Football Features

The best Premier League players in every position right now

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 18:30, 15 October 2021

With domestic action resuming following the recent October international break, what better time than now to take stock of the state of the Premier League.

Mohamed Salah’s majestic display against Manchester City before the recent October international break got people genuinely asking: who are the best players in England’s top division at the moment? Is Salah top dog, or does Antonio Rudiger’s defensive excellence take the crown?

You can’t really compare forwards and defenders though, can you? So in that end, we’ve decided to come up with a list of the Premier League’s best player in every position right now. That way we’re comparing apples to apples and can come up with a more coherent list.

As always, someone’s overall quality and reputation will figure into their ranking but primarily this list deals with players who are in form right now. Do you disagree with any of our picks? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy

Club: Chelsea
FUT Rating: 83
PL Fantasy points: 30

When it comes to the best goalkeepers this season it’s hard to look past Edouard Mendy. Alright Ederson’s ridiculous pass to Phil Foden was persuasive but the way Mendy has his defence organised and then still appears to clean up any messes they make is so impressive.

Honourable mentions: Ederson, David Raya

Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold

Club: Liverpool
FUT Rating: 87
PL Fantasy points: 35

After a bit of downtime in 2020/21, Trent is back with a vengeance this season. The right-back has been phenomenal surging up and down the right-flank again and it’s only the profligacy of his team-mates that’s keeping his assist numbers low at 2. Only one player has created more chances than his 21 and only two have made more big chances than his 4. Trent is back in the saddle and everyone else is in his dust.

Honourable mentions: None

Left-back: Joao Cancelo

Club: Manchester City
FUT Rating: 86
PL Fantasy points: 44

There are a whole load of impressive left-backs in the Premier League, but the one who stands above them all is Joao Cancelo, a right-back. Shifted over to the left by Pep Guardiola, Cancelo is a different kind of left-back but exerts an unbelievable amount of authority on games with his tackling, pressing and passing. He’s like having another midfielder on the pitch and his underlapping style allows Phil Foden to flank wide and stretch opponents out.

Honourable mentions: Marc Cucurella, Luke Shaw, Tyrick Mitchell, Aaron Cresswell

Centre-back: Antonio Rudiger

Club: Chelsea
FUT Rating: 83
PL Fantasy points: 36

This league is blessed with many great centre-backs, including the two most expensive in the world. But the best of them right now isn’t Virgil van Dijk or Harry Maguire, nor is it Champions League Varane, it’s the man whose timing and technique is so sharp that referees often miss the blatant violence of his play. Who is it? It’s the personification of Mike Tyson’s Jab Left to Overhand Right combo. The most dominant defender in the division. A flat-out killer. Antonio Rudiger, the baddest man alive.

Honourable mentions: Raphael Varane, Joel Matip, Gabriel, Shane Duffy

Defensive midfielder: Declan Rice

Club: West Ham
FUT Rating: 82
PL Fantasy points: 20

Defensive midfield in the Premier League is interesting because it’s most dynamic proponent right now is an energetic dynamo who has saved his best displays for the Europa League. Declan Rice keeps on going from strength to strength as though he is personally determined to make that £80m valuation be a good deal for whichever club buys him in the summer of ’22.

Honourable mentions: Rodri, Wilfred Ndidi, Fabinho

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Central midfielder: Paul Pogba and Bernardo Silva

Club: Manchester United
FUT Rating: 87
PL Fantasy points: 36

Club: Manchester City
FUT Rating: 86
PL Fantasy points: 24

This is one position where the two best candidates are so close that they cannot be split, so they can share the title. Paul Pogba has the numbers on his side; the fabulous Frenchman has 8 assists which is more than anyone else in the Premier League. He has been a supremely potent playmaker but has often struggled to help United control games.

Bernardo Silva, meanwhile, doesn’t have Pogba’s gaudy numbers or raw end product, but he has been the beating heart of Manchester City’s two biggest and best performances of the season as he ran the show at Stamford Bridge and Anfield (and the Parc des Princes) all in the same week. From being a potential cast-off to becoming the heart of the new midfield, you can only be impressed.

Honourable mentions: Abdoulaye Doucoure, Jorginho, Jordan Henderson

Attacking midfielder: Bruno Fernandes

Club: Manchester United
FUT Rating: 88
PL Fantasy points: 38

Usually the title of “best attacking midfielder in the Premier League” is a Clásico-esque affair between Bruno Fernandes and Kevin De Bruyne, with each man battling for supremacy. However this season De Bruyne’s injury problems, stemming from playing hurt at Euro 2020, have turned it into a Bundesliga-style one-horse race. With the most chances created, the joint-most big chances created, the most through-balls attempted and the joint-most completed, oh and three goals and an assist; no attacking midfielder is even close to breathing Bruno Fernandes’  atmosphere right now. Hell there’s only one player in the division capable of reaching his heights right now.

Honourable mentions: None

Right-wing: Mohamed Salah

Club: Liverpool
FUT Rating: 89
PL Fantasy points: 70

If there’s one man who is playing better than Bruno Fernandes right now, it is Mohamed Salah. Liverpool’s Egyptian forward is a terrifying combination of speed, skill, sharp instincts and remarkable game intelligence. We’re seeing him track back to coerce his team-mates but still have the energy to drive at opponents, blow by them like they’re not there, and then score and/or assist miraculous goals.

Honourable mentions: Raphinha, Ismaila Sarr

Left-wing: Heung-min Son

Club: Spurs
FUT Rating: 89
PL Fantasy points: 42

Son doesn’t have the unworldly numbers of other players, but that’s mostly because Spurs are a disaster. Yet Son has been excellent despite all the pressure of having to carry the team and carry an unfit and unhappy Harry Kane. Two of his goals were the only strikes in 1-0 wins and he has been so consistent and dynamic that for a while he even fooled people into thinking Spurs were good. Jack Grealish and Demarai Gray have been superb but they haven’t been doing heavy lifting like Son.

Honourable mentions: Demarai Gray, Sadio Mané, Jack Grealish

Striker: Jamie Vardy

Club: Leicester
FUT Rating: 86
PL Fantasy points: 48

Cristiano Ronaldo has been very dangerous and Romelu Lukaku is undoubtedly a superior player, but right now the in-form striker in the Premier League is Jamie Vardy. He keeps getting older but, in the first half of the season at least, he keeps on producing. His pace and drive and instincts are still sharp and it’s just as well given how poor Leicester have been as a whole. The Foxes are down in 13th but if it weren’t for Vardy they’d be in the relegation zone; the Englishman has scored six of their nine goals – that’s 66.6% to top the Premier League goalscoring chart.

Honourable mentions: Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku, Michail Antonio, Neal Maupay, Allan Saint-Maximin, Hwang Hee-Chan

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