Premier League player rankings: Man City’s Sterling back on top

Craig Forrest, Danny Dichio and James Sharman recap Arsenal’s victory over Manchester United in the Premier League.

Welcome to the Premier League player power rankings after Matchday 30. Following each gameweek in the English Premier League, Sportsnet will rank the top 20 players for the 2018-19 season. Regardless of reputation, everyone starts from scratch at Matchday 1, and will steadily move up, down, or out of the rankings as the games progress.

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1. Raheem Sterling, Manchester City (Previous matchday: 2)

How could he not be at the top of these rankings after a THIRTEEN-minute hat trick?! At this point, it seems very likely that the winner of the Player of the Year award will come down to which team wins the league title, with both Sterling and Virgil van Dijk the two standout performers for City and Liverpool.

2. Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool (Previous matchday: 1)

Liverpool were unlucky not to have the first goal they conceded to a solid Burnley side not ruled out for a foul on goalkeeper Alisson, but van Dijk’s presence at the back clearly has an influence in bringing a sense of calm to the proceedings even as their pursuit of an elusive Premier League trophy get more intense with each passing week.

The Dutchman is imperious with the ball at his feet, but he’s looking untouchable in the air, too!

3. Eden Hazard, Chelsea (Previous matchday: 3)

It looked as though Chelsea were consigned to a surprise defeat at the hands of Wolverhampton, but Hazard refuses to be dragged down with his team.

With the match in injury time, Hazard received the ball on the edge of the left side of the penalty area, skipped past the onrushing defender before unleashing a perfectly placed curler into the far right corner. With all that has gone wrong for his Blues this season, Hazard still finds a way to remind everyone of his class.

4. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool (Previous matchday: 6)

Assisted Roberto Firmino for the tying goal to help ease the nerves of the Anfield faithful and was ever-present if not ever-clinical.

He’s certainly lost his bearings in front of goal a bit and his inability to find the back of the net in any of his last four league appearances has left him short of a Premier League record.

5. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal (Previous matchday: 4)

Redemption. After missing a late penalty that would have given his side a crucial three points against Tottenham, Aubameyang stepped up to the spot and calmly doubled Arsenal’s advantage against another bitter rival in Manchester United.

He currently looks a level below the standard he brought to the table for second third of this season, but perhaps this will be the kick-start he needs to finish the season on a high.

6. David Silva, Manchester City (Previous matchday: 5)

Wasn’t his best performance, but he found a way into the headlines anyway by almost exactly replicating Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal. He missed, so we avoid one less VAR conversation and a debate over who did it better.

7. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City (Previous matchday: 7)

If City don’t go on to win the league title, blame Aguero for inviting the Drake curse.

8. Sadio Mané, Liverpool (Previous matchday: 12)

With five goals and four assists in his last five league appearances, there is no doubting Mané is doing everything in his power to push Liverpool over the line and win their first Premier League title.

He’s making himself a beloved figure in front of the Kop as well, joining some select company by scoring in his sixth straight home league fixture.

9. Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal (Previous matchday: 9)

The Frenchman provided both goals for Arsenal against United this weekend, although the second was courtesy a dubious penalty decision.

His ability to hold the ball up, skip past defenders and finish in front of goal makes him a truly complete striker, and he was a handful for United defenders all match.

10. Harry Kane, Tottenham (Previous matchday: 10)

Of course he scored again, his 200th senior goal. But, inexplicably, Spurs now have just one point to show for their last four league matches and so after looking like they could be a dark horse for the title, are now just a point ahead of Arsenal three ahead of United.

11. Andrew Robertson, Liverpool (Previous matchday: 12)

Energetic as ever and it earned some high praise from former United champion Phil Neville.

12. Alisson, Liverpool (Previous matchday: 13)

Should have been the beneficiary of a foul call that would have prevented the first Burnley goal and the second came late in the second half with Liverpool looking good for the win.

13. Aymeric Laporte, Manchester City (Previous matchday: 8)

Has now missed the last three league fixtures.

14. Roberto Firmino, Liverpool (Previous matchday: 16)

Liverpool really missed him during his time out and he really is the piece that completes Jurgen Klopp’s attacking vision and brings the best out of both Mo Salah and Mané.

15. Ederson, Manchester City (Previous matchday: 17)

Can’t criticize him for being left with nothing to do of late.

16. Son Heung-min, Tottenham (Previous matchday: 15)

He’s looked a bit jaded of late and Pochettino elected to name him as a sub for the match against the Saints. He came on for the final 18 minutes but could only watch as Southampton completed their startling comeback.

17. Ryan Fraser, Bournemouth (Previous matchday: N/A)

He lives. One week after dropping him from these rankings, Fraser delivers a goal and an assist to storm back. Turns out all he needed was a return of Callum Wilson.

Fraser also became the first Scot to record 10 assists in the Premier League, a special accomplishment.

18. Toby Alderweireld, Tottenham (Previous matchday: 14)

Did not figure into Mauricio Pochettino’s plans for the match against Southampton.

19. Paul Pogba, Manchester United (Previous matchday: 19)

After a couple of lacklustre performances since dyeing his hair blonde, Pogba got a haircut but it didn’t seem to change much.

He had a couple of great balls and runs into the box but failed to lift his side when they needed it. Better finishing from Romelu Lukaku would have helped, but the Frenchman didn’t play a pivotal role in creating those guilt-edged opportunities either.

20. Jamie Vardy, Leicester City (Previous matchday: N/A)

He’s been brilliant of late with five goals in his last five league fixtures and should be a safe bet to finish strong under new Brendan Rodgers’ style. He brought up his 100th goal for the Foxes in typical fashion, a swift counter and ruthless finish.

Honourable mentions:

Mathew Ryan (Brighton & Hove Albion). James Tarkowski (Burnley). James Maddison (Leicester City). Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool). Fernandinho, Ederson (Manchester City). Marcus Rashford (Manchester United). Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

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