By Kyle Basedow
The Barclays Premier League is considered by many to be one of the best leagues in the world, sporting players from all over the world and playing at a consistently high level. Unlike other big European leagues, the BPL is always a close race and up until recently, any given team could win the league.
So, since the Premier League is one of the tops leagues in the world, it would make sense that they should have some of the best players in the world. Below are my top five players in the league, starting with number five and ending at one.
Just a quick note: These rankings are based off performance this season in addition to overall skill so someone like Angel DiMaria, who is a phenomenal player, wouldn’t be on the list because his performance this season has been sub-par.
5. David de Gea – Manchester United – GoalkeeperEmbed from Getty Images
David de Gea. Read the name over and over until you know it better than your own because one day he is going to be the best goalkeeper in the world. He has everything that you want in a keeper, size (6’4”), athleticism, experience (starting GK for Manchester United for four years), and youth. De Gea is only 24 and has already proven himself to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
There are many people, myself included, who would argue that de Gea is the reason that Manchester United are clinging to fourth in the Premier League standings. The only teams that have conceded fewer goals in league play are Southampton and the first place Chelsea (ESPNFC.com).
De Gea has kept Manchester United in multiple games, especially during the long streaks where their high-caliber strikers are unable to find the back of the net. It is his ability to almost single-handily keep his team in the game that makes him my only goalkeeper on this list. Some may question my decision to put de Gea on here and not Thibaut Courtois, the young Chelsea keeper, but de Gea has done more to keep his team in games than Courtois has, making him much more valuable.
4. Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal – Winger/MidfielderEmbed from Getty Images
Sanchez is one of those players who never stops running. He is able to play a multi-faceted position on either side of the field, allowing Arsenal to show multiple looks in game. He weaves in and out of the formation the same way that snakes slither on the ground, always going side-to-side and never just straight ahead.
His set-up play is almost as good as his goal scoring ability, with seven assists to go along with his 13 goals in 26 BPL games this season. Sanchez is also famous for his abilty to run and dribble past just about anyone, something that was highlighted during his time at FC Barcelona, his former club.
Sanchez’s ability has been key this season, helping his club hold the third spot in the BPL and getting Arsenal to the round of sixteen in Champions League play. Arsenal and Sanchez will continue to work well together as long as he has players such as Mesut Özil, Santi Cazorla, and Aaron Ramsey to play off of in the center of midfield.
3. Yaya Touré – Manchester City -Center Midfielder/Center Defensive MidfielderEmbed from Getty Images
Touré is a monster in the center of midfield. He gives opposing teams nightmares with his combination of size, strength and ability. Not many players can throw you out of the way on one play and dribble past you on the next.
As another former Barcelona star that found a home in English football, Touré has helped Manchester City win back-to-back titles in the Premier League by leading a midfield manned by David Silva, Samir Nasri, James Milner, and others. His defensive capabilities in midfield are almost unmatched throughout Europe, resulting in him with the African Player of the Year Award three years in a row.
Despite his size (6’2”, 180lbs), Touré doesn’t dominate other players in the air but he makes up for it with his propensity to strike absolutely brilliant long-range goals. Touré is also one of the most deadly free-kick takers currently playing in the Premier League.
2. Wayne Rooney – Manchester United – Center Forward/MidfielderEmbed from Getty Images
Wayne Rooney is the face of English football. The poster child for Manchester United since he joined the club in 2004, Rooney is one of the most successful forwards in Premier League history having scored 184 goals, the third most all time and the most among active players.
What makes Wayne Rooney so special, outside of his goal-scoring prowess, is his ability to play just about every position that isn’t goalkeeper or on defense. He can go can play from the middle of the field or from the top of the formation as a striker. His work rate is incredible, running from box-to-box all game without seeming to lose a step or run out of breath.
One of the top players in the world, Rooney has quite a collection of trophies from his time at Man. U. He has lifted the Premier League trophy five times, the League cup trophy three times, and the Champions League trophy once in 2008.
1. Eden Hazard – Chelsea – Midfielder/WingerEmbed from Getty Images
Eden Hazard is the best player in the Premier League for multiple reasons but one that sticks out is that Hazard a wizard. The things that he can do with his feet are magical. If I had to pick the best dribblers in the world, the only player who I think is consistently better than Hazard is Lionel Messi.
On top of being able to dribble is only one of the assets that Hazard possesses. He can also score anywhere around the 18-yard box and can drop passes on a dime. He powered a Chelsea team that lacked a true striker to a second place finish in the BPL last season.
One of the biggest parts of his game is his ability to consistently play at a high level, seemingly never failing to get the best of an opponent no matter the situation. Hazard performed so well last season he was awarded the PFA Young Player of the Year Award, an award voted on by fellow players in the league.
All stats and information from ESPNFC.com