry in Gerard Deulofeu. Roberto Pereyra hasn't looked himself of late, resulting in a big drop (others' excellence has played a part in that, too).
Biggest rise: Jesse Lingard (+9)
Biggest fall: Roberto Pereyra (-9)
|1||Raheem Sterling (Stay)||Manchester City|
|2||Eden Hazard (Stay)||Chelsea|
|3||Heung-Min Son (New!)||Tottenham|
|4||Leroy Sane (Stay)||Manchester City|
|5||Felipe Anderson (+1)||West Ham|
|6||Anthony Martial (+2)||Manchester United|
|7||Roberto Firmino (New!)||Liverpool|
|8||Ryan Fraser (-3)||Bournemouth|
|9||Sadio Mane (Stay)||Liverpool|
|10||Christian Eriksen (Stay)||Tottenham|
|11||Jesse Lingard (+9)||Manchester United|
|12||David Brooks (+3)||Bournemouth|
|13||Gylfi Sigurdsson (-2)||Everton|
|14||Dele Alli (Stay)||Tottenham|
|15||James Maddison (-3)||Leicester City|
|16||Roberto Pereyra (-9)||Watford|
|17||Nathan Redmond (Stay)||Southampton|
|18||Riyad Mahrez (+1)||Manchester City|
|19||Robert Snodgrass (-1)||West Ham|
|20||Gerard Deulofeu (New!)||Watford|
With Mohamed Salah now considered a striker, he enters this section and skips right to the front. Why's that? Well, it's quite simple: He's been better than everyone else.
Callum Wilson drops all the way to fifth—it's been almost a month since he scored—while Salomon Rondon's steady climb continues, with him moving into sixth. He's an incredibly important part of Newcastle's system; it's arguable few teams are more reliant on one player than the Magpies are on him.
Aleksandar Mitrovic's crucial 90th-minute strike against Huddersfield, earning Fulham a win, sees him enter at 10th.
Biggest rise: Salomon Rondon (+2)
Biggest fall: Callum Wilson (-4)
|1||Mohamed Salah (New!)||Liverpool|
|2||Harry Kane (Stay)||Tottenham|
|3||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Stay)||Arsenal|
|4||Sergio Aguero (Stay)||Manchester City|
|5||Callum Wilson (-4)||Bournemouth|
|6||Salomon Rondon (+2)||Newcastle|
|8||Danny Ings (-1)||Southampton|
|9||Raul Jimenez (+1)||Wolves|
|10||Aleksandar Mitrovic (New!)||Fulham|
All statistics via WhoScored.com.