·30 May 2023
·30 May 2023
Here we are then, Football365’s top ten Premier League players of the season. Just two players from the title winners and we refuse not to laugh at Arsenal’s best being pipped in the rankings by a Spurs player despite their 24-point advantage over their north London rivals…
10) Casemiro His five Champions League wins counted for very little among Premier League pundits as they questioned Manchester United’s decision to sign Luka Modric and Toni Kroos’ bumbling midfield brother. Imagine their surprise when Casemiro ‘fixed’ the United midfield, just as he said he would.
Perhaps because we had seen him mainly in the Champions League – in which he was more of a keep-it-ticking midfielder at the base of Real Madrid’s midfield – we’ve all been a bit taken aback by his ability to get forward. His magnetism from set-pieces has been particularly notable with United finding themselves a player as brilliant in both boxes as he is at knitting everything together between.
9) Marcus Rashford ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’ is the phrase that comes to mind, but actually this isn’t a return to form for Rashford; he’s operating in a class above and beyond what we’ve seen before. Years after he was touted as being a £100m player, he is finally there.
He’s not, nor will he ever be, Kylian Mbappe. But he’s got the same unstoppable air when he picks up the ball on the left wing, with his confidence snowballing game on game. Harry Kane alongside him for United would be very good news for England.
8) Alexis Mac Allister He’s enjoyed quite the season, playing and starring in all but the opener Argentina lost on their way to World Cup glory, scoring against Poland and assisting in the final against France. And in a search for one player to explain Brighton’s brilliance this season, most would pick him out.
He’s formed a Champions League-level central midfield partnership with Moises Caicedo, and with box-to-box midfielders boasting both creativity and snap in the tackle once again coveted in top-level football, Mac Allister at £70m would be a snip for Liverpool.
Honourable Brighton mentions for Solly March, Kaoru Mitoma, Julio Enciso and Pervis Estupinan, who have also been superb, but haven’t had quite the consistency of Mac Allister.
7) Kieran Trippier He’s a ‘model professional’, sure, but he’s also better than that slightly backhanded compliment insinuates. Only a short time ago Gareth Southgate was being pilloried for selecting Trippier over all the other ridiculously talented right-backs for England, but the Newcastle captain has comfortably been the best of the lot this season. Only Bruno Fernandes created more chances this season.
6) Bruno Fernandes The other Bruno, over in Newcastle, was in this top ten ahead of Fernandes back in March, but we couldn’t ignore the brilliant whining little berk this time around.
He must annoy the p*ss out of his teammates but he’s probably Manchester United’s most important player. He’s got a way to go in the leadership stakes, but it feels like his all-round game has gone up another gear this season, as he thrives in a system that works and gets the best out of him under Erik ten Hag.
5) Bukayo Saka A beautiful goal against Wolves on the final day to cap a brilliant season which went off the boil in the last couple of months, for Saka and Arsenal. The 21-year-old topped this list in March, at which point we managed to see past Haaland’s hulking frame to the wriggling winger who would win the gong for the Premier League’s most watchable player.
4) Martin Odegaard We can’t be certain Odegaard is an excellent captain, though Arsenal’s huge improvement would suggest he is, but we are certain he’s an excellent footballer.
He makes finding space and teammates with nifty passes easy to the point where you question why everyone with a couple of feet and a basic grasp of how to put one in front of the other can’t play top-level football. His standards have remained extremely high even through Arsenal’s end-of-season slump. PSG want him for a reason.
3) Kevin De Bruyne Thierry Henry, who played with Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane and Dennis Bergkamp, recently said he believes De Bruyne has “the best brain” of anyone he’s seen in football. Combining that big bonce with a brilliant left foot, an even better right foot and near peerless physicality is frankly unfair.
De Bruyne answered Pep Guardiola’s criticism for “not doing the simple things” back in March by returning to the starting line-up and grabbing three goals and five assists in his next four games. He ends the season with 16 Premier League assists, four more than his closest rivals.
2) Harry Kane He’s ‘already decided to leave’ and thus Tottenham are entirely f***ed. Spurs would have finished level on points with Everton in 17th without Kane’s goals. He scored 12 in the last 12 games of the season, as his side dropped from fourth to eighth. He deserves better. His stats are ridiculous.
1) Erling Haaland He’s already got three individual gongs, and will get more, and will in all likelihood end up with three team trophies having scored 52 goals in 51 games. “Not bad,” as he put it.
There was a point this season when some questioned whether Haaland had made Manchester City worse, with Jamie Carragher’s claim that he may have joined the wrong team somehow missing from our worst pundit takes of the season, which illustrates just how mental the top five were.
It now feels as though the only way in which Haaland won’t be Player of the Season every season for the next decade is by us becoming bored of his ridiculous goalscoring antics.
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