As the Premier League reaches its halfway point, now feels like as good a time as any to look back at each club’s top performer so far this campaign.
Here are the selections from each team…
Arsenal: Bukayo Saka
Gunners fans have had little to smile about but Saka’s form has been one positive in a poor start to the season. His value to Arsenal has been epitomised by his recent outings which have helped them stop the rot. Against Chelsea he got on the scoresheet before he followed that up with a vital assist to vanquish Brighton.
Aston Villa: Jack Grealish
If the PFA Team of the Season was announced tomorrow Grealish would undoubtedly have a place in it. His finest hour this campaign was masterminding Villa’s 7-2 victory over the Champions but I have a feeling he’ll produce plenty more highlights before the season is out as he looks to add to his 5 goals and 7 assists.
Brighton: Yves Bissouma
Another player who produced a superb, if much more subtle, display against the Champions, Bissouma has been central to Brighton this campaign. His 49 tackles is Brighton’s most by a long way and leaves him inside the top three tacklers in the league. He averages over 48 passes per game and isn’t a stranger to an intercept producing 14.
Burnley: Ben Mee
This campaign has shown the true value of Mee to Dyche’s men. Mee missed the beginning of the season and Burnley suffered finding themselves stranded in a relegation battle. Since Mee’s return Burnley have been back to their best at the back and have only conceded one goal from open play in their 6 outings.
Chelsea: Thiago Silva
No single Chelsea player has stood out for me. The fullbacks have been class, Mendy has provided much needed steal in goal and Tammy Abraham is their top scorer in the league. But I’ve gone for Thiago Silva not based on stats but the stability he has given his new side. His experience has improved Chelsea’s defence and can be seen in the improved performances of centre-back partner Kurt Zouma. Silva is a leader Chelsea needed to compliment the youth of their side and so far he is proving to be a smart piece of recruitment from Lampard.
Crystal Palace: Wilfred Zaha
After a year in the doldrums, it’s good to see the Palace flyer back to his best. So far this season, he has had 10 goal involvements including 8 goals, 5 more than anyone else at Selhurst Park, and 2 assists. In short, he has answered Roy Hodgson’s prayers. Last season saw the Eagles struggle in front of goal but the return to form of Zaha has taken the edge of their struggles.
Everton: Dominic Calvert-Lewin
11 goals. That says it all. Few would’ve expected the Everton striker to be anywhere near the golden boot, but under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti, he has taken the league by storm and was the first player to break the 10-goal barrier despite the form of Salah, Son and Vardy. His goal scoring is a major reason Everton are flying-high this season and has resulted in a well-deserved call-up to the England squad.
Fulham: Ademola Lookman
Nothing has been plain sailing about Fulham’s return to the Premier League and the same goes for all of their squad with each having their own high points and low moments. However, Lookman has looked like their best player in their return to the top flight. He’s their joint second top scorer with 2 goals and tops their assist chart with a pair. That doesn’t seem like many, but for a side like Fulham it’s gold dust as they look to ward off relegation.
Leeds: Stuart Dallas
Leeds United have been one of the most exciting teams to watch this season. But to balance the energy and flair of their playing style you need consistency and work-ethic and no one brings that more to the mighty whites than the versatile Stuart Dallas. He’s so consistent – rarely produces a performance below 7/10 – and seemingly never stops running. Two stats that sum Dallas up is his status as Leeds’ second top scorer in the league as well as the fact he’s produced more tackles than any other United player with 45.
Leicester: Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy and Brendan Rodgers is a match made in heaven. Under the former Liverpool manager, Vardy returned to form last season and has continued that into this campaign. He’ll once again be eyeing up the golden boot having already notched 11 goals this season. He’s also produced 5 assists (Leicester’s most) proving he’s more than just a goal scorer.
Liverpool: Andy Robertson
Salah has been superb this season with 13 goals and 3 assists, but the Scotsman has arguably been more important to Liverpool remaining at the top of the table despite their mound of injuries. He has been ever-present for the Champions giving them a vital morsel of stability whilst everyone else has had to be chopped and changed. This has resulted in him becoming a vital leader at the back and it can certainly be said that he has led by example with a 93% tackle success rate. Nonetheless, he has still been a crucial weapon for the reds going forward with 5 assists and is also the league’s top passer.
Manchester City: Joao Cancelo
The obvious choice might be Kevin De Bruyne who unsurprisingly leads the way at the Etihad in terms of assists with 7. But City’s strength this campaign has been their defence. Whilst they have struggled for goals, they’ve tightened up at the back and the performances of Cancelo have been key to this. He leads City for tackles with 27 and interceptions with 22. In his 11 appearances this season, he’s only conceded 6 goals which speaks volumes for what he has done for Pep’s defence.
Manchester United: Bruno Fernandes
Who else was it going to be? Since joining Manchester United no one has produced more goals and assists than the Portuguese. He also has impressive numbers this season poaching 11 goals and creating a further 7. He’s the talisman and leader Manchester United have lacked for years and if their title challenge continues, he’ll be at the heart of it.
Newcastle: Callum Wilson
Wilson has been an inspired signing from Steve Bruce. His 8 goals so far this season is an impressive total itself but the fact it is 44% of Newcastle’s goals in the league speaks volumes about his value to the Magpies. He is also their top assister too with 3. Without his goals and assists, Newcastle would likely be much deeper in the relegation dogfight.
Sheffield United: David McGoldrick
This season hasn’t been the campaign the Blades would’ve hoped for. They feel a million miles away from the side who pushed for European Football a year ago. Now they seem destined for the Championship. This makes selecting their best player a tough job. I’ve been impressed with Ramsdale at times with the number of shots he’s had to face but he’s not been infallible with 2 errors leading to goals. So, I’m afraid it’s going to have to be David McGoldrick. Perhaps without him Sheffield’s plight would be far worse as he’s their only player to score more than once in the league this season.
Southampton: James Ward-Prowse
It should be said the Saints have had a number of great performers this season. When fit, Ings continues to bang in goals having mustered 6 already and Che Adams has also stepped up to the plate. However, Ward-Prowse has been a cut above this season. His 4 goals and 4 assists are numbers competitive with anyone in his position as is his 1,157 passes. And who could forget his superb display against Villa in which he notched two inch-perfect freekicks to sink Villa?
Tottenham: Heung-Min Son
The fact both Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville chose Son over both Mane and Sterling in their team of 2020 should tell you everything you need to know about the Spurs number 7. His 12 goals this season leaves him just one behind Salah in the race for the golden boot and his goals have been complimented by 5 assists as he and Harry Kane have formed a superb partnership.
West Brom: Sam Johnstone
Without Johnstone, would West Brom have taken points off both the reigning and previous champions? I would argue no. With 74 saves – none more impressive than his finger-tip effort to deny Firmino a winner at Anfield – he leads the league in terms of shot stopping. If Big Sam is going to fight of relegation, the continued heroics of Johnstone are going to be key.
West Ham: Jarrod Bowen
After a slow start to life at the Hammers, Bowen has found his form under Moyes and has been key to their impressive start to this season. His 4 goals and 2 assists leave him with the most goal involvements of anyone at West Ham. And after spending much of last season setting the Championship alight with Hull, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him continue to cause premiership sides problems.
Wolves: Pedro Neto
Many outside of Molineux might think Wolves are bitterly lamenting the loss of Diogo Jota and the injury to Raul Jimenez, but Pedro Neto has stepped up to fill the void. The 20-year-old is Wolves’ joint scorer in the league with 4 and has also produced their most assists with 3. His form has lessened the blow of Jimenez’s injury allowing them to reach the January transfer window – in which they’re rumoured to be signing Diego Costa – relatively unscathed.