2017 has been a thrilling year for Premier League football but which players have stood out among the rest? This is Viberant’s Top 10 Premier League players of the calendar year and who is taking the top spot? De Bruyne? Kane? Hazard? Let’s find out.
10. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur)
Tottenham have had a dazzling 2017 full of optimism and excitement, they have come close to the title two years in a row and a lot of their attacking joy has come from the seamless creativity of their Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen. His service for the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min has meant that Spurs have remained a potent goal threat and he really is the cog that makes everything else work for the North London club. His dead ball deliveries are unrivalled in the division and his 2017 form has attracted the attention of some of Europe’s top clubs so it will be interesting to see if they can hold on to him.
9. Romelu Lukaku (Everton & Manchester United)
Romelu Lukaku has all the attributes to be a true great of the Premier League, he is big, strong, quick and very good in front of goal. He scored most of Everton’s goals last season and his form meant he could push a summer move to Manchester United in July 2017. He has started his United career very well with goals coming thick and fast. His work with Jose Mourinho for club and his coach Thierry Henry for country is reaping the benefits so far and has brought some brilliant 2017 form; if he can iron out a few creases of his game he will be unstoppable and could even be the driving force of a title for Man Utd in future. Time is still on his side.
8. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
What a turnaround it has been for the undeniably talented Raheem Sterling under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. His transfer from Liverpool started an uncertain rocky road for the winger as he found himself in and out of Manuel Pellegrini’s team; but the work Pep has done with him is really coming into fruition this year and has earned Sterling all the plaudits he deserves. His form has been fantastic this calendar year and he has won City so many points this season in particular with late goals galore. The future is immensely bright for Sterling as at long last he is being coached properly and we might finally see an English talent fulfill his potential.
7. N’golo Kante (Chelsea)
N’golo Kante was an absolute nobody when Leicester first signed him from the second tier of France but what became evident very quickly was the importance he can carry for whoever he plays for. He was one of the key cogs in Leicester’s dramatic and famous title win and since his move to Chelsea he has carried that momentum on and become the first player to win back-to-back Premier League titles with different clubs. His energy is incredible and is easily his greatest asset, something which has made him unplayable against some of Europe’s top midfield players. Winning the PFA Player of the Year award was credit for all his fantastic work in 2017 as the heartbeat of Chelsea’s midfield.
6. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Ask most Liverpool fans and they will tell you that, despite the brilliance of the likes of Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana at the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign, it was the little Brazilian wizard Philippe Coutinho who got Liverpool into the top four last season after he took the reins and won games almost on his own at times towards the back end of the season. His long range goals and wonderful football brain attracted Barcelona’s attention and he very nearly left Anfield for Barca in the summer but he stayed put. After a short break from the side he is back and ever since his return his performances have arguably been better than last season’s. His talents will be beneficial for Liverpool this season but come next year I fear he may leave for pastures new.
5. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Eden Hazard is undoubtedly one of the most talented players in the Premier League and when he is fully on his game he is absolutely unplayable. His trickery and ability to grab a game by the scruff of it’s neck is what made him Chelsea’s main attacking man in their title charge last season and without Hazard I believe that Chelsea wouldn’t have cruised to the title in the fashion they did. He has five goals so far this season as well as the 16 he mustered up last campaign and in recent weeks he has put on some truly dazzling performances.
4. Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
When Chelsea first signed Cesar Azpilicueta he was seen as a decent quality right back who could be a long term replacement for Branislav Ivanovic. What he has become over the last couple of years is actually one of the best central defenders in Europe and that is mainly down to the brilliance of Antonio Conte’s tactics. Azpilicueta has become a stalwart in his 3-4-3 formation and looks to be Chelsea’s solidifying rock at the back alongside Gary Cahill and David Luiz. He has been the best defender in the Premier League for the past two years and 2017 has been his best calendar year of his career.
3. David De Gea (Manchester United)
In 2017 David De Gea has stepped his game up to a level that nobody would have even dared to imagine when he first joined the club as a slight and weak youngster in 2011. He is now widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world thanks to this past 12 months, surpassing the long term leaders Manuel Neuer and Gianluigi Buffon and there is plenty of method to this thinking. His shot stopping is truly second to none, some of the saves we have seen him make have defied logic at times; but the one part of his game he has improved massively on since arriving is his ability to dominate his area, claiming catches and distributing the ball with elegance and efficiency. He is truly one of a kind and the chasing pack have to see De Gea has the goalkeeping standard from now on.
2. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Kevin De Bruyne is, in my eyes, the Premier League’s most gifted and technically astute footballer and 2017 has been a year where he really came into his own. A once Chelsea reject who couldn’t get a game for then manager Jose Mourinho has gone away to ply his trade abroad and now come back better than ever. Under Pep Guardiola we have seen him blossom into a staggeringly good creative midfield player, so much so that I would have him down as the best midfield player in Europe at this moment in time. If this list was based solely off this current season, he would be top in my eyes; but when looking at 2017 as a whole, he only just misses out on top spot.
1. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
What a year it has been for Harry Kane. He is now widely recognised as a genuinely world class centre forward, has captained both club and country and scored 40 goals in a calendar year. Not too bad for a player who was labelled a one season wonder when he first broke onto the scene. I really think there isn’t a striker in world football with the ice cold veins in front of goal of Kane, he has dragged Spurs to becoming title challengers and tormented some of Europe’s top defences in the Champions League so far. He really is a striker with all the tools to be a legend of the game and his progress isn’t showing any signs of stopping.