Luis Suarez or Aaron Ramsey? Mesut Özil or Yaya Toure? Who has been the best player of the English Premier League season so far? Here I count down the top 10 players in the EPL thus far.
10. Phil Jagielka
Everton are flying high right now. They have won against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United and have managed to draw against Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool. In 15 games, Everton have managed to keep eight clean sheets and have only conceded a mere 14 goals. Their defensive solidity has come, in large part, due to the sturdiness of Phil Jagielka, who has featured in all of their matches and played the full 90 minutes.
9. Mathieu Flamini
Arsenal are at the top of the Premier League table, five points clear off their nearest opposition. The addition of Mesut Özil to their ranks and Aaron Ramsey’s great form has been the catalyst for Arsenal’s dominance this season. However, what people have missed out on is the defensive solidity of Arsenal these days.
While the offensive flair is still there, Arsene Wenger (and Steve Bould) have really focused on defensive duties as well. While Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have formed a superb partnership at the heart of the defence, Mathieu Flamini’s role cannot be overlooked.
He shields the back four tremendously, and his presence wards off attacking players and allows the back four to maintain a solid formation. A tremendous interceptor of the ball, his defensive prowess allows Arsenal to counter-attack with deadly accuracy.
His discipline in front of the back four has also allowed players like Aaron Ramsey to flourish more, as they can focus more on their creative duties.
8. Dejan Lovren
Eyebrows were raised when Mauricio Pochettino was appointed as the manager of Southampton. Forty-nine wins in 146 league matches with his previous club Espanyol hardly inspired confidence, and his inability to communicate fluently in English unnerved a lot of fans and neutrals alike.
However, Pochettino’s appointment has proved massively fruitful, and he has created a worthy team able to dismantle any opponent. A number of his players have performed exquisitely, and Dejan Lovren has been one of them. The Croatian has proved to be a rock-solid presence in center-defense, and he is the main reason why Southampton have such a highly rated defense this season.
7. Wayne Rooney
The speculation regarding Wayne Rooney’s future at Manchester United was all over the tabloids during the summer. Forced to reunite with his previous manager, David Moyes, exacerbated by Sir Alex Ferguson’s comment on the Englishman, led most to believe that Rooney was on his way out.
However, David Moyes handled the situation astutely and persuaded Rooney to stay. This superb decision has reaped eight goals and five assists in the EPL alone. While United have been on a slump, Wayne Rooney has stood out as their best player. His absence was felt sorely in United’s defeat against Newcastle, and it is imperative that Rooney stay on song if United have a chance to break into the top four.
6. Romelu Lukaku
The decision to loan out Romelu Lukaku yet again sent a few heads scratching. Why Chelsea, deprived of striking options, would loan the Belgian out was beyond anyone’s wildest guesses. However, Everton have reaped mightily from Chelsea’s blunder.
An ever-imposing presence, Lukaku has been superb yet again this season. Eight goals thus far in 11 matches is more than the one goal by Demba Ba, one goal by Fernando Torres and two goals by Samuel Eto’o combined.
5. Sergio Agüero
After a mediocre second season at Manchester City, Sergio Agüero has reinvented himself. He has proved himself to be the same menacing presence as when he helped Manchester City win the title in his debut season. He has already accumulated 12 goals and eight assists and shows no sign of slowing down.
4. Yaya Toure
Simply put, Yaya Toure is a beast. He wreaks havoc on all of his opponents. Perhaps there is no other player in the Premier League with such a combination of footballing intellect, offensive prowess and defensive acumen. He can work as an effective shield in midfield, breaking up plays and setting up a swift counter-attack, and he can also surge forward, dismantling opposition defences and scoring goals—he has seven goals and three assists already.
3. Mesut Özil
Mesut Özil is Arsenal’s most expensive signing. The £42.5 million shelled out by Arsenal dwarfs their second-most expensive purchase of Andrei Arshavin at £15 million.
The German international has really lit up the Emirates. His finesse and improvisation as an attacking midfielder, his dribbling and close control, and his ability to unlock opposition defences with a killer pass have made Arsenal into title-challenging team.
2. Luis Suarez
Ah, Luis Suarez. In my opinion, he is the most complete player in the EPL. He scores goals, creates numerous chances and hardly ever gets injured. If you put all the controversies behind him, Suarez can easily transform into one of the greatest players ever.
A majestic force all by himself, Luis Suarez can dribble in tight spaces, hit a menacing free-kick, set up team-mates with ease and, most importantly, score goals. And by the plenty!
This season, yet again, he has been in superb form. He is the Premier League’s leading goalscorer with 14 goals under his belt. And these goals have only come in 10 appearances (given the fact that he was banned for the incident with Branislav Ivanovic).
1. Aaron Ramsey
Is it the same Aaron Ramsey that we are witnessing, who once made Arsenal fans cringe at his sight on the roster? After breaking his leg, Ramsey looked sluggish, and he added nothing significant to the team.
However, he was raised from the ashes indeed. Mathieu Flamini’s immense presence at the pivot has given Ramsey the license to roam forward. His immense stamina has allowed him to exploit such an opportunity awarded, and his relationship with Özil has started to border in between telepathic levels.
His form has been integral to the Gunners’ success. He has proved himself to be the best player (or at least the most significant) in this year’s Premier League season thus far. He is extremely comfortable in possession, has remarkably improved his defensive abilities and his offensive prowess has improved beyond imagination.
It seems that Arsenal’s future will not revolve around Jack Wilshere, as many proclaimed, but around the charismatic Welshman.