Want to give the author direct feedback?Follow @thinlad on Twitter for more insight.
We are almost at the halfway point of the season, and there have been participants from the Premier league that have been outstanding so far. Here are a few of the players on the rise:
Goalkeeper- Martin Dubravka (Newcastle)
Fans ask where would Newcastle would be without Rafa Benitez, but perhaps the more pointed question is where they would they be without Martin Dubravka. The Slovak goalkeeper has made an impressive 49 saves in a near faultless season. The biggest concern for the Toon Army is if he maintains his form.
Previous pick: Alisson
Right Back- Matt Doherty (Wolves)
While Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been outstanding in defence, Matt Doherty has been the most elite right-back of the season. The Irishman has been a constant threat down the flank, providing 3 assists and 3 goals to date, making the transition from Championship to Premier League look relatively easy. It is difficult to believe Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill didn’t seem to fancy Doherty. In result, expect the Wolves player to be the first name on Mick McCarthy’s team sheet in March.
Previous pick: Kieran Trippier
Left Back- Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
Jose Mourinho claimed he was tired watching how energetic Andrew Robertson was in Liverpool’s pummeling of Manchester United. He is not without a point, as Robertson has been a tireless presence down the Liverpool left. He has provided 50 crosses and 3 assists, while his defensive work has improved, making 33 tackles and winning 58 duels. The Scotland captain is now a vital player for both club and country.
Previous pick: Benjamin Mendy
Centre Back- Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)
The best pure defender in Britain, if not the world is Virgil Van Dijk. He has been a towering presence in Liverpool’s defence since his £75 million move from Southampton. Van Dijk is a commanding presence, winning 72 headers as Liverpool has racked up 10 clean sheets in 17 games. He also proved a starting point for attacks, making 1,273 passes and 91 pinpoint long balls.
Previous pick: Virgil Van Dijk
Centre Back- Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)
Aymeric Laporte, along with Tottenham’s Lucas Moura, has proved the benefit of making big additions in the January transfer window. City has reaped the benefits this season with Laporte’s excellent defence. In addition, Laporte leads the league with 1,458 passes.
Previous pick: Joe Gomez
Defensive Midfield- Lucas Torreira (Arsenal)
Alongside Alisson, Lucas Torreira has been the most important signing of the season. He has provided power to a previously soft-looking Arsenal midfield. Torreira has provided 35 tackles and won 94 duels for the Gunners, while chipping in 2 goals and 2 assists. His Man of the Match performance against Liverpool was an exemplary midfield display.
Previous pick: Jorginho
Central Midfield- David Silva (Manchester City)
It remains a staggering oversight that David Silva is playing his 9th Premier League season and has never won Footballer of the Year. After a relatively slow start, the midfield maestro has become City’s most influential player in the absence of the injured Kevin De Bruyne. Silva currently has 5 goals and 2 assists, and is the beating heart of Pep Guardiola’s side.
Previous pick: James Milner
Central Midfield- James Maddison (Leicester City)
Having arrived from Norwich, James Maddison has made an immediate impact in the #10 role, and quickly made fans forget Riyad Mahrez. Maddison has scored 5 goals and created 8 big chances for mid-table Leicester. The England Under 21 cap won his first senior call up in October, and looks certain to get his first cap in March.
Previous pick: James Maddison
Forward- Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
After a goal-shy World Cup, Raheem Sterling has gone on to the best half season of his career to date. Sterling has bagged 9 goals and missed just 2 big chances so far, while adding a further 6 assists for City. He has vocally hit back at the years of unjust criticism within the press, but has done so without losing his form.
Previous pick: Ryan Frazer
Forward- Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Eden Hazard started the season at a blistering pace, but has inevitably let up a little in recent weeks. However, Hazard still has 8 goals and 9 assists. While every defender in the league who doesn’t play for Chelsea will be hoping he goes to Real Madrid, the Premier League would be worse off if Hazard does eventually head to Spain.
Previous pick: Eden Hazard
Centre Forward- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
As the top scorer in the league, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has rebounded from an uncertain start to life in North London. His total of 10 goals is made even more impressive by the fact he’s had to share the forward role with Alexandre Lacazette. He will face stiff competition from Kane, Aguero and Salah for the golden boot, but for now, he is the top dog.
Previous pick: Sergio Aguero
Subs: Alisson (Liverpool), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Richarlison (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Picture Credits: Daily Star, Getty, Evening Standard
PL stats up to game week 17