These are the top-5 midfielders in the English Premier Leaguefor 2013/14 season (as of 05/01/2014). The ratings are accumulated by the Player Performance Index (PPI) powered by EA Sports – the official player-rating system of the Barclays Premier League.
5) Samir Nasri (Manchester City) PPI Rating: 348 points
In June 2008, Samir Nasri left his hometown-club Olympique de Marseille, which he joined at the age of 9, to complete a $12 million transfer to Arsenal. Nasri enjoyed an impressive first season with the Gunners which began with a goal on his Premier League debut against West Bromwich Albion. After missing the call to France’s disastrous World Cup in South Africa, Nasri enjoyed an excellent 2010/11 season with Arsenal scoring 10 goals from 30 league appearances and also winning the ‘French Player of the Year’ award in 2010. The following season, big-spending Manchester City offered lucrative wages for the services of the creative French midfielder and eventually completed the £25 million transfer in August 2011. Since moving to the Blues of Manchester, Nasri has suffered a lack of consistency with his performances for the past two seasons. Off late however, he has been in a rich vein of form and seems to be revelling under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.
4) Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) PPI Rating: 364 points
If ever any player symbolised the club he played for, it must be Steven Gerrard. Nicknamed ‘Captain Fantastic’ for his remarkable leadership qualities and numerous match-winning goals, Gerrard has been voted the second-greatest Liverpool player of all-time, behind ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish. Besides all the club and individual honours, Gerrard is the only player ever to have scored in the a League Cup Final, a FA Cup Final, an UEFA Cup Final and a Champions League Final – a true testament to his aura as a big-game player. A Premier League title still eludes Gerrard, though he could have won them by now had he not twice declined the approaches from Chelsea during Jose Mourinho’s first spell as its manager. However, Liverpool has re-emerged as Premiership title-contenders this season, largely because of the spectacular goals from Luis Suarez. But Steven Gerrard’s recent absence in the consecutive away-losses to Manchester City and Chelsea due to injury has again highlighted that he is still Liverpool’s talisman even though Gerrard, at 32, is now well past his prime.
3) Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) PPI Rating: 427 points
After the 2010 World Cup in South Africa where Germany finished runners-up to Spain, Mesut Ozil, one of star-performers of the tournament, was snapped up by Real Madrid for £12 million from Werder Bremen. With Real Madrid, Ozil had finished each of his three seasons as Europe’s leading assist-man, establishing his niche amongst the game’s elite attacking playmakers. Therefore it was extremely surprising that ‘los Blancos’ were willing to let the German international leave the Santiago Bernebeau during the summer in order to generate the funds to bring in another world-class player in Gareth Bale. But Real’s loss, if any, has been Arsenal’s gain. Arsene Wenger had always been an admirer of Mesut Ozil and he no qualms about smashing the club’s record-transfer, paying £42.5 million to bring in the talented midfielder on deadline-day, which also made Ozil the most-expensive German footballer of all time. Yet in spite of the hefty transfer-fee, Ozil has undoubtedly been the signing of the season in England. He has effortlessly adapted to the demands of the Premier League and his stellar performances have galvanised Arsenal to become strong contenders for the league title once more.
2) Yaya Toure (Manchester City) PPI Rating: 458 points
Yaya Toure first gained prominence throughout Europe with his stellar performances as a defensive-midfielder for FC Barcelona. In the 2008/09 season, Barcelona romped away to ‘The Treble’ under rookie-manager Pep Guardiola. But for most of that campaign Toure played second-fiddle to Sergio Busquets or played out of position at centre-back, like he did in the 2009 Champions League final. In the summer of 2010, Toure completed a £24 million move to England to join Manchester City, then captained by his elder brother Kolo Toure. At Manchester City, Yaya Toure soon revealed his prowess as a dynamic attacking midfielder to become one of the complete players of his generation. This season he has added a devastating new weapon to his remarkable artillery – a powerful curling free-kick from which he has already netted more than five goals. It has added another dimension to his phenomenal abilities and helped him reach double-figures in terms of goals in a season for the first time in his career.
1) Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) PPI Rating: 495 points
After spending eight formative years at Cardiff City, Aaron Ramsey made the big leap to join Arsenal for a £5 million transfer in the summer of 2008. Since joining the north-London club, Ramsey has endured a stop-start career with the Gunners. In February 2010, a lunging tackle from Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross left Ramsey nursing a double-fracture on lower right-leg and kept him out of action for over six months. Subsequent loan spells with Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City allowed Ramsey to gather the fitness to return to Arsenal in 2011, but the young Welsh midfielder failed to hit the heights that were expected of him in the next two seasons. Therefore, based on Ramsey’s performances and statistics this term, it has to be considered the major breakthrough season of his career. He has already struck 8 goals for Arsenal in the Premier League, more than doubling his previous tally for the club and has also netted 5 times in 7 Champions’ League games to ensure Arsenal progressed through to the last-16 from the ‘group of death’ which also featured Borussia Dortmund and Napoli.
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