EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players After Matchday 23

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJanuary 22, 2019

EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players After Matchday 23

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    Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

    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.


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    Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

    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)


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

Right-Backs/Right Wing-Backs

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    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)


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

Left-Backs/Left Wing-Backs

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    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)


    Top 10 LBs/LWBs
    1Andy Robertson (Stay)Liverpool
    2Ben Chilwell (Stay)Leicester City
    3Jonny (+1)
    4Lucas Digne (-1)
    5Luke Shaw (Stay)Manchester United
    6Jose Holebas (+1)Watford
    7Marcos Alonso (-1)Chelsea
    8 Sead Kolasinac (New!)Arsenal
    9Ben Davies (-1)Tottenham
    10Patrick van Aanholt (New!)Crystal Palace


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    ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

    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)


    Top 20 CBs
    1Virgil van Dijk (Stay)
    2Aymeric Laporte (Stay)Manchester City
    3Toby Alderweireld (+3)Tottenham
    4John Stones (-1)Manchester City
    5Antonio Rudiger (-1)Chelsea
    6Joe Gomez (-1)Liverpool
    7Michael Keane (Stay)
    8Victor Lindelof (+5)Manchester United
    9David Luiz (-1)Chelsea
    10Federico Fernandez (-2)Newcastle
    11Ryan Bennett (+1)Wolves
    12Lewis Dunk (+2)Brighton
    13Shane Duffy (+2)Brighton
    14Kurt Zouma (-3)
    15Issa Diop (-5)West Ham
    16Jannik Vestergaard (+3)Southampton
    17Willy Boly (-1)Wolves
    18Nathan Ake (+2)Bournemouth
    19Harry Maguire (-2)Leicester City
    20Conor Coady (-2)Wolves

Defensive Midfielders/Central Midfielders

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    Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

    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)


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

Attacking Midfielders/Wingers

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    Visionhaus/Getty Images

    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)


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


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    MB Media/Getty Images

    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)


    Top 10 Strikers
    1Mohamed Salah (Stay)Liverpool
    2Sergio Aguero (+2)
    Manchester City
    3Harry Kane (-1)Tottenham
    4Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (-1)Arsenal
    5Callum Wilson (Stay)Bournemouth
    6Marcus Rashford (Stay)
    Manchester United
    7Salomon Rondon (Stay)Newcastle
    8Alexandre Lacazette (New!)Arsenal
    9Raul Jimenez (+1)Wolves
    10 Wilfried Zaha (New!)Crystal Palace



    All statistics via WhoScored.com.