EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players After Matchday 38

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMay 13, 2019

EPL 100: Ranking of Premier League's Best Players After Matchday 38

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    GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

    Another Premier League season is in the books. They always pass so fast, don't they?

    The final day of the 2018-19 iteration saw a sliver of drama, as Manchester City fell behind to Brighton & Hove Albion for just over a minute, opening the tiniest of windows of hope for Liverpool. But normal service soon resumed, as Aymeric Laporte headed them into a lead they would hold with ease.

    Agony for the Reds, ecstasy for the Blues.

    It's been a pleasure updating the EPL 100 throughout the campaign, charting the rise and fall of players' forms and fortunes while continually providing updates on who has been the very best in each position.

    This is the final edition. Any player who features started at least 50 per cent of his teams' games—so, 19 or more. Any player who doesn't make that threshold doesn't feature.

    Players who appeared in multiple positions (such as Wilfried Zaha, Mohamed Salah and Bernardo Silva) are categorized by the spot they have played in most. If those values are level, they fall into the category for the role they played most recently.


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    Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

    It feels only right that the Premier League's Golden Glove winner, Alisson Becker, finishes top of our goalkeeper rankings. That award isn't just a product of the league-best defence in front of him; it's down to his exceptional performance levels, too.

    Alisson's excellence was a little more difficult to quantify than, say, second-placed Lukasz Fabianski's, as he made significantly fewer saves (148 to 76). But the Brazilian's one-on-one prowess, command in the box and slick distribution are all key factors that tipped him over the edge.

    Biggest rise: Martin Dubravka (+1)

    Biggest fall: Bernd Leno (-1)


    Top 10 Goalkeepers
    1Alisson Becker (Stay)Liverpool
    2Lukasz Fabianski (Stay)West Ham United
    3 Ederson Moraes (Stay)Manchester City
    4Martin Dubravka (+1)Newcastle United
    5Bernd Leno (-1)Arsenal
    6Vicente Guaita (Stay)Crystal Palace
    7Kepa Arrizabalaga (Stay)Chelsea
    8Ben Foster (Stay)Watford
    9Jordan Pickford (Stay)Everton
    10Hugo Lloris (Stay)
    Tottenham Hotspur

Right-Backs/Right Wing-Backs

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Right at the last. Trent Alexander-Arnold pips Aaron Wan-Bissaka to the post on the final day. Creating both Sadio Mane goals and helping keep a clean sheet against Wolverhampton Wanderers was enough to lift him into the top spot.

    There have been some legitimate concerns regarding his defending over the last month, with opposing teams targeting him with some success. But the volume of high-quality crossing and passing he produces simply cannot be rivalled across the league.

    Alexander-Arnold's fight with Wan-Bissaka for the throne was an intriguing battle pitting two opposites against one another—the latter excels in the defensive areas that the former does not, making it a tough call—but we will bow to the incredible attacking weaponry on show from the Red. 

    Biggest rise: Trent Alexander-Arnold (+1)

    Biggest fall: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (-1)


    Top 10 RBs/RWBs
    1Trent Alexander-Arnold (+1)Liverpool
    2Aaron Wan-Bissaka (-1)Crystal Palace
    3Ricardo Pereira (Stay)Leicester City
    4Matt Doherty (Stay)
    5Kyle Walker (Stay) Manchester City
    6Cesar Azpilicueta (Stay)
    7Seamus Coleman (Stay)Everton
    8Yan Valery (Stay)Southampton
    9Adam Smith (Stay)Bournemouth
    10Pablo Zabaleta (Stay)West Ham

Left-Backs/Left Wing-Backs

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    Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

    Close battles were fought for the title of best goalkeeper and right-back. But over on the left, Andy Robertson smoked the competition. He was far and away the finest in that position.

    The only player who really challenged him was Benjamin Mendy, and that was only during the opening stretch of the season before knee injuries struck the Frenchman down. From there it's been plain sailing for Robertson.

    An offensive force (11 assists) and a defensive stalwart (36 starts in the league's best defence), he's in the conversation for best left-back in the world.

    Biggest rise: Nacho Monreal (+1)

    Biggest fall: Ryan Bertrand (-1)


    Top 10 LBs/LWBs
    1Andy Robertson (Stay)Liverpool
    2Lucas Digne (Stay)Everton
    3Jonny (Stay)
    4Ben Chilwell (Stay)
    5Luke Shaw (Stay)Manchester United
    6Matt Ritchie (Stay)
    7Jose Holebas (Stay)Watford
    8Danny Rose (Stay)Tottenham 
    9Nacho Monreal (+1)Arsenal
    10Ryan Bertrand (-1)Southampton


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    Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

    Virgil van Dijk at No. 1 makes it a clean sweep for Liverpool across all defensive positions. Given they conceded a league-low 22 points this season, it makes sense.

    Crowned the PFA Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season, Van Dijk put together performances this season that have redefined what we should expect from a top central defender. Aymeric Laporte of Manchester City was excellent, but his Dutch rival was simply levels above.

    Biggest rise: Fabian Schar (+2)

    Biggest fall: John Stones, Jan Vertonghen (-1)


    Top 20 CBs
    1Virgil van Dijk (Stay)
    2Aymeric Laporte (Stay)Manchester City
    3Michael Keane (Stay)Everton
    4Antonio Rudiger (Stay)Chelsea
    5Toby Alderweireld (Stay)Tottenham
    6Fabian Schar (+2)Newcastle
    7John Stones (-1)
    Manchester City
    8Jan Vertonghen (-1)Tottenham
    9Kurt Zouma (Stay)Everton
    10Jan Bednarek (Stay)Southampton
    11Victor Lindelof (Stay)Manchester United
    12Willy Boly (Stay)Wolves
    13Ben Mee (Stay)Burnley
    14Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Stay)Arsenal
    15Jannik Vestergaard (Stay)Southampton
    16Conor Coady (Stay)Wolves
    17Issa Diop (Stay)West Ham
    18James Tarkowski (Stay)Burnley
    19Shane Duffy (Stay)Brighton
    20Ryan Bennett (Stay)Wolves

Defensive Midfielders/Central Midfielders

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    The way Bernardo Silva ended this campaign was astonishing. Big performance after big performance—from one so small, too—dragged Manchester City to the title. It's no exaggeration to say he was the key figure in the run, even more so than Vincent Kompany.

    Kevin De Bruyne missing half the season due to injury would cripple most teams, but Pep Guardiola was fortunate to be able to call upon this Portuguese schemer, whose dribbling is starting to resemble Lionel Messi's at times, and whose tackling is rivalling Fernandinho's.

    Biggest rise: Ilkay Gundogan (+3)

    Biggest fall: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (-2)


    Top 20 DMs/CMs
    1Bernardo Silva (Stay)Manchester City
    2Fernandinho (Stay)Manchester City
    3David Silva (Stay)Manchester City
    4Joao Moutinho (Stay)Wolves
    5Georginio Wijnaldum (Stay)
    6N'Golo Kante (Stay)
    7Declan Rice (Stay)West Ham 
    8Fabinho (Stay)
    9Moussa Sissoko (+1)Tottenham
    10Paul Pogba (-1)Manchester United
    11Idrissa Gueye (Stay)Everton
    12Etienne Capoue (Stay)Watford
    13Ruben Neves (Stay)
    14Abdoulaye Doucoure (Stay)Watford
    15Ilkay Gundogan (+3)Manchester City
    16Lucas Torreira (-1)Arsenal
    17Jordan Henderson (Stay)Liverpool
    18Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (-2)Southampton
    19Wilfred Ndidi (Stay)Leicester
    20Ashley Westwood (Stay)Burnley

Attacking Midfielders/Wingers

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Raheem Sterling ran Virgil van Dijk close for the PFA Player of the Year award—so strong was his season—as he truly shot to the fore in terms of importance to Manchester City's team.

    Seventeen goals and 10 assists is one hell of a haul, and he was responsible for one of the finest individual performances of the campaign back in November when he scored two and assisted two more in a 6-1 win over Southampton.

    He had good competition for the No. 1 spot, as Eden Hazard, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were consistently productive, but he comes out on top.

    Biggest rise: Sadio Mane, Wilfried Zaha (+1)

    Biggest fall: Mohamed Salah, David Brooks (-1)


    Top 20 AMs/Wingers
    1Raheem Sterling (Stay)Manchester City
    2Eden Hazard (Stay)Chelsea
    3Sadio Mane (+1)Liverpool
    4Mohamed Salah (-1)Liverpool
    5Heung-Min Son (Stay)Tottenham
    6Diogo Jota (Stay)Wolves
    7James Maddison (Stay)Leicester 
    8Leroy Sane (Stay)Manchester City
    9Ryan Fraser (Stay)Bournemouth
    10Nathan Redmond (Stay)
    11Wilfried Zaha (+1)Crystal Palace
    12David Brooks (-1)Bournemouth
    13Richarlison (Stay)Everton
    14Christian Eriksen (Stay)Tottenham
    15Gerard Deulofeu (Stay)Watford
    16Gylfi Sigurdsson (Stay)
    17Felipe Anderson (Stay)West Ham
    18James Ward-Prowse (Stay)Southampton
    19Lucas Moura (Stay)Tottenham
    20Dele Alli (Stay)


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    Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

    Thanks to a final-day brace, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang jumped ahead of Sergio Aguero in the goalscoring charts, bagging 22 to his 21.

    That doesn't move him to the top of our rankings, though. A striker's game is about more than just goals, and Aguero has offered so much to his team this season in terms of creativity, buildup play and work rate.

    Just as Manchester City looked like they were fluffing their lines on the final day, going a goal down to Brighton, Aguero was the one who stepped forward and scored immediately, equalising and settling the nerves. You can count on him to make the right move when it really counts.

    Biggest rise: None

    Biggest fall: None


    Top 10 Strikers
    1Sergio Aguero (Stay)Manchester City
    2Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Stay)Arsenal
    3Harry Kane (Stay)Tottenham
    4Roberto Firmino (Stay)Liverpool
    5Raul Jimenez (Stay)Wolves
    6Jamie Vardy (Stay)Leicester
    7 Callum Wilson (Stay)Bournemouth
    8Salomon Rondon (Stay)Newcastle
    9Alexandre Lacazette (Stay)Arsenal
    10Marcus Rashford (Stay)Manchester United



    All statistics via WhoScored.com.