Ranked! The 101 best players in the Premier League right now: full list revealed
We're only a handful of games into the 2019/20 Premier League season, but some intriguing storylines are already beginning to take shape.
Established pros are still dominating everything in sight, Chelsea's transfer ban has opened the door for some of their brilliant youngsters to take centre stage, while new arrivals are settling with varying degress of success.
We're having to go by previous achievements when it comes to some of the stars in this list, some of whom are simply new to English football, but for now here's our crack at subjectively ranking the talent in our football's top flight. Form is temporary, after all, and things could change a lot in the months to come...
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101. Dwight McNeil (Burnley)
Burnley aren’t exactly renowned for their prolific youth academy and giving the kids a chance, although it’s not always easy for them to compete in the footballing hotbed that is the north-west.
McNeil is a welcome exception to the rule. The winger broke through last season with a string of dogged performances after Christmas, and has now established himself as an indispensable member of Sean Dyche’s first team aged 19. He’s just made his first England U21s squad (before having to withdraw through injury), and more recognition is sure to follow.
100. Matt Doherty (Wolves)
Wolves’s squad has been heavily renovated since the club was taken over by Chinese investment group Fosun International in July 2016, but Doherty has successfully survived the restructuring.
The defender, who arrived from Bohemians in 2010 for a paltry £75k, has been immovable at right-wing-back since Nuno Espirito Santo took over at the beginning of 2017/18. The Irishman played an integral role as Wolves dominated the Championship, then starred upon their return to the top flight – and subsequently, Europe – with four goals and five assists.
Not bad for a player who was rejected by no fewer than 15 English clubs as a youngster.
98.= Lewis Dunk (Brighton)
Following Brighton’s promotion to the Premier League in 2017, Dunk set himself some hefty goals. “Hopefully I can show what I can do in the Premier League, do enough and follow in Michael Keane’s footsteps and get the [England] call-up,” said the ambitious stopper.
One year on, Dunk’s dream target was realised when he made his Three Lions debut in a friendly against the USA at Wembley. His call-up was testament to a fine debut season in the top flight, which led to widespread reports linking him with big-money moves to both Arsenal and Leicester last summer.
The 27-year-old should develop further under new manager Graham Potter, as the former Swansea boss’s new possession-based style will allow Dunk – in his own words – to “be on the ball more, rather than flinging myself in front of it for 90 minutes”. He’s also pretty good at that.
98.= Shane Duffy (Brighton)
But not as good as his defensive partner, mind. Dunk’s trusted defensive amigo Duffy is often the man for a last-ditch intervention and made more clearances than anyone else in the Premier League last season – four of them off the line. Only one player averaged more blocks per game.
He’s also pretty handy at the other end, too: Duffy got five goals in an ailing Seagulls side, making him their second-highest league scorer.
97. Emiliano Buendia (Norwich)
The 5ft 7in playmaker has started a little slowly in the Premier League, but saved his best display for Norwich’s stunning win over Manchester City in September. Buendia registered 17 assists as the Canaries clinched the Championship title in 2018/19, four of them for Teemu Pukki goals, and added another to his collection in downing Pep Guardiola’ side.
“Play like this against lesser top-flight sides and he will be too hot to handle,” noted the Pinkun post-match.
96. Josh King (Bournemouth)
When King signed for the Cherries at the beginning of 2016/17 on a free transfer, expectations were tempered. Before his move, the Norwegian – who began his career at Manchester United without playing a league game – had stuttered through a series of loan spells and failed to make much of an impact following a permanent transfer to Blackburn Rovers.
Suffice to say, then, that the 16 goals he struck in his first Premier League season were unexpected. King has continued to make valuable contributions for Eddie Howe’s side since his emphatic inaugural campaign, usually from his second striker berth. The 27-year-old falls a little short creatively, but is among the top flight’s most dangerous attackers nevertheless.
95. Tom Heaton (Aston Villa)
Last season, Joe Hart and Heaton played exactly the same number of games for Burnley – but come May, there was little doubt about who the Clarets’ undisputed No.1 was. During the second half of the season when Heaton was in the nets following injury, Burnley conceded 14 fewer goals.
This period of the campaign also coincided with an upturn in form for Dyche’s side, who lost only seven of their last 19 games to ensure their Premier League survival. Heaton was terrific, and subsequently earned himself an £8m move to promoted Aston Villa.
Burnley’s loss is Villa’s gain. The last time Heaton was between the sticks for a newly promoted side, in 2016/17, the 33-year-old made more saves than any other Premier League keeper.
94. Nathan Redmond (Southampton)
Redmond didn’t miss a single Premier League game for the Saints last season, and remains among their most important players. He’s sometimes criticised for lacking consistency, but the Englishman can still count Pep Guardiola among his list of admirers.
In 2017, the Manchester City boss was effusive in his praise for Redmond and didn’t even wait for the 25-year-old to leave the pitch before angrily complimenting him in a bizarre exchange. “Last season he destroyed us here,” Guardiola began, defending his on-pitch outburst. “I didn’t know him last season, I realised how good he is.”
93. Declan Rice (West Ham)
Rice is only 20 but already a firm favourite of England manager Gareth Southgate thanks to his tidy play in possession and assuredness beyond his years.
Last season, the Hammers youngster registered a pass-completion rate of over 86%, but also averaged three tackles per game and is already bettering that figure so far in 2019/20. There’s still work to do, but Rice has all the makings of an excellent all-rounder.
92. Moise Kean (Everton)
Everton capitalised on Juventus’ desire to trim their overpopulated squad this summer by agreeing a cut-price deal for Italy international Kean. The 19-year-old arrived in the Premier League with 11 Serie A goals to his name (at a brilliant rate, too), and potentially provides Marco Silva with a long-term solution to the Toffees’ weakness up front.
He’s yet to establish himself as a first-choice starter at Goodison Park, but that should come in time: Kean is well suited to England’s quicker pace and should have no issues adapting to his new surroundings.
But don’t just take our word for it. “I am excited,” said Jose Mourinho earlier this season, before adding that he was a “little surprised” Juventus had let the Champions League’s first 21st-century-born player go. Only time will tell if the decision will come back to bite the Old Lady.
91. Rui Patricio (Wolves)
Replacing the popular John Ruddy at the beginning of last season wasn’t going to be easy, but Patricio was always expected to do it with relatively little fuss. He missed just 90 minutes of action all campaign, and in doing so the vastly experienced Portugal international established himself as one of the best shot-stoppers in the league.
It didn’t take him long to settle in England, and in the end only four Premier League sides conceded fewer goals than Wolves in 2018/19. Patricio has already saved a penalty from Paul Pogba this campaign and has made his return to European competition for Nuno’s side in the Europa League.
90. Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa)
Mings’s arrival on transfer deadline day last January was instrumental in transforming Aston Villa’s fortunes. Dean Smith’s side went on a club-record run of 10 straight wins, rising from 10th to finish the season promoted as play-off winners.
The defender was so impressive that Villa splashed out £20m to make the deal permanent. So far it’s looked like a sensible call: Mings had made such a good start to life back in the top flight that Gareth Southgate called him up for England.
He’s already built a good centre-back partnership with new arrival Bjorn Engels – soothing fears that he might struggle without Axel Tuanzebe, who returned to Manchester United following his loan spell.
89. Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle)
Lascelles for England? Since returning to the Premier League in 2017, the ex-Nottingham Forest defender has consistently performed to a high level, yet remains overlooked by Gareth Southgate. The 25-year-old averaged 6.6 clearances per game last season, and also featured in the top 10 for blocks as Newcastle’s defence helped them overachieve again.
The stopper’s leadership is a huge asset to the Magpies. With off-field matters still threatening to affect attendances, Lascelles is often called upon to unite the club – a part he plays admirably. Surely some Three Lions recognition can’t be too far away.
88. Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
Martial is now entering his fourth season at Old Trafford, but has still yet to truly fulfil his potential. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must have thought he’d cracked the conundrum last season, when the Frenchman went on a scoring run of five games. However, it again proved to be an isolated patch of form in what was another ultimately underwhelming season.
Martial has taken the No.9 shirt this campaign following Romelu Lukaku’s departure, and Solskjaer is placing significant faith in the Frenchman as his first-choice striker. The faith was rewarded with two goals and an assist in United’s first three games, before injury struck.
87. Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Frank Lampard was always going to look upon the 20-year-old favourably after a fine loan spell at Derby last season, but the Chelsea boss’s midfield prodigy has fully justified his first-team berth and kicked off the season with three goals in five matches.
Mount has met every challenge in his career so far with aplomb: Vitesse’s player of the year in 2017/18, play-off finalist with Derby in 2018/19 and now already an England international in 2019/20. Young, exciting and he loves the club – everything Lampard wants his Chelsea players to embody.
86. Felipe Anderson (West Ham)
Anderson was not a cheap arrival at the London Stadium last summer for £36m, but immediately played his way into Hammers hearts with a series of irresistible performances.
He finished the season with 10 goals and five assists, operating principally on the left wing where he could drift inside onto his favoured right foot. The 26-year-old pulled the strings for West Ham last campaign, and with Manuel Lanzini back to full fitness we’re expecting sexy back in east London this season.
85. Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City)
Benjamin Mendy may have to content himself with a place on the bench, such has been the form of his replacement Zinchenko. After starting life as an attacking midfielder at Russian outfit Ufa, the Ukrainian has been gradually moved closer to his own goal since being snapped up by City in July 2016 for a modest £1.7m.
Zinchenko’s future appears to remain at full-back for now, but he’s a dangerous one. The 22-year-old registered five assists in all competitions last season, and should have a very bright future at the Etihad if he can continue to develop his defensive capabilities.
84. Jonny Evans (Leicester)
In a transfer market where Harry Maguire costs £80m, his former centre-back partner Evans offers a rare example of value for money. Leicester bought the Northern Ireland international for a cut-price £3.5m form relegated West Brom in summer 2018, and the 31-year-old has proved to be a predictably astute signing.
Evans was an ever-present for the Foxes after Christmas, racking up 28 appearances in all competitions. He arguably enjoyed a better season than Maguire overall, but now has his old colleague’s sizeable shoes to help fill alongside Caglar Soyuncu. Brendan Rodgers would want few others to do it.
83. Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)
The biggest question hanging over Chelsea during the summer was whether Abraham or Olivier Giroud would be leading the line at Stamford Bridge this season. But no more: after a brilliant start to the campaign, it’s Blues academy graduate Abraham who is justifying the No.9 shirt.
The 21-year-old struck 26 goals on loan at Aston Villa last year, and Chelsea’s transfer ban has given Abraham the opportunity he deserves with the club he joined as an under-8. It’s likely that the youth-friendly Frank Lampard would have done so anyway for this Golden Boot dark horse.
82. James Tarkowski (Burnley)
Presumably Sean Dyche has a photograph of Tarkowski on his office wall, such is his standing as the archetypal Clarets poster boy. Strong in the air, good on the ground and an asset in both boxes, Tarkowski combines grit with guile to make him one of the Premier League’s top stoppers.
The England international has comfortably filled the void left by Michael Keane’s departure in 2017, striking up a formidable partnership with the similarly underappreciated Ben Mee. There was talk of the 26-year-old making a similar £40m move to Leicester over the summer, but nothing came to fruition.
Tarkowski comfortably led the league for blocks per game last season, and ranked in the top 10 for aerial duels won and clearances made. Solid.
81. Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham)
Sanchez’s start to 2019/20 has been out of kilter with his previous performances for Spurs. He’s usually a fairly reliable and composed operator in Tottenham’s backline, but the Colombia international’s opening matches have been littered with personal errors.
Against Aston Villa he committed the cardinal sin of being caught out by a straight ball over the top, following a hopeful punt from Tyrone Mings. He also struggled in the north London derby against Arsenal, albeit while playing in the unfamiliar role of right-back. These dodgy displays are likely to be a blip, however, and Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping to see Sanchez back to his domineering best soon. “He’s a beast,” said his manager last season.