As far as star players are concerned in the Premier League this season it’s hard to look beyond the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy. The duo have inspired Leicester to a frankly remarkable start to the campaign, subsequently ranking as the top two players according to WhoScored.com ratings, with scores of 8.17 and 7.85 respectively.
While the Foxes, whose key men have had a direct hand in 21 of Leicester’s 25 league goals between one another this season, have been able to count on more than one man to lead the way that is not a luxury that has been afforded to every Premier League manager.
Here WhoScored.com look at the players whose rating has the greatest difference from the second best performer for their side to see which teams have relied upon one particular player more than most.
5) Virgil van Dijk (Southampton) – 7.80 rating
Settling into life on the south coast having made the switch from north of the border with Celtic this summer, Virgil van Dijk has adapted to the rigours of the Premier League with impressive ease. The Dutchman has, as expected, proven to be a real asset in the air at both ends, winning at least one more aerial duel per game (5.8) than any other defender in the top-flight and scoring twice for Saints already.
He unsurprisingly leads the way for Southampton in terms of clearances per game as a result – with 7.9 some way clear of defensive partner Fonte (5.5) – but he has also excelled in terms of his anticipation. Only Victor Wanyama has made more interceptions per game for Ronald Koeman’s side (3), with Van Dijk earning the fifth highest WhoScored.com rating in the league (7.80); a full 0.35 ahead of his closest Saints team-mate Cedric.
4) Dimitri Payet (West Ham) – 7.68 rating
With a rating of 7.68 from WhoScored.com enough to rank 6th in the Premier League just behind Van Dijk, Payet has also made an instant impact in his new surroundings. The news, then, that the Frenchman will miss out for up to three months with an ankle injury has come as a hammer blow. He leads the way for Slaven Bilic’s side in terms of both goals (5) and assists (3) in the league and while Manuel Lanzini has also been a real hit there is little doubt as to the creator in chief for West Ham.
Only Mesut Ozil has laid on more chances for team-mates than Payet in the Premier League (47), while only Dusan Tadic has delivered more accurate crosses (27). Moreover the former Marseille man has completed more dribbles than any teammate – with a tally of 28 enough to rank ninth in the league – and West Ham will really miss their primary playmaker, with closest rival in the ratings Lanzini (7.32) likely to be left to pick up the pieces in his absence.
3) Robbie Brady (Norwich) – 7.39 rating
Norwich’s highest rated player by a factor of 0.43 from WhoScored.com, Robbie Brady has fit seamlessly into Alex Neil’s side, be that that at left-back or on the wing. One of only three players to pick up the WhoScored man of the match award for his new club, the Irishman has done so three times this season, which is a tally only Riyad Mahrez (5) can better.
More renowned for his attacking threat, Brady has won 44 tackles this season, which is enough to rank fourth in the league and a tally almost twice that of any team-mate (Alexander Tettey – 23). Elsewhere he also leads the way for Norwich with 18 successful dribbles and ranks second only to Nathan Redmond for both key passes (23) and shots (20), despite 9 of his 12 league appearances for the club to date coming from full-back.
2) Yann M’Vila (Sunderland) – 7.44 rating
The fourth and final summer signing here – proving just how many new recruits have settled into their new digs so quickly this season – Yann M’Vila has been a cut above his Sunderland counterparts this season. Many were shocked when the Frenchman, whose attitude has seemingly stunted what looked likely to be an extremely promising career, made the switch to Wearside and the midfielder has certainly stood apart from his team-mates.
M’Vila may have committed the needless foul to give away a penalty at the weekend but he was one of very few players to come out of the game with any credit for the hosts. Indeed, there is a lot to be said for a player so willing to get on the ball in a team that have been so poor with it this season. The 25-year old has attempted 552 passes this season, which is a full 150 more than any teammate. The fact that Costel Pantilimon is his closest rival speaks volumes of the task at hand for Sam Allardyce. M’Vila leads the way elsewhere in terms of key passes (19) and interceptions (33) to ensure that his rating is at least 0.46 greater than any other Black Cats player.
1) David Silva (Manchester City) – 8.04 rating
Something of a surprise inclusion at the top of this leaderboard, the absence of David Silva has been felt on more than the odd occasion for City this season despite the fact that they top the league on goal difference. Much has been made of Aguero’s unavailability but having scored in just 2 of 8 league appearances this season he, unlike Silva, was not at the top of his game prior to a sensational showing against Newcastle.
The Spaniard, meanwhile, registered 6 assists to accompany 1 goal in just 5 league appearances to start the campaign, averaging 3.4 key passes, 1.8 shots and 1.6 dribbles per game. Only Riyad Mahrez has earned a higher WhoScored rating this season, with Silva’s score of 8.04 a full 0.48 clear of Nicolas Otamendi in second for Manuel Pellegrini’s men. They may have an abundance of stars to fall back on but with City failing to score from open play in each of their last three league matches Silva’s return can’t come soon enough, with the international break arguably coming at just the right time for the league leaders.
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