EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players After Matchday 23
What's more exciting than Manchester City and Liverpool's title race? Than Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United's three-way tussle for fourth? Than the fight to avoid relegation?
Why, there's only one answer: The latest edition of the EPL100, and it's right here, ready to be read.
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, 12 (or more) out of 23. 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 kick off with a disturbing lack of movement, and for that we apologise wholeheartedly, but sometimes no movements need to be made.
The top nine all impressed in one facet or another, ranging from Alisson's swift distribution to Kepa Arrizabalaga's strong reflexes, so they all stay put. In short, there's no justification in moving anyone down.
There is one change in 10th, as Alex McCarthy's good performance against Everton sees him nip in ahead of Rui Patricio.
(We promise it gets better from here.)
Biggest rise: Alex McCarthy (In)
Biggest fall: Rui Patricio (Out)
|1||Alisson Becker (Stay)||Liverpool|
|2||Lukasz Fabianski (Stay)||West Ham United|
|3||David De Gea (Stay)||Manchester United|
|4||Ederson Moraes (Stay)||Manchester City|
|5||Ben Foster (Stay)||Watford|
|6||Martin Dubravka (Stay)||Newcastle United|
|7||Hugo Lloris (Stay)||Tottenham Hotspur|
|8||Bernd Leno (Stay)||Arsenal|
|9||Kepa Arrizabalaga (Stay)||Chelsea|
|10||Alex McCarthy (New!)||Southampton|
Ricardo Pereira had a very up-and-down game against Wolves on Saturday, and he's perhaps a little lucky to keep his No. 1 spot—had Trent Alexander-Arnold played, he almost certainly would have overtaken him.
Kyle Walker continues to tip-toe back to something resembling his best, defending well against Huddersfield Town outside of one rash challenge. He uses his body to protect the ball and cut off runs so well.
Hector Bellerin has shown signs of real improvement under Unai Emery, and on Saturday he put in a splendid performance against Chelsea...only to have it curtailed by an injury. The Guardian report it's serious—an ACL injury that will end his season—and that's a cruel blow.
Biggest rise: Hector Bellerin (+2)
Biggest fall: Martin Montoya (Out)
|1||Ricardo Pereira (Stay)||Leicester City|
|2||Trent Alexander-Arnold (Stay)||Liverpool|
|3||Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Stay)||Crystal Palace|
|4||Kyle Walker (+1)||Manchester City|
|5||Matt Doherty (-1)||Wolves|
|6||Hector Bellerin (+2)||Arsenal|
|7||Pablo Zabaleta (-1)||West Ham|
|8||Cesar Azpilicueta (-1)||Chelsea|
|9||Ashley Young (New!)||Manchester United|
|10||Adam Smith (New!)||Bournemouth|
Outside of a select few, it wasn't a particularly strong week for left-backs; the negative storylines are much more plentiful than the positive ones.
Lucas Digne scored an unfortunate own goal in Everton's loss to Southampton; Marcos Alonso laboured against the energy of Arsenal; Ben Davies didn't feature for Tottenham and looks to have surrendered his place to Danny Rose; and both Paul Dummett and Bernardo—who have dropped from the top 10—were absent due to injury.
At least there's a big plus-point in Sead Kolasinac, who was excellent against Chelsea and now has enough appearances to join the top 10.
Biggest rise: Sead Kolasinac (New!)
Biggest fall: Bernardo (Out)
|1||Andy Robertson (Stay)||Liverpool|
|2||Ben Chilwell (Stay)||Leicester City|
|4||Lucas Digne (-1)||Everton|
|5||Luke Shaw (Stay)||Manchester United|
|6||Jose Holebas (+1)||Watford|
|7||Marcos Alonso (-1)||Chelsea|
|8||Sead Kolasinac (New!)||Arsenal|
|9||Ben Davies (-1)||Tottenham|
|10||Patrick van Aanholt (New!)||Crystal Palace|
Due to a mixture of poor performances and injury-related absences, the centre-backs section is becoming increasingly hard to judge.
Joe Gomez's 12 appearances this season have been brilliant, but we're 23 games in now, so how to judge that sample size against, say, Michael Keane's less impressive but larger haul of 20? John Stones has only played 14, too, causing further consternation.
Toby Alderweireld takes advantage of the appearance issue, moving up and taking a place on the podium. Tottenham's back three against Fulham really brought out that spectacular passing range he offers.
Victor Lindelof rises another five (that's +10 in two editions now) and earns a spot inside the top 10. That's partially down to another strong showing but also due to the absence of Federico Fernandez and struggles of David Luiz and Issa Diop.
Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy both move up despite conceding two at Old Trafford in the 2-1 defeat; you would need a heart of stone not to recognise they both defended manfully in tough circumstances.
Biggest rise: Victor Lindelof (+5)
Biggest fall: Issa Diop (-5)
Defensive Midfielders/Central Midfielders
The top echelons of this section are largely absent of movement, but look a little further down and you can see changes that reflect the last two months well.
Paul Pogba continues to rise, as do Ander Herrera and Harry Winks. All three are playing extremely well at the moment and are trying to make up for lost time.
On the slide are Etienne Capoue, Jorginho, James Milner and Idrissa Gueye. All four have struggled to show their best for a while.
A mention must go to Wolves duo Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves, who were at the heart of a remarkable 4-3 victory over Leicester City on Saturday—each shining in the creative department.
Biggest rise: Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves (+6)
Biggest fall: Etienne Capoue, James Milner (-4)
|1||Fernandinho (Stay)||Manchester City|
|2||Bernardo Silva (Stay)||Manchester City|
|3||David Silva (Stay)||Manchester City|
|4||Declan Rice (Stay)||West Ham|
|5||Georginio Wijnaldum (Stay)||Liverpool|
|6||Lucas Torreira (Stay)||Arsenal|
|7||N'Golo Kante (Stay)||Chelsea|
|8||Paul Pogba (+2)||Manchester United|
|9||Moussa Sissoko (-1)||Tottenham|
|10||Joao Moutinho (+6)||Wolves|
|11||Ruben Neves (+6)||Wolves|
|12||Harry Winks (+3)||Tottenham|
|13||Abdoulaye Doucoure (-2)||Watford|
|14||Idrissa Gueye (-5)||Everton|
|16||Etienne Capoue (-4)||Watford|
|17||Ander Herrera (+3)||Manchester United|
|18||James Milner (-4)||Liverpool|
|19||Mateo Kovacic (-1)||Chelsea|
|20||Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (New!)||Southampton|
We haven't seen the best of Eden Hazard for four straight league games, and that rough run has now cost him: He slips from second to third, with Leroy Sane—who was superb against Huddersfield Town—overtaking him.
Anthony Martial, Ryan Fraser, Christian Eriksen and Sadio Mane all take advantage of another quiet showing from Felipe Anderson, who has now dropped from fifth to 10th in the space of two editions.
Diogo Jota's incredible hat-trick against Leicester City launches him into the rankings. Nathan Redmond and Gerard Deulofeu continue to quietly impress.
Biggest rise: Diogo Jota (New!)
Biggest fall: Felipe Anderson (-4)
|1||Raheem Sterling (Stay)||Manchester City|
|2||Leroy Sane (+1)||Manchester City|
|3||Eden Hazard (-1)||Chelsea|
|4||Heung-Min Son (Stay)||Tottenham|
|5||Roberto Firmino (Stay)||Liverpool|
|6||Anthony Martial (+1)||Manchester United|
|7||Ryan Fraser (+1)||Bournemouth|
|8||Christian Eriksen (+1)||Tottenham|
|9||Sadio Mane (+1)||Liverpool|
|10||Felipe Anderson (-4)||West Ham|
|11||Jesse Lingard (Stay)||Manchester United|
|12||David Brooks (Stay)||Bournemouth|
|13||Dele Alli (+2)||Tottenham|
|14||Diogo Jota (New!)||Wolves|
|15||Gylfi Sigurdsson (-3)||Everton|
|16||Nathan Redmond (+2)||Southampton|
|17||Roberto Pereyra (-3)||Watford|
|18||Gerard Deulofeu (+2)||Watford|
|19||James Maddison (-3)||Leicester City|
Mohamed Salah is way out ahead of the rest of the pack now. His tally of 16 league goals is impressive, but what's even more so is that his strikes are often crucial—to put Liverpool ahead or draw them level.
Sergio Aguero's tidy performance against Huddersfield, inclusive of a neat assist for Leroy Sane, moves him above Harry Kane, who is injured, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has begun missing "big chances" at an alarming rate, according to OptaJoe's David Wall.
Callum Wilson and Marcus Rashford both dominated this weekend, but there's still a gap to bridge for them to rise any higher than fifth and sixth, respectively.
Biggest rise: Sergio Aguero (+2)
Biggest fall: Richarlison (Out)
|1||Mohamed Salah (Stay)||Liverpool|
|2||Sergio Aguero (+2)||Manchester City|
|3||Harry Kane (-1)||Tottenham|
|4||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (-1)||Arsenal|
|5||Callum Wilson (Stay)||Bournemouth|
|6||Marcus Rashford (Stay)||Manchester United|
|7||Salomon Rondon (Stay)||Newcastle|
|8||Alexandre Lacazette (New!)||Arsenal|
|9||Raul Jimenez (+1)||Wolves|
|10||Wilfried Zaha (New!)||Crystal Palace|
All statistics via WhoScored.com.