Premier League: The Most Important Player for Each EPL Team
All players are not created equal.
Eleven players make up a football team, but only one can be his team's most important.
This is a list of those players for every team in the Premier League.
From Manchester City at the top to Wigan Athletic at the bottom, these are the players that are indispensable to their teams.
An important player isn't necessarily the best player on the team, but he is the most valuable, most vital to what the team wants to accomplish.
Let's get right to it.
1. Manchester City
Most important player: David Silva.
Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko get all the attention, but David Silva is the one who gets the ball to them.
Silva is the player most responsible for making the Manchester City attack dangerous. He makes every attacking player better with superior passing, field awareness and creativity.
It's no coincidence that City has a new strikeforce this year but hasn't missed a beat: through 11 matches, they've already scored 39 times.
With apologies to: Yaya Toure.
Toure is always there and his always-towering presence in the midfield stabilizes City's entire team.
Last weekend he even grabbed the match-winner with a powerful header against QPR.
2. Manchester United
Most important player: Wayne Rooney.
Rooney will miss England's first three matches at Euro 2012 next summer. Pundits and fans have freaked out accordingly.
The same would happen if Rooney were ruled out for both legs of a Champions League semifinal against Barcelona.
Why? That's easy: he's United's most important player. Period. His work rate and skill inspire his teammates and raise the game of everyone around him.
He scores in bunches and he serves as a strong leader (when he's not getting himself sent off).
In short, when Rooney is on, so are Manchester United.
With apologies to: Nemanja Vidic.
When healthy, Nemanja Vidic is perhaps the world's best defender. He's certainly among the top five.
For a team with United's counter-attacking tendencies, having a world-class defender is an absolute must. Vidic fills his roles nicely, slowing opposing attacks on the ground and in the air, all while linking with the midfield.
3. Newcastle United
Most important player: Tim Krul.
On July 31, Newcastle lost a preseason friendly 3-2 to Leeds United.
Since then, the Magpies have built the Premier League's best defensive record: eight goals allowed in 11 matches.
It started with a scoreless draw at home to Arsenal on opening day. Krul, the team's 23-year-old Dutch keeper, was man of the match that day, a feat he's repeated several times since.
Newcastle have kept four clean sheets and Krul has been perhaps the biggest reason for that after a string of exemplary performances.
With apologies to: Fabricio Coloccini.
Newcastle's imperious Argentinean center back has led by example as the team's captain and best defender this season.
Assured, confident and intelligent, he's started every league match so far and has managed to overshadow Steven Taylor, whose strong performances have shoved him into the conversation for a spot on the English national team.
Most important player: Petr Cech.
Tougher than a pickup truck, Cech is also just as reliable.
He demonstrated both qualities over the weekend in Chelsea's nervy win at Blackburn, in which the Czech shotstopper had his nose busted open in a challenge and then made a brilliant second-half double save to maintain the Blues' slim lead.
If that kind of heroism weren't so commonplace for Cech, we'd think it much more remarkable. As it is, it was just another day at the office for Cech.
With apologies to: Juan Mata.
Since joining the Blues this past summer, Mata has troubled opposing defenses with his pace, something that was in short supply at the club before he arrived.
He's also given more width to a Chelsea attack that's revolved around the Lampard-Drogba axis for the better part of a decade.
And let's not forget how his arrival helped settle Fernando Torres.
5. Tottenham Hotspur
Most important player: Gareth Bale.
The reigning PFA Player of the Year, Bale showed his value during Spurs' Champions League run last term. Along the way he picked up praise from some of the game's biggest names.
Some would argue for Luka Modric as Spurs' most important offensive player, but Bale gives the side a couple important elements that few players can deliver: speed, width and power.
When he's running at full steam, he's perhaps the world's best winger.
With apologies to: Scott Parker.
Parker was the league's best deadline-day signing.
He's been a revelation in the holding role for Tottenham, and he's already earning lofty comparisons from his manager.
Most important player: Steven Gerrard.
An easy selection, yes, but it's also true.
Gerrard has struggled with injuries, and when he's been out of the lineup, Liverpool have struggled.
Luis Suarez is class, but Gerrard provides the inspiration.
It would be hard to find a player more important to his club anywhere in Europe.
With apologies to: Jamie Carragher.
Carragher is embodiment of the Liverpool way.
Most important player: Robin van Persie.
In his last four league matches, the Dutch forward has scored eight goals.
That record includes his brace after coming on as a 66th-minute substitute against Stoke, and his hat trick at Stamford Bridge.
Van Persie has scored 11 goals already and the next highest total on Arsenal's roster stands at two.
But it's about more than just the goals.
Van Persie has evolved into a fine captain and true leader of Arsenal's once troubled but now promising season.
Truly, he's world class.
With apologies to: Mikel Arteta.
Since signing on deadline day, Arteta has made himself an integral part of Arsenal's midfield.
No one could truly fill the holes left by Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, but Arteta has carved out his own niche there.
With Alex Song, he could develop a strong midfield partnership.
8. Aston Villa
Most important player: Gabriel Agbonlahor.
For a team that so thoroughly embodies mid-table mediocrity, Gabby Agbonlahor has provided most of the rare above-average moments.
He has scored five goals and assisted on four more so far for Villa. If they want to maintain their mid-table status, he'll have to keep up the pace.
With apologies to: Shay Given.
The 35-year-old keeper moved to Villa from Manchester City in search of first-team football.
He got it and he's showing why he's worthy of the No. 1 jersey.
It seems like Given has been doing this forever, but he just keeps playing well.
9. Norwich City
Most important player: Grant Holt.
Before the season, Mirror Football said this about Holt: "The Canaries skipper has to inspire, lead and score the bulk of the goals if the Norfolk outfit are to deny the bookies and stay in the top flight."
Through 11 matches, the Canaries are flying high in the top half of the table.
At ninth place, Norwich owes a good deal of its success to the leadership and inspiration of Holt. With just three strikes, he hasn't scored the bulk of his team's goals (16), but the 30-year-old captain does much more than that.
10. Swansea City
Most important player: Scott Sinclair.
Unbeaten at home, Swansea owe much of their success to the attacking skills of Scott Sinclair.
He scored the hat trick that put the Swans in the Premier League, and now he looks ready to show he belongs there after a frustrating spell at Chelsea.
Without doubt, Sinclair is Swansea's most potent weapon. Whenever they win, he seems to be man of the match. When they lose, he's still dangerous.
He has a tendency to get too fancy at times, but if he can focus his talents consistently, it might be enough to keep Swansea in the top flight.
11. Queens Park Rangers
Most important player: Adel Taarabt.
Is it too much of a stretch to call Taarabt QPR's version of Cesc Fabregas?
Probably so—PSG aren't his childhood club, and he can't match Cesc's talent or ability to influence a game. He has been unsettled by an all-consuming desire to move to PSG, and it has affected QPR negatively at times.
At other times, though, he's Rangers' best player.
With apologies to: Alejandro Faurlin.
A starter in all 11 league matches so far this season, Faurlin is pivotal to QPR's playing style. He holds the ball, reads the game and distributes with class.
The main knock against him is that he lacks the confidence to shoot.
12. Stoke City
Most important player: Jon Walters.
For a team as inconsistent as Stoke, Walters has provided much-needed consistency.
He's started all 11 league matches at forward, scoring only two goals, but giving Stoke stability up front.
They'll need more, though, if they want to turn around a run of three successive league losses.
13. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Most important player: Roger Johnson.
Wolves started the season with seven points from their first three matches. Since then, it's been a roller-coaster ride.
Roger Johnson, the new signing from Birmingham, has been one of the team's most consistent performers. But like his team, he's also had nightmarish games.
We're thinking of the Swansea match, a performance the defender will hope he doesn't repeat. Wolves will be hoping the same thing as they fight for survival.
14. West Bromwich Albion
Most important player: Peter Odemwingie.
Certainly a member of the all-name team, Odemwingie is his club's most important player.
Who says? Only the manager.
If your manager considers you more important than any signing, you're vital to the team's plans.
With apologies to: Youssuff Mulumbu.
Most important player: Sebastian Larsson.
It's been a bitterly disappointing start to the season for Sunderland, but their Swedish midfield maestro has been a bright spot.
Larsson consistently provides Sunderland's most potent offensive threat.
He takes dangerous free kicks, he sets up goals and he tracks back well, too.
Larsson can drift in and out of games, but when he's on, Sunderland play much better.
Most important player: Danny Murphy.
He's old, yes. He's been playing seemingly since the league was still called the first division, and he looks even older.
But he's always been pivotal to the way Fulham plays and this season is no different.
Everything still goes through Murphy. Yes, he's slower and no, his field awareness isn't what it used to be, but he can still deliver that killer pass unlike anyone else on the team.
Most important player: Tim Howard.
With the departure of Mikel Arteta to Arsenal, Everton has struggled. The midfield is a mess, the defense is slow and the attack is toothless.
But Tim Howard, the big American keeper, almost always plays well. He's a solid shot-stopper who commands his area and performs well when frequently called upon in 1-on-1 situations.
If he suddenly suffers an injury or hits a patch of bad form, Everton could be in real trouble.
18. Bolton Wanderers
Most important player: Gary Cahill.
And it's not even close.
Cahill is an outstanding defender who's forced his way into the England squad and drawn interest from just about every club in England.
Bolton are already in trouble. If Cahill leaves in January, you can bet the house on their relegation.
19. Blackburn Rovers
Most important player: Christopher Samba.
Much like Cahill, Samba gives Blackburn hope.
Without him, Blackburn will go down.
20. Wigan Athletic
Most important player: Hugo Rodallega.
It's no mere coincidence that Wigan sit bottom of the table with the league's worst offensive record while Hugo Rodallega remains scoreless.
At his best, Rodallega is exciting, unpredictable and dangerous.
But he's come nowhere near his best this season.