Marcus Rashford, Kevin De Bruyne and the 21 best Premier League players of the 2022-23 season – ranked
Who has been the Premier League’s star man this term? It’s probably an easy question to answer, in all honesty. Just look at the numbers. But, Erling Haaland aside, there have been plenty of stellar performers this term, as this list will show.
Manchester City dominate, as you would expect, but the likes of Arsenal, Newcastle and Brighton are well represented too, having all enjoyed excellent seasons.
So as the curtain comes down on the Premier League campaign, GOAL counts down the season’s top 21 performers…
Who ever would have thought that Joelinton would feature on a list such as this? For years, the Brazilian was seen almost as a figure of fun, a perfect example of money wasted, another player unable to live up to a big price-tag and big expectations.
Not any more. The 26-year-old has been instrumental in Newcastle’s rise under Eddie Howe, his aggression, energy and work ethic from midfield helping the Magpies secure Champions League qualification for the first time in more than 20 years.
Remarkably, given he was signed as a striker, this has been his best goalscoring campaign at St James’ Park, with eight goals in all competitions from his deeper role ensuring he is a firm fan favourite.
20Nathan Ake (Man City)
It is fair to say that one or two eyebrows were raised when Manchester City spent more than £40 million ($50m) to sign Ake from Bournemouth in 2020, but what a buy he has proven to be.
The Dutchman has been a key player for Pep Guardiola this season, his ability to play at both full-back and centre-back making him ideal for City’s system. His performances have been good enough to see off both Oleksandr Zinchenko and Joao Cancelo, and to make him a regular for the Dutch national team too.
19Sven Botman (Newcastle)
Another Dutch defender, and one who has had a transformative effect on his team’s fortunes. Botman cost Newcastle more than £30m ($37m) when signing from Lille last summer, and what a smart piece of business that has turned out to be.
The towering centre-back has formed an outstanding partnership with Fabian Schar, with Newcastle boasting the second-best defensive record in the Premier League as a result. Still only 23, the former Ajax man looks set to establish himself as one of the world’s best in the coming years.
18Solly March (Brighton)
For all the praise rightly levelled at Brighton for their global recruitment, it is a player signed from non-league Lewes in 2011 who has been one of their most consistent performers this season.
March’s delivery, dribbling and eye for goal has stood out, and the unassuming 28-year-old will surely have caught the eye of Gareth Southgate, scoring seven goals and providing 10 assists from his right-wing station.
17Callum Wilson (Newcastle)
Another Newcastle player, and one who has been the Magpies’ top scorer this season with 18 goals. Wilson performed superbly under Eddie Howe at Bournemouth, and he has certainly delivered on Tyneside.
Whether playing with record signing Alexander Isak or instead of him, the 31-year-old has led the line well, emerging as one of the leaders of Howe’s team in the process. This, in fact, has been his best scoring season since he fired Bournemouth to promotion in 2014-15. This time, his goals have taken his club to the Champions League.
16Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton)
Mitoma was a virtual unknown at the start of the campaign, but has become one of the league’s most exciting, and decisive, players. The Japan international’s speed, skill, balance and goalscoring ability mark him out as yet another potential transfer target for clubs looking to raid Brighton.
The likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben White and Reece James would all attest to the 26-year-old’s talents.
15Granit Xhaka (Arsenal)
When we talk about ‘getting fans back onside’, how can we not talk about Xhaka, whose journey from boo-boy to poster-boy at Arsenal over the past 12 months has been remarkable.
The Switzerland international is one of a number of players who has thrived under Mikel Arteta this season. His partnership with Thomas Partey early in the campaign was key as the Gunners set the pace at the top of the league, and though he and his side would eventually fade in the closing stages, Xhaka can be proud of the way in which he has turned his career around at the Emirates.
The fact his expected departure this summer will be mourned by supporters says it all.
14Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle)
Newcastle may have a lot of money, but they have generally spent it wisely, and nowhere is that more evident than in the case of Guimaraes, who has become arguably the Magpies’ best player since his £40m ($50m) move from Lyon in January 2022.
Silky and steely, the Brazilian has been exceptional in midfield this season, his non-stop industry, clever passes and ability to win the ball back key as Eddie Howe’s side have qualified for the Champions League in style.
13Ivan Toney (Brentford)
Ignore his recent ban for betting-related offences, and just look at the numbers and the performance levels Toney has put up this season. Having scored 12 goals in his first Premier League campaign, the 27-year-old reached 20 in the league this time around, his excellence helping Brentford secure a top-half finish, and earning him a first senior England cap in the process.
It’s just a shame we won’t see him now until 2024. He’s some centre-forward.
12Moises Caicedo (Brighton)
Another gem unearthed by Brighton, Caicedo has been one of the stars of the Seagulls’ exceptional campaign, and looks likely to bag himself a big-money move in the summer.
Still only 21, the midfielder was wanted by both Chelsea and Arsenal in January, but Brighton stood firm. No wonder. Few players possess the blend of technical, physical and tactical skills Caicedo has. His recent stint as a right-back proved that. The lad’s a gem.
11Kieran Trippier (Newcastle)
This is the era of the full-back, and nobody has done it better than Trippier this season. Newcastle’s captain has also been one of their most impressive and reliable performers, his delivery and set-piece prowess matched by his tenacity, calmness and defensive nous.
What a signing he’s been for Eddie Howe. As the likes of Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kyle Walker have had their ups and downs, Trippier has been model of consistency.
10Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton)
What a season this has been for Mac Allister, who has established himself as one of the Premier League’s best midfielders at club level, while becoming a World Cup winner on the international stage with Argentina.
The 24-year-old has contributed 12 goals in all competitions for Brighton, helping make Roberto De Zerbi’s side one of the most exciting and aesthetically-pleasing in Europe. Mac Allister’s performances have caught the eye of Liverpool, who look set to push to sign him this summer. It’s easy to see why.
9Ilkay Gundogan (Man City)
Pep Guardiola’s first signing as Manchester City boss, and he hasn’t made many better. Gundogan’s class and consistency has been a feature for the Premier League champions, and his ability to pop up with big goals helped Guardiola’s men reel in Arsenal at the top of the table.
No wonder City are desperate to keep him amid rumours of a free transfer to Barcelona. Even at 32, Gundogan has few equals in terms of midfield players in the Premier League.
8Marcus Rashford (Man Utd)
What a return to form this has been for Rashford, who looked lost 12 months ago but who has been reborn, with 30 goals in all competitions, comfortably the best return of his career.
The England star has, along with Bruno Fernandes, carried United at times this season. Fitter, stronger, sharper and more clinical in front of goal, the 25-year-old will be playing in the Champions League again next season, and deservedly so.
7Jack Grealish (Man City)
After a mixed first season at Manchester City, Grealish has been outstanding this term, his performances playing a major role in earning Pep Guardiola’s side the league title.
Few players can do what Grealish does, continually taking on defenders, receiving kicks, driving with the ball. What he has added this season, though, is the ability to make the right decision at the right time, either with a final pass or a shot. He has become decisive for City, and could soon find himself a treble winner too.
6Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)
Jurgen Klopp once called Martinelli “the talent of the century”, and at times this season you could understand why. The Brazilian has scored 15 times in the Premier League and racked up five assists, his speed and dribbling ability key in turning Arsenal into unexpected title contenders.
And at 21, the best is very much still to come from Martinelli too.
5Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Tottenham have been pretty miserable for most of this season, but imagine where they’d be without their one genuine superstar. Kane’s consistency really is staggering. With 30 goals in all competitions – the fifth time he has achieved that feat – he has been just about the only reliable thing Spurs have had.
They’ll be lucky to have him for much longer.
4Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
Is this the greatest attacking midfielder of the Premier League era? There’s certainly a case to be made.
De Bruyne is not only one of the most decisive players around, but he’s also one of the most spectacular and exciting. Those whipped crosses, those long-range thunderbolts, those perfect through balls and that relentless consistency; they’ve all been instrumental in keeping Manchester City on top of the Premier League pile, and in the hunt for a historic treble.
3Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
One of Arsenal’s own, and what a special talent he is turning out to be. Saka has reached double figures for both goals and assists in the Premier League this season, proving himself among Europe’s top wide players in the process.
Still only 21, there is so much more to come from the Hale End graduate, whose performances for England at the World Cup served only to underline that fact. He’ll be playing Champions League football next season, and you would expect him to thrive on that stage.
2Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)
A prodigy in his teens, a superstar in his 20s. Odegaard has been Arsenal’s captain and creative hub this season, his performances rarely dipping throughout a brilliant campaign.
With 15 goals and seven assists, the Norwegian has certainly impacted games. But it is his intelligence, his poise, his class on the ball, which marks him out as a truly special talent. The boy has become a man at the Emirates.
1Erling Haaland (Man City)
Could it really have been anyone else? Remember those question marks around whether Haaland could do in England what he had done in Germany and Austria? Remember the fuss after the Community Shield, when he missed a couple of chances against Liverpool? Remember those debates about whether his presence had actually made Manchester City worse as a team?
He hasn’t. Haaland has enriched City and enriched the Premier League. He has broken record after record, surpassed 50 goals in all competitions, terrified defenders, won games single-handedly and won the league title in his first season in England. The FA Cup and Champions League could yet follow.
Some player, some signing. — Goal