Whether Premier League fans like to admit it or not, every team has a standout player.
The beautiful game might be a team sport, but it seems as though every successful side has that one player that stands out above the rest.
You only need to look at what Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been achieving over the last decade: standing out as superstars despite playing with world-class teammates.
But that isn’t to say there wouldn’t be an element of controversy if supporters were to name each club’s most valuable player (MVP) because, well, it’s subjective at the end of the day.
However, that hasn’t stopped the CIES Football Observatory from trying to use statistics to answer the question and they’ve called upon exclusive data from leading sports company OptaPro.
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Premier League clubs’ MVPs
The results centre around six specific areas: rigour, recovery, distribution, take-ons, chance creation and shooting.
Although they studied every club from Europe’s top five leagues, we’ve decided to look through the statistical MVP for all 20 Premier League clubs. Check out the full results down below:
Arsenal: Nicolas Pepe
Ermmmm. Pepe has scored just two Premier League goals this season, one of which was a penalty, so we’re not entirely sure why Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn’t been given the nod here.
Aston Villa: Jack Grealish
This is more like it. Just imagine how good Villa would be if everybody played like Grealish and it seems clear that the midfielder will remain in the Premier League even if the Villans are relegated.
Bournemouth: Nathan Ake
A top defender in a mid-table team. There’s a reason why Chelsea have been linked with a mega-money move for the Dutchman in 2020 and, in truth, they never should have sold him to start with.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Pascal Gross
Just one goal and two assists makes you wonder whether Gross is truly Graham Potter’s top performer, but clearly his defensive attributes have tipped the balance in his favour.
Burnley: Dwight McNeil
Ashley Barnes might feel aggrieved that he hasn’t been named MVP after an early-season goal rush, but there can be no denying that McNeil is one of the most exciting players at Turf Moor.
Who could have seen this coming after last season? Jorginho has looked like a man reborn under Frank Lampard and his all-around attributes will have edged out players like Tammy Abraham.
Crystal Palace: Martin Kelly
Come along. We don’t care if you think Kelly is playing the season of his life, there can be no denying that Wilfried Zaha is the true MVP at Selhurst Park.
Everton fans must have thought Christmas came early when Richarlison signed a new contract in amongst their dire form, because the Brazilian often looks a class above his teammates.
Leicester City: Jamie Vardy
Claiming MVP status in a team featuring class displays from the likes of James Maddison and Caglar Soyuncu is no small feat, but this is the Premier League’s top scorer we’re talking about.
Liverpool: Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk is the world’s best defender right now and justly challenged Lionel Messi for the Ballon d’Or, even if you could argue that Alisson Becker or Sadio Mane are more important to the Reds.
Manchester City: Kevin de Bruyne
The frontrunner for the PFA Player of the Year award is the magician behind one of the Premier League’s greatest ever teams. Just look at his display at Arsenal on Sunday night for evidence.
Manchester United: Marcus Rashford
With 13 goals by the start of December, Rashford only needs one strike to produce his most prolific season as a professional and United would be much further down the table without his finishing.
Newcastle United: Allan Saint-Maximin
One goal and zero assists might not sound like MVP material, but anybody who’s watched Newcastle play this season knows the creative impact that Saint-Maximin has exercised.
Norwich City: Teemu Pukki
If it wasn’t for Pukki’s goals this season – nine of them in 16 outings no less – Norwich fans might as well have started planning for life in the Championship again.
Sheffield United: John Fleck
The Blades are enjoying a fantastic season, so numerous players were in contention – most notably Fantasy Football hero John Lundstram – but Fleck has been fantastic through the middle.
Southampton: Danny Ings
Another player who is amassing an enviable goal tally despite their team’s struggles, Ings recently went on a run of seven strikes in nine games, including five on the bounce.
Tottenham Hotspur: Heung-min Son
There can be no contesting Son’s importance to Tottenham, but Harry Kane can feel pretty hard done by here in the midst of one of his most prolific seasons with 15 goals in 19 games.
Watford: Gerard Deulofeu
Two goals and two assists practically makes Deulofeu look like Messi in this struggling Watford side.
West Ham United: Andriy Yarmolenko
Like Watford, there’s been a shortage of individual stars at West Ham this season. Yarmolenko has admittedly been one of the bright sparks, but Michail Antonio seems to have a stronger claim.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Raul Jimenez
Wolves have one of the most even spreads of quality in the Premier League, so it’s credit to Jimenez that he’s been able to bag MVP status with an impressive record of 15 goals.
GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says
Let these results serve as proof that statistics aren’t always the be all and end all, even if I’m inclined to say that data got more players right than wrong.
Despite statistics traditionally favouring attacking players, it’s nice to see that players like Van Dijk and Ake have been rewarded for their efforts defensively.
And credit has still been given to forwards where it’s due with the likes of Rashford, Ings and Pukki being correctly acknowledged.
However, you can never trust numbers and averages to get it right every time… your guess as to why Pepe is Arsenal’s MVP is as good as mine.
I’m well aware that Arsenal have been dire this season, but scoring one special goal against West Ham doesn’t make you the most valuable piece of the Gunners’ puzzle. He isn’t the missing one, either.