Premier League Player Rankings: Spurs Players on the Rise; Chelsea Stars Falling
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- It’s a season-long ranking based on performances over the entire campaign—no longer does it take into account a four-to-six-week period of form (like previous editions did). Therefore, whoever is No. 1 would effectively be our choice for Player of the Season if the campaign finished this week.
- Only Premier League form is considered—no Champions League, no domestic cups and no international football.
- We pore over hours of film to accurately grade the players on a weekly basis. All teams are covered properly, and experts are sought out for advice as and when required.
- Players are given a score after every performance, and those scores are averaged out over the course of the season to produce a grade.
- Performing well on a consistent basis is key. Players such as Dele Alli and Zlatan, who have endured poor patches spanning months this season, have a lot of work to do in order to set the record straight.
- A player must have meaningfully participated (started or played in excess of 20 minutes) in more than 50 per cent of his team’s games to be eligible for the ranking. You wouldn’t christen anyone Player of the Season having played fewer than half the games.
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We know you might be sinking your teeth into some incredibly exciting Champions League action right now, but be sure you find time to check in on the latest edition of our Premier League player rankings, right here.
Chelsea put in a poor performance against Manchester United on Sunday, forcing several of their players to move down for the first time in months. Others have taken advantage of that, with Tottenham on the up and with most of their starting XI inside the top 20.
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40. Jonny Evans, West Brom (-5)
The last few weeks haven’t been great for Evans. West Brom as a team have slowed down immensely, and he’s often finding no one to pass to when moving the ball forward, which appears to really irritate him.
39. Eric Bailly, Manchester United (New!)
Has been pretty flawless of late, and had injuries not held him back intermittently throughout his first season at Old Trafford, he might well be in the top 25 of our rankings.
38. Fernandinho, Manchester City (-2)
Didn’t play poorly at St. Mary’s Stadium, just moves down a few spots as a few players below him excelled.
37. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City (+2)
Aguero has now scored in five consecutive Premier League games, finally finding the form that has eluded him for large chunks of this season.
36. Romelu Lukaku, Everton (+5)
The Belgian has that unerring ability to score even when he’s not playing that well, which will probably serve him very well in his hunt for a Champions League move this summer.
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35. Idrissa Gueye, Everton (-1)
Withdrawn at half-time in Everton’s win over Burnley. Some think it was a niggle that he was carrying; others think it was because he was on a yellow and headed straight for a red soon enough.
34. Oriol Romeu, Southampton (-1)
Served the second of his two-match suspension, having to watch as Manchester City tore his team-mates apart. He could have really helped…had he been allowed on the pitch.
33. Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace (-1)
Not his finest performance, with Andros Townsend attracting most of the credit for Palace’s comeback against Leicester City.
32. Georginio Wijnaldum, Liverpool (+5)
So many raised their eyebrows at his transfer fee in the summer, but he’s been such a smart acquisition for Jurgen Klopp. Clever play against West Brom helped manage the game and see out the win.
31. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Manchester United (Stay)
Benched for Manchester United’s win over Chelsea, with Jose Mourinho preferring a lightning-fast approach up top with Marcus Rashford. Also, Zlatan played against Anderlecht days before and the Europa League seems to be the manager’s priority.
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30. Yaya Toure, Manchester City (Stay)
Completed 73 passes at St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday—the most of any player on either side—as he brought measured control to the City approach.
29. David Luiz, Chelsea (-4)
Really struggled with Rashford and got done for Manchester United’s opening goal. If only he were facing Sergio Aguero every week?
28. Adam Lallana, Liverpool (+1)
Still injured so did not participate in Liverpool’s win over West Brom. Moves up only because Luiz was so disappointing.
27. Marcos Alonso, Chelsea (Stay)
Pulled out of Chelsea’s bout with Manchester United due to illness in the warm-up. They missed him in attack.
26. Virgil van Dijk, Southampton (-4)
Injured, and continues to slip as the likes of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen rocket up the rankings.
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25. Dele Alli, Tottenham (+2)
Grabbed an arbitrary assist for Harry Kane’s goal, but let’s be honest: that was all Kane. Alli played well, if not brilliantly, in a dominant team showing.
24. Joel Matip, Liverpool (Stay)
A clean sheet at the Hawthorns is a prize few manage, though admittedly Matip needed a few big moments from his goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to help him achieve it.
23. Christian Eriksen, Tottenham (+3)
With four key passes against AFC Bournemouth, he tied Kane for the highest in the game. It was Eriksen’s dangerous corner that set up the opener and his neat passing that kept the opponent pinned back.
22. Victor Moses, Chelsea (-4)
That was probably the least influential game Victor Moses has had in a Chelsea shirt this season. He switched sides to no effect, and was then substituted early in the second half to allow a formation change.
21. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City (+2)
De Bruyne caused Southampton all sorts of issues on Saturday, grabbing two assists thanks to some smart, unselfish, heads-up play.
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20. Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea (-3)
Was moved all over the pitch against Manchester United and, for once, his wires got crossed. Struggled on both flanks, looking dizzy when working out where he was meant to be.
19. Pedro, Chelsea (Stay)
Matteo Darmian played very close attention to Pedro on Sunday, locking him out of patches of the game, but he still caused more trouble than Eden Hazard as he simply refused to stop running around.
18. Roberto Firmino, Liverpool (+3)
Another crucial goal for Firmino led to another three points for Liverpool. In Sadio Mane’s absence, the Brazilian has seriously stepped up and earned them crucial ground in the race for fourth.
17. Raheem Sterling, Manchester City (-2)
Has Sterling lost his place in this City side? He’s played sparingly of late and is slowly dropping down the rankings as a result.
16. Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool (-2)
Coutinho’s been something of a yo-yo of late, moving up two then down two immediately after. It suggests he’s not playing consistently at all, and his performance against West Brom compounds that.
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15. Diego Costa, Chelsea (-8)
Sunday might well have been Costa’s worst performance in a Chelsea shirt. Everything about his game was off, and he seemed too interested in picking fights with Marcos Rojo to actually stand a chance of scoring.
14. Kyle Walker, Tottenham (+2)
With Walker, we begin a run of seven Tottenham players in a row (it’s a marker for just how well they’re playing). He played well, beat Marc Pugh with ease on the flank and delivered a few good balls in the final third.
13. Harry Kane, Tottenham (+7)
He scored and assisted against AFC Bournemouth, and the goal he netted was absolutely ridiculous. After a slow start and some injuries this term, the Englishman now deservedly claims a spot in our top 15.
12. Jan Vertonghen, Tottenham (Stay)
Had a very limited amount of work to do given Spurs’ dominance over AFCB, but stayed alert and defended proactively high up, intercepting a few odd balls here and there.
11. Mousa Dembele, Tottenham (+2)
Scored the opener as Tottenham ran riot, which was a big surprise as he’s looked allergic to shooting for most of the season. Generally drove forward in midfield very well, as he is one to do, and his forward passing through tight gaps in midfield impressed.
10. Toby Alderweireld, Tottenham
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Last Week: 10th
These kind of games are easy for Toby Alderweireld.
He excels playing high up, intercepting and nullifying dangerous situations before they fully arise, and enjoys playing the long, raking, accurate passes that the likes of AFC Bournemouth will allow him to.
With not a lot to do defensively, he mostly just stood there, pinged passes around the park and worked on his sun tan.
9. Danny Rose, Tottenham
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Last Week: 9th
Danny Rose is fit and running again, but he’s not fit enough to play as a full-back in Mauricio Pochettino’s high-energy system just yet, per the Daily Mail.
8. Victor Wanyama, Tottenham
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Last Week: 8th
Returned from injury with a 10-minute cameo at the end of Tottenham’s win over AFC Bournemouth. He’s expected to start in the FA Cup semi-final, but to be fair to Eric Dier, he’s deputised very well in the Kenyan’s place.
7. Antonio Valencia, Manchester United
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Last Week: 11th
Antonio Valencia returned to Manchester United’s Premier League XI after two weeks out and played a faultless game—not that we expected any less.
The Ecuadorian is being asked to fulfil a strange role that changes between right-back and right-winger depending on whether or not the Red Devils have the ball, and is showing how smart a player he is in bridging the two positions expertly.
United were solid and untroubled defensively by Chelsea on Sunday, and Valencia was a key part of that.
6. Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal
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Last Week: 6th
Recently, Arsenal fans have had to learn to take the rough with the smooth with Alexis Sanchez. He’s definitely slowed down in terms of production, but is now popping up with genuine moments of quality in amidst a sea of average play.
Take his game against Middlesbrough on Monday as a prime example: In possession he was generally careless, gave the ball in the build-up to Boro’s goal, but placed a wondrous free-kick into the net to put the Gunners ahead when they were starting to look lost for ideas.
5. Sadio Mane, Liverpool
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Last Week: 5th
Life after Mane hasn’t been so bad so far for Liverpool. They’ve won two in a row, both away from home, with Firmino stepping into the goalscoring void.
4. Ander Herrera, Manchester United
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Last Week: 4th
Last week, we released a Premier League Team of the Season (so far) based off these weekly rankings, and it included Ander Herrera in midfield.
It was met with surprise by non-Manchester United fans—it appears few outside of the fanbase have noticed how brilliant he’s been—and so the fact he put in a genuine 10/10 performance against Chelsea on Sunday felt rather timely.
He scored, assisted and nullified Hazard in a way we’ve never seen before. Defensively stellar, he destroyed Chelsea’s attacking gameplan, then threaded a perfect ball in behind Luiz for Rashford to finish. He then bagged his first goal of the season (with a help of a deflection) to cap a perfect day.
3. David Silva, Manchester City
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Last Week: 3rd
David Silva just about did enough to see off the challenge of Ander Herrera this week. It didn’t all go his way against Southampton, but provided a few moments of true quality when it mattered the most.
A victim of rotational, regular fouling, Silva struggled to get going against a Saints team committed to stopping him from dictating. Much of what he tried didn’t come off…and then he struck a killer, perfectly weighted pass into the path of De Bruyne, who squared for Leroy Sane in one of the deadliest counter-attacking moves you’ll see in years.
2. N’Golo Kante, Chelsea
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Last Week: 2nd
Chelsea didn’t play well as a team on Sunday, but certain individuals did stand out for the right reasons. N’Golo Kante, predictably, was one of them, as he fought the turning tide in midfield to do his usual thing: tackle, intercept, disrupt.
He managed seven interceptions—a game-high across both teams—and managed five tackles too. His midfield partner, Nemanja Matic, got completely lost in the game and couldn’t impact in any third, leaving Kante with it all to do. It was a valiant effort.
1. Eden Hazard, Chelsea
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Last Week: 1st
It’s rare you see Hazard wrapped up convincingly. He’s so wriggly and evasive that usually, even if you dedicate specific resources to stopping him, it doesn’t work out.
But Sunday saw the Belgian well and truly blunted; Herrera’s man-marking job on him was so incredibly effective, he barely got himself into the game at all. He created nothing, never looked like scoring and couldn’t escape the attentions of the Spaniard at any point.
That weakens his stock a little—particularly given Kante, at No. 2 still, played so well—but he holds onto No. 1 by a hair for now.
All statistics via WhoScored.com