10. Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard is the heart and soul of Liverpool. While he may not be their leading goal scorer, Gerrard is commanding in the midfield and is arguably Liverpool’s most important player. The England international can do a little bit of everything and is a threat to score from distance because of his powerful shot. In league competition, he scored 9 goals and assisted 9 more. At the age of 33, it seems like he may be close to the end of his prime, but he can now also help to develop Liverpool’s future stars. Liverpool finished 7th in the Premier League this season, quite low for the famous club, and are looking to rebuild their club to finish in the top four to qualify for the Champions League. Recently acquired young players, like Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, can learn from Gerrard as they begin promising careers at Liverpool.
9. Santi Cazorla
After moving from Malaga, Santi Cazorla had a fantastic debut season in the Premier League. Cazorla is such a creative player and his versatility allows him to attack the defense from many different positions. The Spanish midfielder scored 12 goals and had 11 assists to help Arsenal edge out Tottenham for the final spot to qualify for the Champions League playoffs. His form in this year’s Champions League was not as good as his league play and needs to improve in order for Arsenal to have a chance at winning a title. Look for Cazorla, along with Jack Wilshere, to lead Arsenal next season for a charge to win the Premier League.
Michu exploded on to everyone’s radar this season for the Welsh club, Swansea City. Only costing 2 million euros, Michu was by far the biggest transfer steal of 2012 by scoring 18 goals in the Premier League. He has excellent control and is able to create his own space to score. The midfielder turned striker was an integral part in Swansea’s first major title in the club’s long history, the League Cup, and finishing in the top half of the Premier League table. If Swansea can bring in more quality players, due to their recent rise, it will alleviate the increased focus Michu will receive from opponents next season. His season has without a doubt drawn the Spanish national team’s attention and an international appearance may come soon if he is able to keep up his superb form.
7. Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard became a legend this season for Chelsea. For much of the season, Lampard’s future with the club was in doubt because the club refused to offer him a multi-year extension because he is now 34. Lampard proved Chelsea’s management wrong by scoring 15 goals in the Premier League and becoming Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer in goals with 203 since his debut in 2001. The midfielder has now been offered an one year contract to remain with the club. Lampard’s leadership is matched by few and similar to Gerrard for Liverpool, Lampard is Chelsea’s most important player. He can score from distance or from the box and can play solid defense in his own half. While his physical attributes may be on the decline, he makes up for it with his smart play and experience. In order for Chelsea to challenge the Manchester clubs for the Premier League title, Lampard will have to control the midfield and Chelsea will need to add another scoring threat up top.
6. Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero has shown that he is an elite striker and a force to be reckoned with. Although Aguero did not put up the same numbers from Manchester City’s title season, he still added 12 goals in only 22 games started and made his presence felt in almost every game. He has a low center of gravity which makes him a strong powerful striker that gives taller defenders trouble. The Argentine has been linked to Real Madrid as they try to replace some departing players. Aguero would be a nice addition for any team, but Manchester City won’t make it easy for Aguero to leave. With Dzeko already linked with a move away, Aguero is a must keep if the club wants an imposing attacker up fronnt. While many things have changed for a lot of top clubs this season, Aguero’s form has remained consistent and he solidified his spot in the top ten.
5. Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure is half man and half beast. The 6′ 3” midfielder has both the strength and technical abilities to take over a match. His array of talents is what makes him a special player for both Manchester City and Ivory Coast. Even though he may not be a top goal scorer, he has a knack for scoring big-time goals when City is down. He tallied 7 goals and 5 assists in the Premier League this season and guided Manchester City to a second place finish behind their across town rivals, Manchester United. Toure is what connects the offense to the defense and can be used in what ever position in the midfield that the team needs. He may be 30 years old now, but Toure shows no sign of slowing down and should be in top form for a couple more years.
4. Juan Mata
Juan Mata has entered into his prime. At the age of 25, Mata is now reaching his full potential shown by his form for Chelsea as well as Spain. He can both score and distribute, scoring 12 goals and adding 12 assist in league play this season. He excellent vision allows him to find Chelsea’s other offensive weapons in the attacking third. He is pairing up nicely with Oscar in the midfield and the young pair could become a legendary duo for Chelsea. If Chelsea were able to acquire a more consistent striker than Torres, it would alleviate the pressure Mata is facing. Chelsea plays without a doubt its best when Mata is on the pitch. Despite the fact that Chelsea finished third in the Premier League this season and qualified for the Champions League, they have loftier goals in mind and if they want to accomplish these goals, Mata will be the key player to lead them. If Mata can score a few more goals he could move up this list even more in the years to come.
3. Robin Van Persie
Robin Van Persie has made a smooth transition from Arsenal to Manchester United. Van Persie has been playing at a world class level for some time now. He led the league in goals this season with 26 and has been at the top end of the scoring charts for some time now. He has taken over Rooney as Manchester United’s go to guy up front and with Rooney’s exit likely, Van Persie will become the face of the franchise. The Dutch forward would start on just about any team in the world and has made quite a name for himself in recent years. He can score from anywhere on the field and in any way. He is so unpredictable which is what makes him so good and he rarely misses goal scoring opportunities. He shows no signs of slowing down his production and with Suarez requesting to leave Liverpool, may win the scoring title again next season.
2. Gareth Bale
Many may argue that Gareth Bale should receive the top spot in this ranking. There is no doubt that he had a season to remember for Tottenham and won both Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year in the Premier League. The Welsh sensation is the most complete player in the Premier League and is still on 23 years old. With his impressive outburst this season, he has seriously attracted Real Madrid’s interest and since Tottenham did not qualify for Champions League this season, he may be off the Spain’s capital. Bale scored 21 goals in the Premier League which was third overall and many of them were highlight reel goals. The winger has excellent pace on the left side and draws the primary focus from the opposition’s defense. On top of that he can cross the ball in to find his teammates and is a threat when taking free kicks. All signs are pointing for Gareth Bale to become a soccer legend and challenge Messi and Ronaldo for FIFA Player of the Year in the near future.
1. Luis Suarez
Yes he may have biten Ivanovic this season, but Luis Suarez was the best player in the Premier League. If not for his lack of judgment, Suarez could have surpassed Van Persie for the scoring title this season, but ended up with 23 goals which was second overall. He may be booed and hate by many fans but there is no questioning that his football is top-class. He is a ferocious competitor and will do what ever it takes (literally) to put the ball in the back of the net. Every team needs a true goal scorer and he is the best in the business. The signings of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho will make Liverpool’s attack deadly. That is if Suarez stays with the club. After receiving a 10 match ban for biting Ivanovic, Suarez wants to leave in order to not miss the first six games of next season. Real Madrid is interested in signing the Uruguayan but it will be for no less than 50 million euros which is a hefty price for any club. The Premier League has some of the best players in the world, but in the 2012-13 season Suarez was the best.