It’s almost the end of March, and as the spring comes along, the EPL seems as if it’s almost ready to say goodbye. Many people will be calling for their team’s player to win the PFA player of the year, so I’ve broken down the list of contenders so you can follow the excitement at home.
Note: This list is focused on players’ performances rather than how marketable they are.
- Philippe Coutinho, CAM, Liverpool
Many people have been calling out Raheem Sterling as Liverpool’s best young player. Those people, unfortunately, have been proven wrong by Philippe Coutinho. Coutinho possesses all the attributes of legendary Brazilian 10s in the past: dribbling, passing and a long shot to watch out for. He may only have 4 goals and 5 assists to boast about, but he is the key to Liverpool’s fluid attacking system.
- Stewart Downing, CAM, West Ham
Stewart Downing went from overrated winger to underrated creator. Downing has been a revelation since Sam Allardyce converted him to a CAM in a 4-4-2 diamond, showing attributes we don’t associate with Downing or Allardyce. Downing has 5 goals and 8 assists this season, and much like Coutinho, West Ham’s attack depends on him running at defenders from the centre of the pitch.
- John Terry, CB, Chelsea
Captain, leader, legend. Chelsea stalwart John Terry continues to defy father time with his showings at the back. With the poor centre back showings overall in the Premier League this season, John Terry has continued to show us how it’s done, and he even bailed Chelsea out in the attacking half more than once this season.
- Cesc Fabregas, CM, Chelsea
Cesc Fabregas was one of the standout 3 or 4 players going into the Christmas madness, as he looked set to break all the historic assist charts. Fabregas has a reputation to fade away in the second half of the season for some strange reason, and he’s done the same again. Nevertheless, he still offers the cutting pass for Chelsea in times of need, and he has a staggering 2 goals and 16 assists to show off.
- David Silva, CAM/LM, Manchester City
David Silva is a prolific creative force for Manchester City, as he continues to be their most consistent player. Silva offers creativity in abundance, and almost nothing else, but his sweet feet and world class pass have yielded 11 goals and 4 assists in EPL this season.
- Olivier Giroud, ST, Arsenal
Olivier Giroud missed the first section of the season, but since he’s returned, he’s had no problem sliding the ball into the back of the net, with 13 goals this season in less than 20 starts. His goal scoring tally per 90 minutes is the best in the EPL by a distance.
- Charlie Austin, ST, QPR
Charlie Austin has buried chances and been the only source of hope for QPR this season. He has scored 15 goals without much service, and he is still within reach of the top scorer in the league (4 behind Harry Kane and Diego Costa).
- Santi Cazorla, CM/CAM, Arsenal
Santi Cazorla has become an engine in the mould of Cesc Fabregas. Ever since he was restored to the team he’s been Arsenal’s key player in midfield. His defensive work allows Mesut Ozil to venture forward, while his possession instincts take the burden off Francis Coquelin, who isn’t possession friendly by any means. He also has a knack for creating a goal, as he has 7 goals AND 9 assists from central midfield.
- Morgan Schneiderlin, CDM
Schneiderlin is, perhaps, the most consistent outfield player in the Premier League. He’s the 2nd best defensive midfielder in the league and probably the 2nd best midfielder overall. His possession controls games while he is capable of completing tackle after tackle. Schneiderlin averages over 3 completed tackles over 90 minutes, and he anchors the midfield very well behind Victor Wanyama.
- Sergio Aguero, ST, Manchester City
Aguero gets the title of most combined goals and assists so far, with 17 goals and 7 assists (24 combined) as a fantastic tally. A mean finisher inside the box, Aguero is great at finishing the chances fed to him by David Silva and Yaya Toure. The problem with Aguero is constant injury problems, and sometimes even inconsistency. In addition, Aguero needs someone else in the team playing well to create chances for himself and others, which means when City goes to sleep he isn’t an impact player to wake them up. This separates him from the Top 5.
- Nemanja Matic, CDM, Chelsea
The best player in the Premier League going into the Christmas period, Nemanja Matic has had his struggles since then. Matic hasn’t been the same force he was at the beginning of the year, and Chelsea’s defence is paying the price. When Matic is at his best, you see utter dominance of absolutely everything on the pitch, the air, the ground, Chelsea and the opposition.
- Alexis Sanchez, RM/LM, Arsenal
Alexis Sanchez was a one man team for Arsenal until they found their feet, and he’s contributed in the big moments. With a tally of 13 goals and 7 assists, Sanchez is prolific in front of goal. Sanchez has burnt out recently, but he still is a major factor for Arsenal because he’s always kept at least 2 defenders occupied since his move from Barcelona.
- Diego Costa, ST, Chelsea
Diego Costa set the Premier League alight early on, scoring a ridiculous amount of goals in his first couple games. Since then, he hasn’t matched those tallies but he still is a key part to Chelsea’s attack, playing hold up and tantalizing with centre backs. He’s also the joint-top scorer in the league.
- Eden Hazard, LM, Chelsea
Take a look at Hazard’s creative stats to match his 11 goals and 7 assists in the Premier League:
Per 90 Minutes:
- Chances Created: 2.77
- Key Passes: 2.56
- Successful Take-Ons: 4.73
- Fouls Suffered: 3.02
For some context, take a look at Lionel Messi’s in La Liga:
- Chances Created: 2.62
- Key Passes: 2.07
- Successful Take-Ons: 4.8
- Fouls Suffered: 2.22
- Harry Kane, ST, Tottenham
Harry Kane has only played 3 quarters of the time of the rest of the Top 5, but his stats are equally impressive. His 19 goals and 3 assists equal 22 combined, a ridiculous stat. He shows all the attributes of a modern striker, and it’s good to see him like this before the English Media ruins him.
- David De Gea, GK, Manchester United
De Gea is probably a surprise here at the top, but there is a valid reason for him to just edge Harry Kane for now. Though I think the Tottenham star will surpass the United ace by the end of the season, De Gea has been the only player who consistently shows up on the pitch. De Gea has been worth as many points as a top level striker this season, and he’s even been a part of United’s build up play. If he ends up leaving the Red Devils, he’ll be starting at 60 million pounds if he extends his contract.