Premier League player rankings: Paul Pogba back to dominant best

Danny Dichio and James Sharman discuss Manchester City’s rout of Chelsea and the greatness of Sergio Aguero.

Welcome to the Premier League player power rankings after Matchday 26. 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)

With two goals and an assist, Sterling was all over Chelsea throughout the match. Sergio Aguero will take the majority of the plaudits, but Cesar Azpiliqueta will be seeing nightmares for some time with the way the English winger ran at him.

Sterling, though, seems more occupied with trying to figure out exactly how Sergio Aguero missed the easiest chance of the match.

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

Liverpool really needed a performance like this with the pressure mounting and before they head to Old Trafford for a monumental clash with Manchester United.

Van Dijk was in cruise control against Bournemouth and never put a foot wrong. His positioning ensured he was never on his heels and his side will need the Dutchman to ramp it up even further against a United side currently on the rampage.

3. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool (Previous matchday: 3)

Salah had an excellent finish to give Liverpool a commanding 3-0 lead but the most important question now is whether or not he can keep up his incredible goal scoring rate of the last season-and-a-half without his beard.

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

Sat out against Huddersfield Town as he couldn’t recover in time from an illness.

5. Eden Hazard, Chelsea (Previous matchday: 5)

Free Hazard. Sad to say, but the time has come where the Belgian has outgrown Chelsea.

He will have to play out the season with the Blues. However, the extent to which Hazard cut an isolated figure and tried to slalom through defenders by himself was thrilling while it lasted, but disappointing because no one could attend the party with him.

6. Aymeric Laporte, Manchester City (Previous matchday: 6)

Another top performance for the Frenchman. Granted, his side made things quite easy for him by incessantly bombarding Chelsea. But the stability he provides in the back and ability to initiate City’s build-up from the back is vital to the side.

7. David Silva, Manchester City (Previous matchday: 7)

Was curiously left out of the starting lineup for what looked like a tense fixture at home to Chelsea, but Guardiola showed he knew exactly what he was doing as City were runaway winners.

8. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City (Previous matchday: 11)

He has catapulted himself to the top of the scoring charts in style with back-to-back hat tricks at home and that feat has only added more fuel to the fire of where he stands among the Premier League greats.

Considering the league titles he’s won, his superior strike rate and spectacular record in big matches, Aguero has more than made his case, which is far from complete.

9. Andrew Robertson, Liverpool (Previous matchday: 8)

The working class hero just keeps chugging along. Georginio Wijnaldum scored with a peach of a lob but Robertson deserves credit for a clever pass that played the Dutchman through.

When Robertson is marauding down the left wing, there’s just a different frequency to this Liverpool side.

10. Sadio Mané, Liverpool (Previous matchday: 9)

You had to wonder if it was a bad omen that Mané scored the opener after Liverpool drew their last two matches after the Senegalese star scored. That wasn’t the case in this match as the Reds went from strength to strength in front of their home fans and ran away as deserved winners.

11. Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal (Previous matchday: 10)

It’s a luxury for Unai Emery to know that Aubameyang can miss out and he can just slot in Lacazette. The Frenchman scored just before halftime to lift the Gunners’ spirit with a comfortable two-goal lead.

With the way the second half went and even conceding to lowly Huddersfield, that may be another big goal he’s scored that goes unnoticed.

12. Son Heung-min, Tottenham (Previous matchday: 14)

Who’s the real MVP? Harry Kane’s been out injured and Spurs haven’t skipped a beat!

All kidding aside, Son has been incredible for Tottenham as they stay in title contention and, at the very least, solidify their case for Champions League qualification.

13. Harry Kane, Tottenham (Previous matchday: 13)

There are some reports that he may return on Feb. 23 which would be well ahead of his initial early March timeline. Tottenham can only hope.

14. Toby Alderweireld, Tottenham (Previous matchday: 12)

Missed the match against Leicester City with Mauricio Pochettino possibly keeping Wednesday’s Champions League fixture in mind.

15. Ryan Fraser, Bournemouth (Previous matchday: 15)

The wins against Chelsea and West Ham United seem more an anomaly than a return to form but, at least against Liverpool, Fraser looked a class apart from his side.

While his personal decline in form has coincided with the Cherries’ dip, he looked close to his best against the Reds.

16. Alisson, Liverpool (Previous matchday: 16)

While he was largely untroubled with only two shots on target, Alisson continues to play quality outlet passes for his side to build on and fit Jurgen Klopp’s philosophy like a glove.

17. Roberto Firmino, Liverpool (Previous matchday: 19)

Perfectly timed back-heel assist to Salah and seeing Liverpool’s front trio click the way they did will be a sight for sore eyes for fans after they struggled to find a rhythm in last two matches.

18. Leroy Sané, Manchester City (Previous matchday: 18)

The German was an unused substitute in City’s 6-0 thumping of Chelsea. What a luxury that must be for Guardiola.

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

He’s back, and the world of football should be grateful José Mourinho was fired. Pogba has been as dominant a player as any across Europe since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was put in charge.

Two more goals to his tally this week, including the opener against Fulham which was, frankly, just an incredible shot from an angle where he looked most likely to cross.

20. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Crystal Palace (Previous matchday: 20)

Palace drew this weekend and Wan-Bissaka cut a frustrated figure at times, but he’s still deserving of being on this list.

With fixtures away to Leicester and Burnley sandwiching a home clash with Man United, this is a key stretch for him to prove his worth.

Honourable mentions:

Sol Bamba (Cardiff City). Mathew Ryan (Brighton & Hove Albion). Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool). Marcus Rashford (Manchester United). Fernandinho, Ederson (Manchester City). James Tarkowski (Burnley). James Maddison (Leicester City).

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