EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players After Matchday 20

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterDecember 31, 2018

EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players After Matchday 20

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    Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

    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.


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    Dan Mullan/Getty Images

    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)


    Top 10 Goalkeepers
    1Lukasz Fabianski (+1)West Ham
    2Alisson Becker (+1)Liverpool
    3Martin Dubravka (-2)Newcastle
    4Ben Foster (Stay)Watford
    5Ederson Moraes (+2)Manchester City
    6Hugo Lloris (-1)
    7Bernd Leno (-1)Arsenal
    8David De Gea (+2)Manchester United
    9Alex McCarthy (New!)Southampton
    10Neil Etheridge (New!)
    Cardiff City

Right-Backs/Right Wing-Backs

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    Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

    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)


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

Left-Backs/Left Wing-Backs

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    Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

    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)


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


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    Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

    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)


    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
    7Federico Fernandez (Stay)Newcastle
    8Michael Keane (Stay)Everton
    9David Luiz (+1)Chelsea
    10Willy Boly (+2)Wolves
    11Ryan Bennett (Stay)Wolves
    12Issa Diop (-3)West Ham
    13Lewis Dunk (+2)Brighton
    14Nathan Ake (-1)
    15Conor Coady (+2)Wolves
    16Shane Duffy (New!)Brighton
    17Harry Maguire (+1)Leicester City
    18Victor Lindelof (+2)Manchester United
    19Kurt Zouma (New!)Everton
    20Craig Cathcart (-4)Watford

Defensive Midfielders/Central Midfielders

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    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)


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

Attacking Midfielders/Wingers

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    Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

    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)


    Top 20 AMs/Wingers
    1Raheem Sterling (Stay)Manchester City
    2Eden Hazard (Stay)Chelsea
    3Heung-Min Son (New!)Tottenham
    4Leroy Sane (Stay)Manchester City
    5Felipe Anderson (+1)West Ham
    6Anthony Martial (+2)Manchester United
    7Roberto Firmino (New!)Liverpool
    8Ryan Fraser (-3)Bournemouth
    9Sadio Mane (Stay)Liverpool 
    10Christian Eriksen (Stay)
    11Jesse Lingard (+9)Manchester United
    12David Brooks (+3)Bournemouth
    13Gylfi Sigurdsson (-2)
    14Dele Alli (Stay)Tottenham
    15James Maddison (-3)Leicester City
    16Roberto Pereyra (-9)Watford
    17Nathan Redmond (Stay)Southampton
    18Riyad Mahrez (+1)Manchester City
    19Robert Snodgrass (-1)West Ham
    20Gerard Deulofeu (New!)Watford


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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    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)


    Top 10 Strikers
    1Mohamed Salah (New!)Liverpool
    2Harry Kane (Stay)
    3Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Stay)Arsenal
    4Sergio Aguero (Stay)Manchester City
    5Callum Wilson (-4)
    6Salomon Rondon (+2)
    7Richarlison (-1)Everton
    8Danny Ings (-1)Southampton
    9Raul Jimenez (+1)Wolves
    10 Aleksandar Mitrovic (New!)Fulham



    All statistics via WhoScored.com.