Ranked! The 101 best players in the Premier League right now: full list revealed
80. Martin Dubravka (Newcastle)
Dubravka started his football career as a right-winger – not that you’d be able to tell. The Slovakian has been imperious between the sticks for the Magpies since joining from Sparta Prague on an initial loan in January 2018. He easily led the league for high claims last season, and the 6ft 3in stopper is also competent at playing out from the back.
Dubravka’s form attracted attention from a number of heavy hitters over the summer, but the 30-year-old insisted that his head was never turned. “I was never thinking about leaving,” he told the Newcastle Chronicle before the Magpies’ season opener against Arsenal. “They told me they wanted to see the other keepers playing in pre-season and I accepted that. I have just been training hard. I want to be the best.”
79. Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)
Fraser’s blow-up took everyone by surprise last season. The man who was signed by Eddie Howe when Bournemouth were in League One and had long been an inconsistent bit-part player for the Cherries became pivotal in one of the league’s best offences. The flying Scotsman played every single game of the 2018/19 Premier League campaign, racking up seven goals and 14 assists in the process.
Arsenal interest was mooted, but nothing serious materialised and Fraser stayed put with the club that brought him to England from Aberdeen six years ago. Another strong campaign might make next summer’s conclusion different.
78. Willy Boly (Wolves)
Five-goal humpings against Chelsea aside, Wolves have generally asserted themselves as one of the Premier League’s toughest sides since winning promotion in 2017/18. A fine defensive record in their first campaign back helped them into Europe – and arguably, no stopper was better than Boly in achieving it.
The Frenchman was a coup for Nuno’s side in the Championship, and seamlessly adapted to a higher level as expected. Four goals were an added bonus.
77. John McGinn (Aston Villa)
Aston Villa fans couldn’t wait to see McGinn in the Premier League. It didn’t take him long to make an impact in the top flight either, as the Scotsman celebrated his side’s top-flight return with a fine goal on the opening weekend against Tottenham.
The 24-year-old is a terrific swiss army knife of a player: technically proficient, tenacious and a fine passer who knits together his team’s play. A daft bargain for £3 million.
76. Nick Pope (Burnley)
After missing the entirety of 2018/19 with a dislocated shoulder, Pope has made a terrific return to the Clarets first team. The inconspicuous signing from Charlton in 2011 had previously cut his teeth with a string of loan spells in non-league before Sean Dyche paid just over £1m for his services in 2016.
Pope’s breakout season in 2017/18 earned him a thoroughly deserved place in England’s World Cup squad, and his form since returning from injury has got the 27-year-old back in.
75. Danny Rose (Tottenham)
Rose was reportedly ‘exploring other opportunities’ as recently as July, with the England international left out of the Lilywhites squad that travelled to Hong Kong in pre-season. Fast-forward two months and it’s hard to envisage the left-back leaving Spurs any time soon.
The 29-year-old has started each of Tottenham’s opening fixtures, performing his duties diligently despite receiving little defensive assistance from his side’s narrow midfield. Ben Davies and Ryan Sessegnon will push the England man for a starting spot, but right now he’s the clear first choice for Mauricio Pochettino.
74. James Milner (Liverpool)
Milner surely has access to the fountain of youth. The 33-year-old plays with the same energy and enthusiasm that he demonstrated during his breakthrough at Leeds, and smashed Liverpool’s gruelling pre-season fitness tests once again.
Once an unfashionable player who was viewed reductively as a hard worker, such a perception of Milner has finally been revised. Under Jurgen Klopp’s management, the evergreen Yorkshireman has been deployed in a variety of positions – selfless and ultra-professional as ever.
73. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea)
Pulisic is in for an important season. The boy who grew up next to a chocolate factory has just made the first major move of his career from Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea, but it’s unlikely to faze him – what with being his country of 327 million’s shining star since he was a teenager.
Now 20, Pulisic has been looking forward to plying his trade in the Premier League for some time. “It has long been a dream to play in England,” he told FFT this summer (issue 303). “I had a gut feeling that Chelsea was the right choice. It’s pretty cool that Frank will be my coach – and Chelsea have a great squad.” He’s just made it better.
72. Michael Keane (Everton)
Harry Maguire might steal the headlines, but there’s another slab-headed centre-back in the north-west who's equally dominant in the air. Keane initially struggled at Everton but enjoyed a superb 2018/19 under Marco Silva at Goodison Park.
As well as his defensive nous which helped keep the Toffees lean and mean, the 26-year-old demonstrated passing ability that still makes him a favourite of Gareth Southgate’s. The less said about that Kosovo game the better, mind.
71. Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester)
Throughout the chaos – good and bad – that has occurred at the King Power Stadium over the last decade, Schmeichel’s presence between the sticks has been a welcome constant. Now in his eighth season with the Foxes following a £1.5m move from Leeds in 2011, the Dane has worked under eight different managers, secured a nomination for FIFA’s goalkeeper of the year, won a Premier League title and played in the Champions League.
Not even the arrival of Danny Ward at the beginning of last season has threatened the 32-year-old’s place in Leicester’s first team. Few goalkeepers demonstrate such consistency.
70. Lucas Moura (Tottenham)
Spurs’ Champions League hero of 2018/19 has been impressive in his supporting role since arriving at Tottenham in January 2018. The 27-year-old bagged 10 goals in the Premier League last term but saved his best performances for Europe, netting a stunning second-half hat-trick against Ajax in the Champions League which ensured the Lilywhites’ progression to an historic final.
“This was the most special and remarkable game of my life,” he told FFT this summer. “A hat-trick in the Champions League semi-final like that is God's gift. I’ll never forget it. It’s in my heart.”
69. Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal)
We don’t truly know how good Pepe is yet, but the 24-year-old Ivorian was a standout star of Ligue 1 in 2018/19 and ran Kylian Mbappe close for the league’s player-of-the-season prize. He’s already won his first piece of ‘silverware’ with Arsenal – the lesser-spotted “I Dribbled Past Virgil van Dijk” award, having become the first player to successfully beat the Dutchman in 50 games.
If Unai Emery can hone his developing talent, the Gunners will have a lethal player on their hands.
68. Jordan Pickford (Everton)
England’s No.1 and committed raver Pickford hasn’t missed a second of Premier League action for Everton since joining the club in 2017. The former Sunderland stopper may only measure marginally over 6ft, but he makes up for his lack of stature with incredible reflexes and jumping ability.
Pickford is also renowned for barking instructions at his team-mates, and despite Marco Silva’s attempts to calm him down, the 25-year-old has promised to keep up this side of his game. “Calmness I’ve definitely thought about a lot, but I’ll still be doing all my shouting,” he told Sky Sports. Pray for those TV pitchside microphones.
67. Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal)
Guendouzi has followed up on his breakout 2018/19 season by earning a full call-up to Didier Deschamps’ France squad. Dynamic, creative and boasting composure that defies his tender years, the 20-year-old is already one of Unai Emery’s most trusted operators despite having only stepped up from Ligue 2 level just over a year ago.
Insight into Guendouzi’s burgeoning development could be found in September’s north London derby, where he covered more ground than any other Gunners player in a man-of-the-match display. Here’s the present and future of Arsenal’s midfield.
66. Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham)
Did anyone really see Sissoko transforming into one of the most effective midfielders in the Premier League last season? The long-derided Frenchman, who cost Spurs £30m in summer 2016, finally silenced his critics with a string of star turns at the heart of Mauricio Pochettino’s midfield.
“You have to look forward, try to improve, keep fighting and one day the thing will change,” Sissoko said in an interview with the Guardian. “I never wanted to leave Spurs. I knew that I could have success here.”
65. Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford)
Long considered one of the most effective operators in the Premier League, Doucoure’s talents were in demand again this summer when Everton came in with a hefty deadline-day bid for the Frenchman. The Toffees’ approach was unsurprisingly rebuffed, as Marco Silva’s plans to reunite the midfielder with his former team-mate Richarlison were thwarted.
Though the Hornets did manage to prevent Doucoure departing this summer, the 26-year-old has made no secret of his ambitions to play at the highest level. “Playing in the Champions League is one of my dreams and a lot of the squad want to do it as well,” he said. “I think I can do it in the next few years.” We think so too.
64. Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham)
Lo Celso is the future of Spurs’ midfield. Although Christian Eriksen didn’t get his move away from north London this summer, the Dane’s days at the club are surely numbered. Lo Celso will likely have to pick up the creative slack when Eriksen departs – but luckily for Mauricio Pochettino, the 23-year-old is more than capable.
The Argentine starred at Real Betis last season, showing off his adeptness at receiving possession in deep areas and driving his team forward (he completed more dribbles than any other Betis player in 2018/19). Lo Celso is also comfortable higher up the pitch, dropping off into pockets of space, and also offers a goal threat – he scored 16 in all competitions last campaign. A cruel early-season injury has hampered his progress.
63. Teemu Pukki (Norwich)
The Pukki party just won’t stop. After scoring 29 Championship goals on his way to the EFL Player of the Year award last campaign, the Finnish hotshot has continued to finish his chances with ruthless efficiency in the top flight.
Pukki was signed on a free transfer in summer 2018, making him one of the finest bargains in second-tier history. If he can keep Norwich up, legendary status awaits at Carrow Road.
62. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
Grealish’s transformation from fun-loving youngster to Aston Villa’s inspirational skipper has been remarkable. Fined by the club as recently as 2016 for attending a hotel party until the early hours, the 23-year-old has since knuckled down and was rewarded with the captain’s armband by Dean Smith in 2018.
Grealish relished the increased responsibility, and his performances were a key factor in Aston Villa securing promotion to the Premier League – no player in the Championship was as influential after he returned from injury. At this rate, England caps won’t be far away.
61. Manuel Lanzini (West Ham)
After a season ravaged by injury, Lanzini is back and has signed a fresh four-year contract to celebrate. The Argentine is clearly making up for lost time as well, returning to Manuel Pellegrini’s starting XI and showing the craftwork that got him into Argentina’s 2018 World Cup squad.
The 26-year-old is eager to bring his first trophy to the London Stadium this campaign. “It’s difficult, but why not?” he said. “Leicester won the Premier League three years ago. It’s difficult, but we need to believe.”