EPL 100: Ranking the Top 100 Players of the 2013-14 Premier League Season

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMay 13, 2014

EPL 100: Ranking the Top 100 Players of the 2013-14 Premier League Season

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    The 2013-14 Premier League has drawn to a close, and Bleacher Report has wasted no time in compiling the definitive top 100 players of the campaign.

    The ranking is based solely on the 2013-14 seasonal form of a player—any prestigious previous seasons or enhanced reputations are not considered. The minimum appearance count is 12, so if a player started a dozen times, his body of work will be evaluated; if he didn't, he was not considered.

    Players are not graded or ranked on the longevity of their impact for the season either, meaning Steven Gerrard and Aaron Ramsey came out very close, despite the former playing nearly a dozen more games.

    We scored you on what you played, provided you started 12.

    A note about "Last Year's Rank": Last year's top 100 was constructed prior to the 2013-14 season and counted any player signed before Sunday, August 11. It was a preemptive ranking ahead of the campaign. Click here to see that slideshow.

    Without further ado, let's get stuck in. If you have any disagreements, comments or alternate theories, we welcome them in the comments below as always.

     

    All statistics sourced from WhoScored.com.

Notable Omissions

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    As stated on the introductory page, to qualify for the EPL 100, players must have put together 12 starts in the league this season.

    All appearance numbers were sourced from WhoScored, and here are the most notable absentees due to their failure to make the requisite number of showings. 

     

    Theo WalcottArsenalWing
    Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainArsenalWing
    Bryan OviedoEvertonLeft-back
    Robbie BradyHull CityWing
    James MilnerManchester CityWing
    Matija NastasicManchester CityCB
    SandroTottenham HotspurMidfield

     

Honourable Mentions

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    In another highly competitive year, these 15 players just missed the cut for the top 100.

    RankPlayerClubPosition
    115. Steven CaulkerCardiff City Defender 
    114.Artur BorucSouthamptonGoalkeeper
    113.Shane LongHull CityForward
    112. Jack CorkSouthampton Midfield 
    111. Vlad ChirichesTottenham Defender 
    110. Peter OdemwingieStoke City Forward 
    109.Jason PuncheonCrystal PalaceMidfielder
    108.Jon FlanaganLiverpoolLiverpool
    107.Vito MannoneSunderlandGoalkeeper
    106. Marko ArnautovicStoke City Midfielder 
    105.Marcos AlonsoSunderlandDefender
    104. Yannick BolasieCrystal Palace Midfielder 
    103. John StonesEverton Defender 
    102. Lukas PodolskiArsenal Forward 
    101.Fabio BoriniSunderland Forward 

     

100. Oscar, Chelsea

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    Talk about kicking off with a big one.

    Bar the second leg vs. Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and the FA Cup fixture against Stoke City—note: two non-Premier League games—Oscar has been rather poor in 2014.

    He's played close to 200 games in three seasons, and it's clearly catching up with him; his work rate, touch, finesse and shooting are all down from where they were last season. The first in particular is one of his greatest strengths.

    His Premier League grade takes a hit because of this, and he lingers much lower than fans would like. He won't get a rest over the summer, as he's the starting No. 10 for Brazil, so there's some concern as to when he'll get the chance to recuperate and return to normal.

    Last Year: 38th

99. Phil Jones, Manchester United

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    Manchester United defender Phil Jones continues to suffer for his versatility. However, this season, he has taken a big step toward becoming a regular central defender after a run of games alongside Jonny Evans in the second half of the campaign.

    He still has flaws to work on in his game, but he made progress this campaign in terms of concentration. Technically and physically, though, he has all the tools to improve further.

    It was important for the Englishman to show that he could step up in big games, and multiple times this season, he did an impressive job of shackling dangerous opponents.

    Likely to head to the World Cup as a versatile substitute in Roy Hodgson's squad, Jones can be pleased with his season in what has been a difficult environment at Old Trafford. He must still step up a few levels to reach his full potential.

    Last Year: Honorable Mention

98. Christian Benteke, Aston Villa

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    Christian Benteke's disappointing second season in the Premier League ended early due to a horrifying Grade 3 Achilles tear in training.

    Early in the campaign, he hurt his hip flexor at Carrow Road and missed a sizeable chunk of games, narrowing his sample down to just 24 starts.

    When he was fit, though, he dominated all before him despite scoring fewer goals (10) than the season before (19). Aerially, he's unbeatable, and his linkup play and understanding of midfield runs improved as he put together a run of games post-Christmas.

    He drops in our rankings, however, and that's due to the reduced output and occasional anonymous performance—two things that weren't present in his performances last year.

    Last Year: 50th

97. Peter Crouch, Stoke City

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    Peter Crouch enjoyed what was arguably his best season since joining Stoke City in 2011.

    His eight goals and five assists made it a pretty regular statistical total for the beanpole striker, but on the pitch he seemed more opportunistic and more aggressive in carving out chances. To boot, he really connected with January signing Peter Odemwingie.

    An unsung yet very strong campaign for the Englishman.

    Last Year: Unranked

96. Jack Wilshere, Arsenal

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    Jack Wilshere's season was absolutely all over the place, with inconsistent showings and a season-ending injury drawing dark clouds over the prospect of him starting for England in Brazil this summer.

    He'd play an excellent game on the left, go missing for three weeks and then randomly excel on the right side the following month. He essentially lost his role as an undisputed central starter due to Aaron Ramsey's immense run of form and, for long periods, looked grumpy and unhappy on the pitch.

    Still, he had a top-100 season and starred in a few games. 

    Last Year: 19th

95. Steve Sidwell, Fulham

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    There hasn't been a lot to shout about for Fulham fans this season, with even the exciting signing of Kostas Mitroglou in January backfiring immensely due to injury.

    But Steve Sidwell has provided cause for hope and excitement, with his genuine box-to-box nature something fans can always hang their hat on and admire.

    His goal tally of seven was a career best.

    Last Year: Unranked

94. Tomas Rosicky, Arsenal

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    With Tomas Rosicky, you know what you're going to get.

    He's still not managed to return to 100 percent fitness and frequently misses games, but Arsene Wenger had enough men in midfield this season to rotate him in and out effectively.

    He turned up in the big fixtures and scored several key goals. He runs his heart out for the team, no matter what position he's deployed in, and he's a feel-good character to have in the squad.

    Last Year: 94th

93. Gary Medel, Cardiff City

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    Gary Medel was an expensive acquisition for Cardiff City last summer, but despite the club's propensity to concede multiple times per game, he's acquitted himself rather well.

    Nicknamed "Pitbull" for his aggressive style of play, the Chilean patrols in front of his defence superbly, winning challenges of a robust nature and pressuring advanced playmakers all game.

    Thanks to his coaching from Jorge Sampaoli at international level, he's been able to drop into the defensive line with ease and cover runners.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in La Liga)

92. Geoff Cameron, Stoke City

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    Geoff Cameron has been a consistently excellent presence for Stoke City this season, despite playing in his third-best position all campaign long.

    By trade, he's a centre-back, and although he appears there on occasion for the Potters, he's been played at right-back for two straight seasons and impressed, despite his poor body fit for the position.

    He averages strong defensive numbers—2.9 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per game—and contributes heavily to Mark Hughes' sturdy game plan.

    Last Year: Unranked

91. Jake Livermore, Hull City

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    If Jake Livermore is available for £7 million or less this summer, clubs shouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger.

    Steve Bruce's Hull City will be right at the front of the queue to take the loanee on permanently, with the midfielder's immense growth and promising partnership with Tom Huddlestone making the Tigers an attractive destination.

    He produces in every area of the pitch, runs the hard yards and pops up in good positions in and around the box.

    Last Year: Unranked

90. Martin Demichelis, Manchester City

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    Let us let you in on a little secret: Martin Demichelis is nowhere near as bad as everyone likes to make out.

    In fact, the derision he receives from most casual punters has led to him becoming something of a cult hero at Manchester City. In truth, there are a lot of things to like.

    He's rash and aggressive—there's no getting away from it—but Manuel Pellegrini has used that to great effect on a number of occasions. He excels in following deep-lying forwards into midfield and stopping them from receiving the ball, and it's really only the very costly errors that have gotten him such a bad rap.

    We're on your side, Martin.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in La Liga)

89. Tim Krul, Newcastle United

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    Tim Krul hasn't made any headlines in 2014 due to Newcastle United's horrendous slide in form, but it stands as another season the Dutchman can be proud of.

    When the Magpies were flying high in the league early on, so was he, with his huge frame, long arms and brilliant reflexes on show every week.

    Despite the torrent of goals recently let in that have hurt his stock in our top 100, he's still looking good for the World Cup in Brazil.

    Last Year: 49th 

88. Martin Olsson, Norwich City

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    The signing of Martin Olsson went a little unnoticed last summer, but he's been a consistently strong presence on the left flank for Norwich City this season.

    That a six or seven out of 10 each week makes you one of the Canaries' top performers is indicative of their woeful campaign overall. And with them being relegated, he'll likely be snapped up quickly.

    He's an engine on the flank, possesses impressive speed and crosses well. 

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Championship)

87. Victor Wanyama, Southampton

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    Victor Wanyama had an up-and-down debut season in the Premier League with Southampton, with injuries and blips in form affecting his ranking here.

    He's not asked to do much—Saints have essentially invested in his unbelievable physical build rather than his skill set as a footballer—but early on, he had trouble recycling easy possession and keeping the ball moving.

    It was an issue brought over from his time at Celtic, but after breaking his leg against Aston Villa just before the turn of the year, he has ironed out the problems and tidied himself up.

    He'll be better next season.

    Last Year: 48th

86. Simon Mignolet, Liverpool

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    Simon Mignolet's debut season with Liverpool has been defined by clear highs and woeful lows.

    He can't cope in the air, fumbling and flapping at most crosses, yet he pulls off the most stunning one-on-one and point-blank saves in the league.

    He's saved the Reds' bacon (example: Stoke at home) as many times as he's thrown three points away single-handedly (example: Aston Villa at home). 

    Last Year: 44th 

85. Jonny Howson, Norwich City

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    The 2013-14 season promised to be a breakout one for Jonny Howson after his strong end to the previous campaign, and he's lived up to the fans' billing at Norwich City.

    The midfielder had a great start to the season, with Man of the Match performances coming against Stoke City and Aston Villa. In December, however, he picked up a back injury which put him out for two months and derailed the #howsonforengland campaign led on Twitter.

    Since his return, he hasn't quite hit those heights again as he struggled for fitness, but he stands head and shoulders above any other Canaries player after a dismal Premier League campaign.

    Last Year: Unranked

84. Jonathan de Guzman, Swansea City

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    Jonathan de Guzman has had a slightly inconsistent season, but his tendency to score or assist goals at key times has ensured he has a place in our top 100.

    He's a wonderfully tidy passer when required, but at times Swansea City lacked thrust and decisiveness under Michael Laudrup. Garry Monk loosened the chains on his Dutch midfielder, and he's repaid him with some beautiful goals.

    His partnership and linkup with Wilfried Bony was excellent.

    Last Year: Unranked

83. Mikel Arteta, Arsenal

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    Mikel Arteta's play improved during the 2013-14 season, as he settled into the anchor role better than last year and emerged as Arsene Wenger's No. 1 choice in holding midfield.

    Still, though, there were holes to be found in his game, and while many neutrals blame Arsenal's back line for the big collapses against Liverpool and Chelsea, the problem stems from further forward.

    He's a tidy passer and a willing outlet, but he is far from outstanding defensively.

    Last Year: 84th

82. Brad Guzan, Aston Villa

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    Many will slight Brad Guzan for allowing Jonjo Shelvey to score a 45-yard wonder volley at the Liberty Stadium, but bar that moment of genius, no one has been able to make the U.S. international look bad this season.

    He pretty much picked up where he left off last year—in fine fettle—and continued to lead by example in defence, proactively claiming crosses and relieving pressure on the defence.

    He's dropped a little in his one-on-one scoring, but his reflexes remain top notch.

    Last Year: 61st

81. Juan Mata, Manchester United

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    Juan Mata has fallen a long way from our top-100 rankings last season, but he cannot be solely blamed for diminished production and impact.

    He was rarely used by Jose Mourinho in the first half of the season due to the Portuguese's preference for faster midfielders who can carry the ball great distances. Any sighting we did get of him was out on the left, looking marooned, lonely and ineffectual.

    David Moyes, too, played him from the left upon bringing him to Manchester United, and only recently has he begun to excel from a central No. 10 role.

    We've seen his wonderful passing range, creativity and understanding of space—but in a shorter, subdued fashion. A shame.

    Last Year: 1st 

80. Alvaro Negredo, Manchester City

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    Alvaro Negredo started the season superbly, linking with Sergio Aguero in a fine striking partnership and scoring goals galore.

    But it all dried up at the end of January, and since a two-goal blitz against West Ham in the Cup, he hasn't looked the same.

    He's a big, mobile target man who has a strong understanding of forward runs and how to create space for a partner. Unfortunately, he also brought his inconsistencies over from Sevilla.

    Last Year: 58th

79. Ki Sung-Yueng, Sunderland

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    Ki Sung-Yueng was surprisingly sent out on loan to Sunderland this season, and where at times Swansea City have lacked a calming influence in midfield, envious glances have been shot in the direction of the South Korean.

    His ability to keep the ball moving and never be fazed by pressing is rivalled by very few. A safe, metronome-esque presence deep in midfield is the foundation of many teams' success in 2014.

    If Ki isn't wanted at Swansea, he'll be wanted almost everywhere else.

    Last Year: Unranked

78. Ross Barkley, Everton

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    Ross Barkley used the pre-season under Roberto Martinez to prove he belonged in the first-team setup at Everton. What happened next was astonishing.

    He started the opening game against Norwich City and scored a cracking goal, and inside one 90-minute exhibition he showed us drool-worthy pace, power, confidence and dribbling ability.

    Over the course of the campaign, he's emerged as an attractive option for Roy Hodgson's England squad. He's also been linkedvia the Mirror, to a £50 million Manchester United move.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in academy)

77. Mathieu Debuchy, Newcastle United

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    Mathieu Debuchy had a rough first half season in England, but after getting a full pre-season under his belt with Newcastle United, he turned in a consistently strong second campaign.

    It was extremely noticeable when he was absent, not only because Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa struggled in his place, but because he managed to mesh positive runs forward with a better defensive skill set and ethic.

    He arrived from Lille with a reputation for "owning" a flank, a la Seamus Coleman, and he delivered on those promises in 2013-14.

    Last Year: Unranked

76. Ron Vlaar, Aston Villa

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    Aston Villa haven't had a lot to shout about defensively this season, but fans always feel that if Ron Vlaar plays, they have a chance of grabbing at least a point.

    He's an injury-prone player and misses games, so we've had ample chance to review Paul Lambert's men sans Vlaar, and it's not a pretty sight. Nathan Baker and Ciaran Clark wander aimlessly when he's not there to guide them, and that's a wonderful steadying influence to have around young players.

    He's a leader and is positionally very strong and extremely reliable in the air. 

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Eredivisie)

75. Aleksandar Kolarov, Manchester City

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    Aleksandar Kolarov made a real impression this season, and with Manchester City's new-found sturdiness in central midfield, the Serbian was let loose on the left and free to explore.

    He's a prototypical left wing-back, and his low crosses are disgustingly difficult to deal with. If City can't find the answer through conventional methods, Kolarov bombs the box until someone sticks a toe out and diverts it in.

    As always, his defensive game had holes.

    Last Year: Unranked

74. Jose Fonte, Southampton

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    Jose Fonte joined Southampton in 2010 and immediately declared, "I want to play in the Premier League and I think I can do that quickest by moving here," per BBC Sport.

    At the time he was moving from the Championship to League One, so many eyebrows were raised, but the Portuguese's career move has panned out exactly as planned.

    Alongside Dejan Lovren, he's been fantastic: calm on the ball, gracious in possession and formidable in the air. Portugal are missing a trick in overlooking this chap for their World Cup squad.

    Last Year: Unranked

73. Tom Huddlestone, Hull City

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    Tom Huddlestone has been a superb signing for Hull City.

    The England international has quickly become the lynchpin of Steve Bruce's midfield, and all attacks flow through him. He has the ability to keep it simple on the deck or launch a pinpoint through ball into the channel for a striker to chase.

    Bruce moved him forward in the FA Cup semi-final so as to get more involved in the final third, a glowing endorsement of his importance to the team.

    Last Year: Unranked

72. Joe Hart, Manchester City

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    There are some Manchester City fans calling for a replacement goalkeeper to be signed—that's how underwhelming Joe Hart has been of late.

    His multiple errors early in the season saw him placed on the bench for more than a month, and while his performances improved after some tough love from Manuel Pellegrini, he's still looking uncertain in patches.

    In particular, his distribution is way, way off the mark.

    Last Year: 17th

71. Olivier Giroud, Arsenal

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    Olivier Giroud has been flogged into the ground over the second half of the season, and Arsene Wenger's decision not to invest in a complementary striker (or rest Giroud!) is making him look worse than he is.

    His linkup play is excellent, and he works very, very hard to win headers and feed his team-mates in strong positions. What he lacks, though, is any form of pace, and that holds Arsenal up badly against top-tier, elite opponents.

    Giroud's strengths and weaknesses are abundantly clear, and his lack of speed means he will never be an elite-calibre striker. Still, he put together an excellent four months and soldiered on with no help—the man deserves respect for it.

    Last Year: 54th  

70. Rickie Lambert, Southampton

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    Rickie Lambert has declined a little this season, but his production in front of goal is almost impossible to ignore.

    With 13 goals and 10 assists, he's behind only Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge in terms of Englishmen directly impacting the game.

    His lack of pace is a big concern, and if you drop off him and allow him to pass, he can't harm you in deeper areas. Southampton became overly reliant on Jay Rodriguez toward the end of the season as a result.

    Last Year: 81st

69. Danny Welbeck, Manchester United

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    Danny Welbeck's 2012-13 seasonal tally of one Premier League goal was nothing short of atrocious, so almost anything would be "up" from there.

    It took him just 90 minutes, away to Swansea City, to double it on the opening day, and while he didn't go on to reach the 20-goal heights, he managed a far more laudable total of nine and his all-round play was strong.

    He was the laughingstock of the Premier League last season, yet right now Arsenal fans would (largely) take him over Olivier Giroud for their front line. 

    Last Year: Unranked

68. Joel Ward, Crystal Palace

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    It's hard to escape the feeling that only big-club bias has prevented Joel Ward from earning international recognition over the course of this season, such has been the sure-footed nature of his first full campaign in the Premier League.

    Having played right-back, central midfield and finally left-back over the course of the season, Ward's impressive versatility has been matched only by the quality and consistency of his performances. The ex-Portsmouth trainee played an integral part as Palace put together one of the best defences in the league.

    Still just 24, the future looks bright for Ward.

    If he improves his positioning and footwork—and perhaps adds a more obvious attacking threat—a call from Roy Hodgson can surely not be too far away. And perhaps the interest of some big clubs, too.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Championship)

67. Mathieu Flamini, Arsenal

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    Mathieu Flamini was arguably the best-value signing of the summer window, rejoining Arsenal on a free transfer following a mixed spell with AC Milan.

    His strong positional sense and vocal authority made an immediate impact upon the Gunners' midfield, and he proved himself an immediate upgrade over Mikel Arteta from the get-go.

    Unlike many converted playmakers who now play in a deeper role, he has the instincts and understanding to close out midfield runners and occupy "hot spots" around the box.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Serie A)

66. Fabian Delph, Aston Villa

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    Fabian Delph came of age this season, putting together strings of consistent performances and, for the most part, looking like Aston Villa's best player.

    His wiry frame allows him to move fluidly between challenges, while his legs are so long and loping, he appears to glide across the turf at unnatural speeds.

    All of his goals have been absolute crackers, and Villa fans were relieved finally to see him add that to his game after scoring bucketloads for Leeds United in 2007-08.

    A promising campaign for the Englishman.

    Last Year: Unranked

65. Andre Schurrle, Chelsea

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    Andre Schurrle didn't have the season he likely hoped for, but breaching the Chelsea team and beating out Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar is a tough assignment.

    The German speedster started 15 games in the Premier League primarily from the left, and while his eight goals give him nearly a 1-2 ratio, it's important to note three came in one spectacular hat-trick.

    He did what Jose Mourinho asked of him as a rotational player and chipped in up front. Not outstanding, not terrible and good for a mid-60s ranking here.

    Last Year: 26th

64. Luke Shaw, Southampton

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    Luke Shaw had a true breakout season, moving from Danny Fox's likely usurper to dark horse for a 2014 World Cup berth in Brazil.

    At just 18 years of age, he's progressed rapidly into one of the most impressive attacking full-backs in the Premier League, with Manchester United linked to a £30 million bid for the left-sider, per ESPN.

    He's aggressive, crosses well, boasts great core strength and jostles for position superbly. He's got some defensive work to do—he can be crucified at times by direct wingers—but it's a matter of time and coaching, not talent.

    Last Year: Unranked

63. Jesus Navas, Manchester City

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    Jesus Navas brought much-needed width to Manchester City's attacking approach this season, with Manuel Pellegrini seeing fit to rotate him and James Milner to keep them both fresh.

    Navas was always the choice for the big games and showed his strengths early in the season, with his blistering pace nearly unrivalled and his crossing ability defying the era.

    His tendency to disappear or "drift" at times is his biggest knock, but overall the Spaniard has been a success at the Etihad Stadium so far.

    Last Year: 18th

62. Kieran Gibbs, Arsenal

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    Kieran Gibbs had the season every Arsenal fan has been waiting for, staying relatively fit and coming on leaps and bounds as a result.

    His offensive output was much better, driving down the line and entering the box on the left with purpose and intent, while his defensive game also improved in parts.

    There's work to do for Gibbs yet, but most of his inadequacies surfaced in the Champions League, not the Premier League, so he's not docked here.

    Last Year: Honorable Mention

61. Kyle Walker, Tottenham Hotspur

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    Tottenham Hotspur had a regrettable season, but one major positive has been the form of Kyle Walker at right-back.

    Before Emmanuel Adebayor emerged, he was their player of the season, with his game beginning to hone in a Dani Alves-esque fashion: pure dominance, through pace and power, on the flanks.

    He's improved technically in tight areas, makes clever runs and has brushed up his defensive skill set. Critically, he can cover himself thanks to his immense speed.

    Last Year: Unranked

60. Asmir Begovic, Stoke City

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    Asmir Begovic has been at Stoke City for four seasons, and literally no one knows how they've managed to keep hold of him.

    A strong World Cup for debuting country Bosnia and Herzegovina could be enough to tip the scales away from the Potters, though. If he shows his 2013-14 seasonal form in Brazil, there'll be no shortage of interest.

    He's not perfect; he does make mistakes. But he's equally capable of taking control of a game and pulling off world-class save after world-class save, and he even managed to score a goal this year!

    Last Year: 55th

59. Jonny Evans, Manchester United

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    Jonny Evans is the only Manchester United defender to make our top 100—a stark reality of the poor season they endured.

    Unlike his declining/underperforming colleagues, Evans showed excellent positional ability and looked strong in the air when called into action.

    He's a building block at left centre-back, and if United's new manager doesn't see fit to find him a new partner, fans will hope either Chris Smalling or Phil Jones can mature into a capable player alongside.

    Last Year: Unranked

58. Mamadou Sakho, Liverpool

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    Mamadou Sakho's three-month hamstring injury curtailed what was quickly becoming a strong season for the Frenchman, with many expecting nothing but the best following an expensive move.

    The Paris Saint-Germain youth product had grown disillusioned with his lack of first-team assurances in France, but his ability was never in doubt. Late this season, he came back into the XI and replaced the underwhelming Daniel Agger with ease.

    He's physically monstrous and epic in the air, but he lacks any form of finesse on the ground. As long as he's not making mistakes, that won't matter to Brendan Rodgers, but he can come across as a little awkward at times.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Ligue 1)

57. Steven Davis, Southampton

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    James Ward-Prowse was primed for a big season at Southampton under Mauricio Pochettino, but the consistency and versatility of Steven Davis locked him out of the side.

    Davis can play anywhere in midfield and does the simple, educational things very, very well: moving the ball quickly, playing low-risk passes and feeding his more creative outlets in good areas.

    Davis is one of, if not the most underrated player in the Premier League.

    Last Year: Unranked

56. Samuel Eto'o, Chelsea

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    The 33-year-old Eto'o we see before us, finally, is not the same man who won the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona and Internazionale.

    He's lost his speed and instead converted himself to a deep-lying/linkup forward who drops in and plays runners into strong positions. Despite the change, he still has a better nose for poachers' opportunities and space to utilise than Fernando Torres.

    The Cameroonian scored nine Premier League goals this season, all of which were at Stamford Bridge.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Russian Premier League)

55. Edin Dzeko, Manchester City

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    Edin Dzeko isn't everyone's cup of tea, and he doesn't start every game, but when he plays, he scores, and you can't argue with his figures.

    He doesn't catch fire unless he's truly loved—a la Wolfsburg and Bosnia and Herzegovina—but he has managed a modest output ever since moving to England with Manchester City.

    He appears ungainly at times, but he has a nose for finding the ball in the right areas and knows how to stick it in the back of the net.

    Last Year: 47th

54. Kevin Mirallas, Everton

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    Kevin Mirallas put together a strong season on the right for Everton, subscribing to Roberto Martinez's philosophy and providing some cutting edge from the flank.

    He was often given a licence to roam infield and take up shooting positions, while he also emerged as the Toffees' prime weapon on swift counter-attacks.

    His output of eight goals and eight assists could have been so much more, though, had his decision-making in front of goal been better.

    Last Year: 40th

53. Morgan Schneiderlin, Southampton

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    Morgan Schneiderlin now appears to be the answer to Arsenal's questions at defensive midfield, although Southampton fans won't thank us for pointing that out.

    The defensive midfielder put in another consistently excellent season, though he stood out less this time due to two main factors: Saints' dominance in most games and Mauricio Pochettino's efforts to play through Luke Shaw on the left rather than centrally.

    Still, "Spiderman" did his job well, breaking play up cleanly and excelling in the first six weeks of the season. His presence meant Victor Wanyama has struggled to settle in fully.

    Last Year: 27th

52. Tim Howard, Everton

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    With all the talk surrounding Roberto Martinez and his new signings and system, Tim Howard stood forgotten in far too many circles.

    The 35-year-old put together another excellent, sturdy season at the back for Everton, springing into action in multiple games to save his side's bacon.

    His reflexes are still top notch; he's active on his line and will claim crosses confidently. Martinez's tactics have required a little more from him than David Moyes' did, and he's adapted superbly.

    Last Year: 60th

51. Loic Remy, Newcastle United

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    Loic Remy's goal return this season was fantastic, and when he didn't play, Newcastle United didn't often score.

    Alan Pardew chopped and changed formations a lot, but Remy maintained a central striker's role. Whether he was deployed with a partner or on his own, his natural goalscoring ability shone through.

    If Queens Park Rangers achieve promotion, they'll want him back, but the Magpies should be going all out for the Frenchman on a permanent deal.

    Last Year: Unranked

50. Mile Jedinak, Crystal Palace

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    Mile Jedinak's tremendous season for Crystal Palace earned him the role of captain of Australia for the forthcoming World Cup.

    The Socceroo is a fan favourite at Selhurst Park thanks to his committed attitude, combative style and hard running in midfield.

    He put together some eye-popping statistics this year—WhoScored clocked him at 3.5 tackles and 3.7 interceptions per game—and excelled under both Ian Holloway and Tony Pulis.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Championship)

49. Sylvain Distin, Everton

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    At 36 years of age, Sylvain Distin is still going strong at the top level.

    He's perhaps lost half a yard of pace compared to his time at Portsmouth, but he's still quicker than most centre-backs in the league and uses his recovery pace to great effect.

    He and Phil Jagielka have been wonderful as a duo yet again, and his guidance of John Stones late in the season deserves credit.

    Last Year: 86th

48. Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea

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    Chelsea right-back Branislav Ivanovic showed the first signs of potential decline this season, though it's hard to knock his overall play.

    He was never the quickest, but he's never been beaten on the edge in seasons past like he was this year. His crossing, while frequent and from the right positions, was a little worse than usual, too.

    That said, he performed well in a system suited to his strengths, and his overwhelming height (in comparison to most full-backs) means strikers can't drift and take advantage of him.

    Last Year: 23rd

47. Romelu Lukaku, Everton

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    Romelu Lukaku was expected to lead the line for Chelsea this season, but Jose Mourinho saw fit to loan him out after establishing a lack of trust in him early on.

    That decision has proven costly, as while the Blues have sometimes lacked a focal point and a reliable goalscorer away from home, Everton have moulded their game around the Belgian superstar.

    He didn't beat his goal tally from last season, but his return of 15 goals and six assists was strong. His all-round game has also improved, though we'd like to see a little more finesse at times.

    Last Year: 34th

46. Samir Nasri, Manchester City

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    Under Roberto Mancini, Samir Nasri looked to be heading out the door at the Etihad Stadium, but Manuel Pellegrini has revived his career.

    The Frenchman was in top, top form prior to a nasty injury sustained in January, giving the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero a run for their money in the polls.

    From the left side, he's offered guile, creativity and a game-breaking ability top clubs desperately need.

    Last Year: Unranked

45. Phil Jagielka, Everton

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    Phil Jagielka's strong season puts him in pole position to start for England this summer at the World Cup...providing his hamstring is fully healed.

    His commanding presence and dominance in the air was a big part of Everton's sturdy structure early in the season, but an ailment forced him to miss two solid months of the campaign.

    His return to action late on in the season against Manchester City was quite poor, so Roy Hodgson will be hoping for a marked improvement during England's warm-up friendlies.

    Last Year: 43rd

44. Emmanuel Adebayor, Tottenham Hotspur

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    One of the first things Tim Sherwood did as manager of Tottenham Hotspur was unlock the demons inside Emmanuel Adebayor.

    The Togolese hitman had been relegated to the bench under Andre Villas-Boas, presumably because of his low work rate, but he flourished when asked, "Can you lead my line?" by the new man in charge.

    When Adebayor fancies playing, he's close to unstoppable, and if he continues in this vein for Spurs' next permanent manager, the club will be pushing the top four.

    His finishing, all-round target-man game and aerial presence impressed.

    Last Year: Unranked

43. Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal

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    Wojciech Szczesny may never be without the odd clanger, but he's fast maturing into a quality goalkeeper all the same.

    His shot-stopping and reflexes were on show all season, and if he can rein in his rash tendency to come tearing out at strikers' feet, he'll be talked about as one of the finest.

    This season's showings were a marked improvement upon the 2012-13 campaign.

    Last Year: Honorable Mention

42. Curtis Davies, Hull CIty

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    To get to where he is now—reputed, recognised Premier League centre-back and captain of a club—Curtis Davies has had to put in the hard yards.

    His stint with Aston Villa wasn't successful, and he was forced to drop into the Championship with Birmingham before anyone decided to take a £1.5 million "gamble" on his talents.

    Now 29, he's leading a sturdy, stubborn defensive line for Steve Bruce and fluidly switches from a four-man line to a three-man unit. He's commanding in the air, careful in the tackle and vocal on the pitch.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Championship)

41. Robin van Persie, Manchester United

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    Robin van Persie, like most of Manchester United's squad, had an off-season this time around.

    Last year's No. 3 underwhelmed for long stretches of the campaign, despite scoring a steady tally, and while he drops pretty sharply in our rankings, that's more a product of those around him improving than of him declining in full.

    His poacher's instinct is unquestionable, and his hat-trick showing against Olympiakos proved he's still willing to step up and shoulder the load when it comes to the crunch.

    But a severe dip in his linkup play and dove-tailing out of the forward line saw him score significantly lower on our metric, and that's reflected in his new rank.

    Last Year: 3rd

40. Santi Cazorla, Arsenal

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    Santi Cazorla is one of those players you can just plug in anywhere and he'll perform—a manager's safety blanket, if you will.

    He's dual-footed, happy on either wing and can play centrally (deep or attacking), too. He's been moved around a lot this year to accommodate injuries in the Arsenal lineup, and his second-season performances have been on par with his spectacular first-year ones.

    The Spaniard has warned, via the Standard, that he could leave if the Gunners fail in more trophy bids.

    Last Year: 14th

39. Wilfried Bony, Swansea City

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    Wilfried Bony was everything we hoped for and more: a dominant, muscular forward who can lead an attack on his own, occupy two defenders and identify clever midfield runs.

    He quickly became an integral, undroppable outlet in Swansea City's lineup due to the injury issues suffered by star man Michu, and it's a pity we weren't able to see them playing in tandem more frequently this year.

    The Swans will hope for a repeat performance next season from the Ivorian.

    Last Year: 67th

38. James McCarthy, Everton

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    James McCarthy was rushed to Everton from Wigan Athletic on deadline day last summer and charged with replacing Marouane Fellaini in the Toffees' midfield.

    At £13 million, he was labelled a panic buy and a gamble, but his performance levels and consistent nature have quickly made him undroppable as far as Roberto Martinez is concerned.

    He has the tenacity to lock down a midfield and the passing range to play a fluid, keep-ball style. He deputised at centre-back for Wigan, and while he wasn't dropped in there at Goodison Park, it's obvious the short stint improved his awareness and instincts on the pitch.

    Last Year: Unranked

37. Vincent Kompany, Manchester City

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    Manchester City fans don't love it when Vincent Kompany is criticised, but he turned in his second consecutive flawed season in 2013-14.

    That's not to say he's a poor player by any stretch—heck, he's ranked No. 34 for a reason!—but after he crafted a reputation as one of the greatest centre-backs in world football, mistakes are recognized fast and scrutinised heavily.

    We love his size, speed, ball-playing prowess and aerial ability, and he's a phenomenal leader, captain and diplomat. However, he struggles when sliding across to meet wide forwards cutting in, and when setting the line of engagement while backpedalling, he can get it horribly wrong.

    Last Year: 20th

36. Leighton Baines, Everton

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    Leighton Baines put in another excellent season for Everton and, in the process, affirmed his status as England's best available left-back for the upcoming World Cup.

    Robert Martinez resisted the temptation to field a 3-4-3 and play him as a left wing-back, instead preferring to unlock his skills running from deep and underlapping wingers.

    He combined superbly with whomever was in front of him—be it Bryan Oviedo, Steven Pienaar or Kevin Mirallas—and produced at key times in front of goal.

    Last Year: 31st

35. David Marshall, Cardiff City

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    David Marshall's performances have been difficult to gauge. He looks brilliant on a weekly basis, but he's also subjected to so much pressure that he has no choice but to be busy.

    His agility and reflexes are excellent, while his propensity to pull off a wonder save on the line appears reminiscent of Shay Given in his prime.

    Manchester City, Aston Villa and Stoke City are just three of several teams who were denied almost single-handedly by the Scot this season, and there's little chance he'll be back in the Championship for long.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Championship)

34. Dejan Lovren, Southampton

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    Dejan Lovren signed for Southampton last summer in a pricey £8.5 million deal from Lyon, and the pressure was on for him to lead the defensive line from the word "go."

    Those familiar with the Croatian conveyed their belief that the signing was a large gamble, as despite his obvious quality, he entirely flunked his final half season in Ligue 1, shrinking under the weight of expectation and ending the campaign on the bench.

    On the south coast, though, he's been reborn and now looks set to start for his nation at the 2014 World Cup. His incredible positional sense, vocal leadership and aerial ability wowed us when grading.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Ligue 1)

33. Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool

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    Philippe Coutinho was ranked No. 7 in our first round of EPL 100, and many viewers questioned such a high placement, given he'd proved very little at that point.

    The first game of the season against Stoke City was a 90-minute exhibition on why we valued his skills so highly, but he dropped off frighteningly for several months afterward.

    Oddly enough, he's shown his best form as a flat central midfielder in a 4-3-3/4-4-2 diamond switch, with his weak physical frame no issue due to his surprisingly aggressive and competitive nature.

    He could well become a more rounded player than was initially projected.

    Last Year: 7th

32. Gareth Barry, Everton

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    Gareth Barry was an inspired deadline-day signing for Everton.

    The veteran found a similar system to the one Manuel Pellegrini employs, and he stepped in from the off and controlled proceedings with ease.

    Barry used to be a goalscoring midfielder whose passing range could find a flea on a 5p coin; now, he's been educated heavily in the defensive side of things, patrolling in front of the defensive line, recycling possession and starting attacks from the back.

    He'll be a coveted free agent this summer.

    Last Year: Unranked

31. Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle United

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    Yohan Cabaye's importance to Newcastle United has been underlined by his absence post-January transfer window.

    Alan Pardew failed to replace the Frenchman following his move to Paris Saint-Germain, and the Magpies lost 11 of their 15 games after his creativity and leadership crossed the channel.

    He scored seven and assisted two during a strong half season in the Premier League, with his most impressive performances actually coming as a disruptive No. 10.

    Last Year: 65th

30. Martin Skrtel, Liverpool

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    Martin Skrtel didn’t start the season in the Liverpool team, and it didn't look as though he featured in Brendan Rodgers' plans, but since coming into the side against Manchester United three games in, he's been the Reds' best and most consistent defender. To boot, he has progressed his game dramatically.

    No longer caught as often jumping into challenges around the front of forwards or caught in possession, Skrtel instead aggressively clears his lines, strides out of the back line in possession and has been a huge threat in attack off set pieces.

    Liverpool’s defence hasn't been as consistent as they’d like as a whole, but all things considered, that doesn't apply to Skrtel.

    Last Year: Unranked

29. Mesut Ozil, Arsenal

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    Mesut Ozil endured a polarising season in which seismic expectations and injuries to teammates grossly affected his play.

    He's an elite-tier creative type who thrives in the No. 10 role, but when Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey went down with ailments, he had no one to release with his killer through balls.

    The German is integral to the system provided he's surrounded with the right parts, but if he lacks vertical runners to play with, he's borderline useless in most circumstances.

    That makes Ozil incredibly tough to place in our top 100, and his own injuries compound the issue, too.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in La Liga)

28. Willian, Chelsea

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    Whoops.

    Willian has proven to a be a revelation for Chelsea after a slow start in blue.

    His role in Jose Mourinho's bespoke 4-2-3-1 formation has centred heavily on his ability to carry the ball over long distances out of defence, and his work rate in the defensive phase has been nothing short of magnificent.

    Throughout his time in Ukraine and Russia, he was never renowned as a tackler and a runner, so viewers tuning in from Eastern Europe were surprised to see him getting stuck in.

    His long-range cannon, good passing range and searing speed have made him worth every penny spent.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Ukraine Premier League/Russian Premier League)

27. Jay Rodriguez, Southampton

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    When Nigel Adkins signed Jay Rodriguez for a hefty £6 million from Burnley in 2012, many questioned whether he had what it took to live up to the fee.

    His reputation as a pure, speedy poacher came to the fore last season, but he did not rank in our top 100. Mauricio Pochettino's coaching has produced a spectacularly different player this year and rectified this quickly.

    He's not all about pace now, with his all-round game, linkup and passing much improved. He's bulked up, can muscle off full-backs and has kept Southampton's approach from becoming too predictable and flat.

    He ended the season early due to a cruel ACL injury, but his tally of 15 Premier League goals is one to be seriously proud of.

    Last Year: 92nd

26. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham Hotspur

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    Hugo Lloris' goals-conceded tally of 51 isn't up there with the best, but that's down to the calamitous defensive line in front of him that regularly make errors leading to goals.

    As far as his performances go, only his distribution this season can be knocked. He can look a little rash at times—a product of his willingness to sweep up behind his defence—but he put in far more strong showings than poor ones.

    Tottenham fans are near unanimous in suggesting the Frenchman was a top-three player for their club this year.

    Last Year: 21st

25. Raheem Sterling, Liverpool

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    Based solely on late-season form, Raheem Sterling is a contender for the top 15 in our EPL 100.

    But it's worth remembering he didn't come to life until December 1 against Hull City, and even then he put in a rather putrid showing. His next game against Norwich City was far, far better, but we've tempered our estimations of the 19-year-old on the back of a genuine stop-start season.

    His late-season growth has been extraordinary, and he should be starting for England at the World Cup. Pace, power, aggression and strong technique have enabled him to make an impact anywhere on the pitch.

    Last Year: Unranked

24. Seamus Coleman, Everton

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    Those who watched Seamus Coleman's first game for Everton—a 5-0 drubbing by Benfica in which he was torn to shreds by Angel Di Maria—can scarcely believe the transformation in this Irishman's game.

    This season, he has risen from the shadow cast by England's Leighton Baines and established himself as one of the Premier League's best attacking right-backs. As far as full-back duos go, few can boast a better set than Everton.

    His engine, directness, aggression and raw pace are a big worry for those tasked with stopping him, and his habit of running straight at players had his markers in fits more often than not.

    His defensive game could use some work, but that's normal for a man fitted naturally to the wing-back slot.

    Last Year: Unranked

23. Petr Cech, Chelsea

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    Petr Cech's season ended early due to a separated shoulder, but the 2013-14 edition will go down as one of his better ones in a Chelsea kit.

    His reflexes are still top notch, his aerial ability—and willingness to come and claim crosses—is positive, and the Blues' sturdy defensive line are happy to have him sweeping up behind.

    With David Marshall pulling off highlight-reel saves and David De Gea shining in a shocking Manchester United XI, Cech was somewhat forgotten in most circles. Not here.

    Last Year: 13th

22. Christian Eriksen, Tottenham Hotspur

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    Christian Eriksen has shown, over the second half of the Premier League season, that he's a man to build a first XI around next year.

    He originally struggled to adapt to the physical rigours of English football—a fact not helped by his manager's insistence on playing him out of position on the left flank—and it was feared he had brought his dreaded inconsistencies from Ajax to his new club.

    But from the tail end of March onward, he was magnificent, honing his free-kick craft, picking ideal spots to sweep home goals and cutting defences open with his killer passes.

    He's seemingly been around forever, and it's therefore surprising to realise he's still just 22 years of age.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Eredivisie)

21. Per Mertesacker, Arsenal

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    Per Mertesacker had an extremely solid season for Arsenal, silencing many critics and doubters and proving himself to be an every-game player.

    He suffered a little without Laurent Koscielny toward the end of season, laying credence to the suggestion that it's the Frenchman who "makes" the partnership rather than the German, but there remain few centre-backs in world football better inside their own 18-yard box.

    His lack of pace is a problem if you can isolate it, but his weakness is hidden rather well in a compact Gunners system. He'd be higher if he hadn't played a key part in several Arsenal collapses.

    Last Year: Unranked

20. Bacary Sagna, Arsenal

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    Bacary Sagna's 2011-12 and 2012-13 Arsenal campaigns were poor, but the Frenchman righted the wrongs of years past and turned in a reliable, solid season this time around.

    Cynics will argue he only really turned it on due to the fact he's in a contract year, and the Gunners are so desperate to keep him that they're willing to break club rules and offer him a three-year deal, per John Cross of the Mirror.

    Sagna's defensive game turned up big-time on the field this season, while there was also marked improvement in his crossing and timing of runs.

    Last Year: Honorable Mention

19. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United

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    Wayne Rooney's season is tough to judge.

    For long periods, he was the best Manchester United player on show in a shocking XI, but he dropped some real clangers—for example, Everton away—along the way.

    He appears to be gradually converting himself into a central midfielder/deep-lying playmaker, but ask him which position he plays and he'll reply "centre-forward."

    That's where we had difficulty, as his best work was done deeper on the pitch despite his insistence on playing up top. Like most Red Devils players, this season was a down one for him.

    Last Year: 11th

18. Pablo Zabaleta, Manchester City

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    Another year, another consistently formidable season on tape from Pablo Zabaleta.

    The Argentine is blessed with the beautiful combination of incredible physical ability and an honest, hard-working streak, allowing Manuel Pellegrini to benefit from a top-tier player who covers every blade of grass in earnest.

    He got forward well, bagged six assists and scored the odd goal against West Bromwich Albion on the rebound, but it's always his defensive ethic that stands out.

    He'll run and run till the end of time...and then run some more.

    Last Year: 30th

17. Adam Lallana, Southampton

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    Last year's assessment of Adam Lallana read as follows: "If Adam Lallana could stay fit, we'd have an England international on our hands."

    He started all but one of his side's games this season, maintains the rank of captain on the field and has progressed rapidly to the status of creative genius on the south coast.

    Nearly all of England's top clubs want a piece, and Southampton will charge around £30 million for his services. His mazy dribbling, good pace, immense passing range and godlike first touch have allowed him to force his way onto Roy Hodgson's plane to Brazil.

    Last Year: 98th

16. David de Gea, Manchester United

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    There are very few Manchester United players who can hold their heads up after a dismal season under David Moyes, but David de Gea is one.

    The Spanish goalkeeper continues to move from strength to strength after a very rocky beginning to his Premier League campaign, showing incredible agility, reflexes, confidence and a much-improved aerial presence.

    He's happy to play the ball with his feet and start attacks from the back, which will be a useful tool for his impending new manager, and his mistakes are becoming few and far between.

    Last Year: 57th

15. Fernandinho, Manchester City

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    Many labelled Fernandinho a "waste" at £30 million last summer, but he looks to have proven his reliability in defensive midfield and justified the exorbitant fee.

    He was a shuttler at Shakhtar Donetsk, more like a Yaya Toure than a Luiz Gustavo, but he's tempered his surges forward and developed his defensive skill set for the good of the team in Manchester.

    On the odd occasion he does go forward, he makes an impact, but what really stood out for us was his tracking of runners, intelligent positioning and his physical dominance in holding midfield.

    Last Year: 45th

14. Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal

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    Laurent Koscielny has become one of the most polarising figures in Premier League football, with one staunch set of fans believing him to be the best centre-back in England, while the others find him error-prone, injury-prone and wholly overrated.

    He graded out as our top-ranked centre-back last season, and while he's dropped a little in the pecking order, it's still been a strong season for the Frenchman.

    His mobility, aggression and ability to filter wide to cover gaps and holes left by full-backs are immense qualities. His tendency to go missing when the Gunners are getting drubbed, however, is not.

    Last Year: 15th

13. John Terry, Chelsea

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    Many believed John Terry was in decline, but his 2013-14 tape showed top-tier defending—albeit in a system that accentuates his strengths and hides his flaws.

    Jose Mourinho allowed him to lead a deep defensive line that left little space in behind, filtering back into the box and dominating aerially.

    From there, it was a case of launching the ball to the sidelines in an effort to find Eden Hazard or Willian, allowing his pacy wingers to pull the formation away from goal.

    There were a few errors along the way, and that's why he's not top dog, but it was a very efficient, promising campaign all the same.

    Last Year: Unranked

12. Jordan Henderson, Liverpool

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    Jordan Henderson has made the transition from £18 million "flop" to title-challenging midfielder in the space of 18 months—and we can credit both Brendan Rodgers and the player's hard work for that.

    For Sunderland, he made his breakthrough as an attacking midfielder but has now found his niche as an energetic box-to-box presence. His hard running covers Steven Gerrard's lack of mobility in the defensive phase; his lung-busting runs create overloads and pockets of space when attacking.

    He's coming into his prime, and the system suits him perfectly.

    Last Year: Unranked

11. Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea

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    Cesar Azpilicueta grades out as our top-rated full-back for the season despite playing on the wrong flank for the large majority of his games.

    The right-footer failed to displace Branislav Ivanovic, but he took advantage of Ashley Cole's struggles instead, slotting in at left-back and proceeding to outshine all natural incumbents in the league.

    Azpilicueta is as steady as modern full-backs come defensively; he tackles firmly and rarely makes mistakes. He's comfortable in the passing game, thanks to a Spanish upbringing, and holds a strong offensive position.

    Ironically, his sole mistake this season (at home to Sunderland) cost Chelsea their title hopes. That he wasn't in the PFA Team of the Year at left- or right-back was a travesty.

    Last Year: 51st

10. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

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    Whenever Sergio Aguero was fit this season, he scored—no ifs, no buts.

    Had he been around for the long haul, he could have made Manchester City's eventual title charge much easier, but after Aguero hurt his hamstring, Manuel Pellegrini tried to bring him back too early, too often.

    The Argentine retained all of his key strengths from last season, boasting remarkable speed, dribbling ability, close control and finishing prowess. He added a header threat to make him an all-round menace in the box, and before injuries wrecked his season, he was putting teams to the sword every week.

    Last Year: 12

9. Nemanja Matic, Chelsea

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    Nemanja Matic rejoined Chelsea in January after spending three seasons in Portugal honing his craft.

    The Serbian arrived in top form, fresh from single-handedly dictating midfields and destroying opposing systems in the Liga Sagres. He brought all of that and more to the Premier League immediately, hit the ground running and has become Chelsea's best central midfielder by a distance.

    He's cool in possession, fluid in the dribble and commanding in the tackle. An excellent, excellent player.

    Last Year: N/A (Played in Liga Sagres)

8. David Silva, Manchester City

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    David Silva put together another fine season for Manchester City, but we've come to expect nothing less of the Spanish magician.

    His incredible first touch, passing range and technique are still present, while he's also begun to improve on working the ball quicker from line to line and being more physical with defenders.

    His ability to slide in a reverse pass no one is expecting continues to catch everyone in world football, and his return of seven goals and nine assists will have pleased Manuel Pellegrini this year.

    Last Year: 6th

7. Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal

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    Aaron Ramsey's season has been tough to gauge, and out of all 100 players in this list, his rank is sure to be the most divisive.

    He hasn't played as many games as every other around him in our top 10, but he's passed the minimum appearance count (12) with ease and outshone almost every player in the league when actually on the pitch.

    He ended last season in fine fettle and continued the same way, committing lung-busting runs and tidy passing one-twos to up the pace of Arsenal's attack.

    This season he's added goals—and lots of them—to his game, making him a complete midfielder capable of changing a match. He makes the Gunners much, much more incisive.

    Last Year: 62nd

6. Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool

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    Daniel Sturridge carried the load early on while Luis Suarez was banned, and his ability to make the difference in the first six games allowed Liverpool to keep pace at the top of the league.

    When the Uruguayan returned, he began linking fluidly with him in the final third, and he scored rather highly with us due to his ability to stitch one-twos and attacks together.

    Sturridge's finishing is now up there with the best in the league, and he forms one half of the best striking duo in English football.

    Not bad for a £12 million cast-off.

    Last Year: 24th

5. Gary Cahill, Chelsea

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    Gary Cahill is our No. 1 centre-back and No. 1 overall defender this season on the back of an excellent, largely error-free campaign.

    Shipped to Bolton Wanderers from Aston Villa after being deemed surplus to requirements, Andre Villas-Boas saw a January bargain and signed him for £7 million in 2012.

    The Blues have been repaid with a series of excellent performances since, and he's been the most consistent centre-back in all of the Premier League this season.

    Aerially, he's close to unbeatable, even handling the likes of Christian Benteke extremely well when asked to. On the ground he's careful, doesn't dive in and gets his body in the way at the right times. No striker has clearly gotten the better of Cahill this season.

    Last Year: 70th

4. Eden Hazard, Chelsea

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    Eden Hazard's game has come on leaps and bounds over the last nine months, with the Jose Mourinho coaching streak clearly visible in his improved game.

    He's now more direct and attack-minded, focused solely on scoring and winning rather than showing everyone how fantastic he is with the ball at his feet.

    Chelsea struggled without him late in the season, with Willian and Co. failing to pick up the slack and replicate his ability to unlock the tightest of defensive structures. Hazard's tally of 14 league goals ended up a team high by some distance.

    Last Year: 5th

     

     

     

3. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool

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    The 2013-14 season was a remarkable one against all odds for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, leading his side to an unexpected title challenge and only falling right at the final hurdle.

    The Reds midfielder's desire and determination surprised many given his advancing years and creaking legs, a passion immortalised in the aftermath of Liverpool's 3-2 victory over title rivals Manchester City.

    Firing in 13 goals, including crucial strikes from dead-ball situations, and assisting 13 more from his new "quarterback" role at the base of Brendan Rodgers' midfield, Gerrard's rejuvenation has been one of the highlights of Liverpool's sensational campaign.

    Last Year: 28th

2. Yaya Toure, Manchester City

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    Just when it seems like Yaya Toure has peaked, he has another outstanding season that forces you to reconsider.

    His 20 league goals landed him third on the list for Premier League goalscorers—a remarkable feat for the deep-lying central midfielder whose first job is to ensure the defence is protected and the midfield shape is correct.

    Manuel Pellegrini recruited the excellent Fernandinho to ensure enough cover was in place for Toure to bomb forward with regularity, and the Ivorian's mastery of free-kicks helped boost his goal return.

    Last Year: 8th

1. Luis Suarez, Liverpool

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    Our player of the season, unsurprisingly, is Luis Suarez of Liverpool.

    Last year, a real dogfight for the No. 1 spot ensued between the Uruguayan, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata and Gareth Bale; this year, it was a landslide in favour of the former, with his 31 goals blowing away the competition.

    That he finished 10 clear of nearest challenger (Daniel Sturridge) is remarkable, and he's done superbly to recover from being banned for the biting incident the season before.

    His intelligence, movement and dribbling ability have never been in question, but his finishing record was.

    Questions abounded over whether Suarez could become the Reds' 20-goal man to lead them to glory, and he answered those critics in style by firing his side to the UEFA Champions League and league title contention.

    Last Year: 2nd