Maestros! – Top 5 Midfielders In Premier League So Far This Season
Premier League games are won in the midfield. Whichever aspect of the Premier League one likes the best; it starts and, in some cases, ends in central midfield.
All the top teams in the league have that one player capable of making the difference at the centre of the park. A top midfielder is the one through whom the game is dictated. A player who breaks the opposition’s link-up play with his fantastic positioning skills and hard-tackling is a game changer.
Without much fuss, let us have a look at top 5 midfielders in the Premier League this season so far.
In the summer, Nemanja Matic’s move from Chelsea to Manchester United looked like a very good one for the Red Devils. Since the season started it has looked even better for Jose Mourinho’s side.
Mourinho targeted a defensive midfielder in the summer as he wanted to give his defence more protection while also giving Paul Pogba more license to contribute in the attack. And he got one in his former Chelsea player Matic, who is proving to be a bargain buy.
The Serbian is not just a defensive midfielder, but much more than that, with his vision and ability to dictate games. Matic, approaching his 30s, has provided astute leadership qualities and attentive discipline, which United have lacked since the departure of Roy Keane.
The central midfielder has played every minute for United this season, creating 5 chances and one assist. With an average pass accuracy of 87%, Matic has completed 607 passes. Defensively, he has been a rock, with 19 interceptions and 2 blocks. He is yet to be booked in the league.
With every passing game, the question remains – why did Chelsea let one of their direct rivals have Matic! And if United end up becoming champions, how much will Antonio Conte’s Blues regret this decision?
Kevin de Bruyne
One thing is for sure: the Premier League is blessed with delightful playmakers. Manchester United have Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Chelsea have Eden Hazard, Arsenal have Mesut Ozil and Liverpool have Philippe Coutinho. But Manchester City have Kevin de Bruyne.
After failing to break through under Jose Mourinho, he left for Wolfsburg and his dazzling displays soon attracted Manchester City’s interest. City signed him; while 16 goals and 14 assists in 42 games in his first season with City was really good, Pep Guardiola has helped the Belgian realise his full potential this season.
City are currently flying in the Premier League as well as in Europe and De Bruyne has been the most important piece of their breathtaking performances. The Belgian’s position in the current City formation is difficult to describe, as Guardiola has given De Bruyne a free role, in which the player has thrived.
In 10 games, the former Chelsea man has scored one goal, creating 30 chances and 6 assists. De Bruyne has completed 641 passes this season with a pass accuracy of 86%, of which 24 have been key passes.
David Silva might now be into his 30s but he is showing no signs of slowing down. He is the archetypal Pep Guardiola player, as the Spanish manager is ushering a new era at Manchester City.
Guardiola has deployed his own free-flowing style of play at City and Silva has proved to be one of his chief engineers, with the cultured midfielder making the game seem like art with every deft touch of the football.
The diminutive playmaker appears to be playing the best football of his career, having creatied 28 chances and 6 assists so far. Silva has started every game for City this season, scoring a goal and producing 22 key passes with a pass accuracy of 91%.
For Guardiola, Silva is still a master and the master wants to extend his stay to mark a decade at City. Could there be a bigger joy for Manchester City?
A relatively unknown talent, Abdoulaye Doucoure has impressed so far this season as Watford have started really well under new manager Marco Silva.
Operating in the heart of the midfield in Silva’s 4-3-3 formation, the muscular midfielder offers the kind of imposing display that had begun to become the custom during the latter stages of his stay with French outfit Rennes.
Doucoure is a wonderful mix of box-to-box midfield play and technical prowess, and is showcasing his elusive qualities week-in and week-out for the Hornets. The French-born Malian has scored 4 goals this season, creating 13 chances and no assists. He has completed 549 passes with a pass accuracy of 86%.
Yet Doucoure is not some special midfielder or a player to hog limelight every weekend. Indeed, he is one of Silva’s trusted players to continue doing the good job quietly.
Fernandino has been City’s heartbeat since the commencement of the season. He is the charging presence in midfield not only with tough-tackling and interceptions but also with his goals and assists.
The Brazilian is the fulcrum of Guardiola’s exciting side, giving extra screen to the defence and a sound platform to the attackers. His combative work-rate, coupled with grit and Samba flair is finally beginning to flourish under the Spanish gaffer.
It’s not just that Fernandinho’s defensive duties have been fantastic, but his attacking football too he has been brilliant. In 10 games so far, he has scored 2 goals, has created 5 chances and one assist. With a whopping 90% pass completion rate from the base of midfield, he has also produced 4 key chances.
It is this season that Fernandinho has truly earned the manager’s confidence and is developing into one of the best deep-lying midfielders in the Premier League.