There is a debate that goes on in offices, playgrounds, pubs and on building sites every single day that is never solved. This discussion will usually have a certain amount of bias depending on the parties involved. Trying to decide who is the best player at any one club is hard enough but settling upon the best in the English Premier League is an even tougher conversation. There are many great players and fans of the big clubs will all have valid arguments as to why their star man should be hailed as the king of the league. Let me wade right into the middle of that debate!
All 20 clubs in the Premier League have their good players. Sunderland have Defoe, Swansea have Sigurdsson and Burnley have Heaton but it would be a brave man who suggests that any of those players are the best in the division. So what does someone have to possess to be celebrated as the best? Well that is an easy one, they need to be, simply put, better than all the rest. That means more talent, more consistency and even a sense that they are irreplaceable for their current club. I believe that proving yourself as a top player in other countries or at international tournaments should also weigh heavily in this debate.
In my eyes there are a number of top drawer players in the Premier League but for the purposes of this feature I am only going to focus on those that I consider to be the top three. Alexis Sanchez, Eden Hazard and Sergio Aguero would sit right at the top of my list when naming the players in this country that I felt were the most gifted but that is not to say that others don't deserve a mention. In De Gea, Courtois and Lloris our clubs are blessed with perhaps three of the best four goalkeepers in the world and that is one thing that we can be proud of. We might not have Ronaldo or Messi but when it comes to keepers, England is the place to be (hurrah!).
The likes of De Bruyne, Eriksen, Coutinho, Pogba and Ozil are all exceptional talents and most clubs in the world would take any of them in a heartbeat. Personally I don't believe that any of those five are as good as the top three I mentioned previously. Yes they have tremendous quality and can light up a football match in a matter of seconds but if I was an Arsenal fan (I am not by the way) and I had to pick between Sanchez and Ozil, I would drive Ozil to the airport myself. Rival fans may not like to admit it but Sanchez is better than Eriksen and Aguero is better than Ibrahimovic.
So what makes Sanchez so good? I believe he makes Arsenal a better team and without him, they would be significantly worse off. I have had the fortune/misfortune (delete as appropriate) of watching Arsenal both at the Emirates and on TV and Sanchez is that one player that the fans look to. Whenever he receives the ball he drives the team forward and there is an expectation that something is going to happen. For a player with so much flair he also covers so much ground as he is a tireless worker for the team who will never give up. Whereas Ozil can be accused of being a little lazy and can sometimes go missing from games, Sanchez is a constant threat and he isn't happy unless the game is won.
Sanchez won league titles in Chile and Argentina before joining Udinese and later Barcelona where he won La Liga and the FIFA World Club Cup amongst other things. In 2013/14 he scored 19 league goals for Barcelona (more than Neymar and Fabregas combined) and was second only to Messi. In England, although he has only won the FA Cup and Community Shield, he does score a goal every two games in the Premier League and is not far off a similar record in the UEFA Champions League for the Gunners. Sanchez has a winning mentality and that is what Arsenal need more of if they are to ever win the league. If he were to leave the club I am not sure who could replace him and fit so well into both the team and their style of play. My fear for Arsenal is keeping hold of a player who has never spent more than three seasons at any one club.
Eden Hazard is of a similar ilk to Sanchez and although I personally believe Sanchez is the superior player, I will gladly present a case for Hazard. At just 25 years old he is younger than Sanchez and arguably has not reached his prime just yet. He has only played for two clubs, Lille and Chelsea and has won the league with both teams. This is not too surprising with Chelsea but Lille had not won Ligue 1 for 57 years before they did in 2010/11 and they haven't won it since. He has also won the Europa League whereas Sanchez is yet to win a major European trophy. He has improved greatly for Belgium over the last two years also and with his best years still to come, he certainly could win a World Cup or European Championship in the future.
With a goalscoring record in the Premier League slightly worse than a goal every three games he is not the most prolific player in the world. Having said that he does have exceptional skill, is usually good for an assist or two and when he is on form, Chelsea look incredibly dangerous. The drawback of Hazard is however, form. In 2015/16 he completely went missing in a lacklustre season for Chelsea where he scored just four league goals in 31 games and didn't score at all in European competition. Fans can argue that something was wrong whether it was Mourinho or the Carneiro situation but a truly great player would not go off the boil as severely as Hazard did last season. If he has a disagreement with Conte in the future or something else doesn't go his way can we expect him to go missing again? The fact is that the 2015/16 season will go down as a shocking year for the rest of his career. It has also cost him European football this time around.
Finally we look at Aguero. Comparing goals statistics is perhaps a little harsh on the previous two players as Aguero is a striker and so you would expect him to score more goals. Those expectations are well founded too as the little Argentine has scored 112 goals in 162 league games for Manchester City. He has also been prolific in Europe despite his club being rather disappointing in recent years. Aguero is 28 years old now and his goal tally has reached double figures in league competition for ten seasons in a row. He is a dead cert to be right near the top of the goalscoring records every single season.
Is Aguero irreplaceable for City? That is a tough question. When he misses games through injury or suspension they still manage to win even if it is a little less convincing sometimes. It is obvious that he is a perfect fit for City as the likes of Silva and De Bruyne can easily carve a defence open and Aguero is often clinical. I certainly believe that if City were to lose Aguero for a full season then their title hopes would disappear too. The fact that they have pretty much left themselves without a plan B after allowing Bony to exit for the season shows just how much faith they have in him and also just how comfortable he is with that expectation. Even Chelsea signed Batshuayi just incase Costa wasn't firing on all cylinders.
The best player in the Premier League has to be Alexis Sanchez followed by Sergio Aguero in a close second. I believe that both of their clubs would suffer greatly should either of them be tempted with a move away and although Chelsea would struggle without Hazard, I feel that Willian and Pedro would be adequate stand-ins and they could still win the league without him. I may not have convinced you and if you are a Chelsea or Manchester City fan then I am sure I haven't but that's the great thing about football, the debate never tires and there are always new angles or new statistics that can change a persons outlook. Sanchez has it all, he scores goals, he assists, he has been a success in other leagues, he plays well for Chile and no one can accuse him of being lazy or a luxury player. Whether you love or hate Arsenal, I am sure you would welcome Sanchez to your club and with his tendency to move clubs, you just might get him.
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