Every EPL Club’s Most Valuable Player in 2020

By Ben Morris in English Premier League
| May 13, 2020 5:55 am PST
Premier League MVPs

The Premier League is packed with countless stars, and the majority of clubs in England’s top flight boast multiple world-class players. This makes the task of choosing an MVP for each team extremely difficult. But in this post, that is exactly what I’m going to do.

These players may not be the most talented or expensive members of their respective teams. But in my opinion, they are the most valuable to their clubs.

So, without further ado, let’s check out every Premier League club’s most valuable player.

Arsenal – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

If somebody told you that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored more Premier League goals for Arsenal since the start of the 2015/16 season than any other player, you probably wouldn’t be too surprised, right?

After all, Aubameyang is one of the most prolific goalscorers of his generation, so you would expect him to be the Gunners’ leading marksman.

But when you consider that the former Borussia Dortmund forward only joined Arsenal in January 2018, the aforementioned statistic is an outstanding achievement.

Simply put, Arsenal would be screwed without Aubameyang’s goals.

Aston Villa – Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish has been on a mission to prove himself in the Premier League this season, and before the campaign was put on hold, it was very much a case of “mission accomplished.”

The 24-year-old has almost singlehandedly kept Aston Villa afloat in 2019/20, scoring more goals, notching up more assists, and creating more chances than any of his teammates.

Grealish effortlessly glides around the pitch and draws opponents towards him, so it’s no wonder that he is also the most fouled player in England’s top flight this term.

Whatever happens to Villa at the end of the season, Grealish will almost certainly be playing for one of the country’s elite clubs next year.

Bournemouth – Nathan Ake

Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson has been a revelation for Bournemouth this season, while young goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is a star in the making. However, few would argue that Nathan Ake is the Cherries’ most important player.

The Chelsea academy graduate never quite made the grade at Stamford Bridge. But since leaving London for the south coast, Ake has established himself as one of the best center-backs in the division.

He has become an integral part of Eddie Howe’s side, and Bournemouth would undoubtedly be worse off with him.

Brighton & Hove Albion – Lewis Dunk

It’s fair to say that Brighton has endured an indifferent 2019/20 season. Graham Potter’s team has shown glimpses of real promise but has failed to string together enough positive results to steer clear of the relegation zone.

Still, while many Brighton players have struggled for consistency this term, Lewis Dunk has remained the team’s standout performer throughout the campaign.

In fact, the towering central defender has been a rock in the Seagull’s backline for the best part of a decade, and he can probably count himself unlucky not to be playing for a bigger club.

Burnley – James Tarkowski

James Tarkowski’s importance to Burnley is underlined by the fact that he hasn’t missed a single minute of Premier League action since December 2018.

The 27-year-old defender has made the most headed clearances in England’s top tier this season, while he also ranks second on the overall clearances leaderboard. His no-nonsense approach typifies Sean Dyche’s side.

Tarkowski’s center-back partner Ben Mee also deserves a mention, while forwards Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes are hugely influential at the other end of the pitch for the Clarets.

But without Tarkowski, Burnley just wouldn’t be the same.

Chelsea – Mateo Kovacic

This selection may surprise a few people, but hear me out.

Chelsea’s recent transfer ban has left manager Frank Lampard with little option but to experiment with his squad. Young stars such as Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, and Reece James have all profited from the situation. But Mateo Kovacic has arguably outshone his teammates.

The gifted Croatian provides a vital link between defense and attack for the Blues, picking up the ball in deep areas and carrying it forward into dangerous positions in the final third.

Only Mount has made more appearances for Chelsea this term, and with very few world-class stars at the club, Kovacic has become a key figure in Lampard’s setup.

Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha

You’ll struggle to find a player who means more to a Premier League club than Wilfried Zaha means to Crystal Palace. While I had a tough time singling out just one standout player for some clubs, this was probably the easiest decision of the lot.

The skillful winger is Palace’s golden boy. He ranks first for attempted dribbles in the EPL this term, but this is nothing new. He’s been humiliating the division’s best defenders for years with his mesmerizing tricks and blistering pace.

It feels like Zaha carries the team on his own at times, so he fully deserves to be regarded as the Eagles’ MVP.

Everton – Richarlison

Don’t get me wrong, Dominic Calvert-Lewin has enjoyed an excellent breakthrough campaign. But in my eyes, Richarlison is Everton’s most important player.

Not only is the Brazilian a serious goal threat, but he’s also more than happy to do the dirty work for his team. He’s made the most tackles of all forwards in the Premier League this season, and his relentless work rate means that he is adored by the Goodison Park faithful.

During the January transfer window, Richarlison was the subject of an £85m bid from Barcelona. Everton could’ve easily accepted the offer and taken the money, but the club chose to hold onto their prized asset.

It’s not very often that a club of Everton’s size is able to turn down such a hefty sum from a club like Barcelona. But by rejecting the bid, the Toffees emphasized just how invaluable Richarlison is.

Leicester City – Wilfred Ndidi

Jamie Vardy’s goals. Caglar Soyuncu’s heroic defending. Ricardo Pereira’s surging runs. All of these components are greatly important to Brendan Rodgers’ well-oiled machine. But without Wilfred Ndidi, the team cannot fully function.

Since Ndidi arrived at the King Power Stadium in January 2017, Leicester has won 45% of their games when the midfielder has been playing. By contrast, the Foxes have only managed to win 29% of their games when Ndidi has been injured or absent.

In other words, Leicester is far weaker when Ndidi is on the sidelines.

Across Europe’s top five leagues, only three players have made more tackles than the Nigerian enforcer in 2019/20. He covers almost every blade of grass whenever he plays, and his tireless energy makes him Leicester’s MVP.

Liverpool – Virgil van Dijk

Realistically, I could’ve picked any number of Liverpool players. All of the Reds’ front three can be unplayable at times. Jordan Henderson has been nothing short of immense this term, while Alisson is a pillar of strength between the sticks.

However, Virgil van Dijk’s influence on the team is simply unrivaled.

Widely regarded as the best center-back in world soccer, van Dijk has started each of Liverpool’s previous 80 Premier League games and has helped Jurgen Klopp’s side to claim countless clean sheets along the way.

I can’t think of another defender who makes his job look so easy, and van Dijk’s composure — both in possession and off the ball — means he is virtually irreplaceable.

Manchester City – Kevin de Bruyne

Talking of making things look easy, Kevin de Bruyne’s outrageous assist record is almost enough to secure him Manchester City’s MVP tag on its own.

The supremely talented Belgian has racked up a staggering 20 assists in 35 appearances this season, so it’s hardly surprising that he also ranks first for chances created in the EPL.

Man City has been miles off the pace in the 2019/20 title race, but the 28-year-old has continued to operate at the very top of his game. Indeed, he has been on a different planet to the majority of his teammates.

Manchester United – Marcus Rashford

I’m aware that this could be viewed as a controversial pick, especially considering that Marcus Rashford has missed a large portion of the current campaign due to injury. But before he was sidelined, Rashford was on fire.

With 19 goals and five assists in all competitions, the England forward was enjoying the most productive season of his career to date. His pace was unstoppable, and his finishing had vastly improved.

Harry Maguire arrived from Leicester last summer and has been solid at the back, while Bruno Fernandes has made an instant impact at Old Trafford following his January switch from Sporting.

Fernandes definitely has the potential to become Manchester United’s top performer. But for now, I believe Rashford is the Red Devils’ star man.

Newcastle United – Martin Dubravka

Newcastle United’s turbulent 2019/20 season has seen the club linger just outside the relegation zone for much of the campaign. But if it wasn’t for the continued heroics of their goalkeeper, Newcastle would surely be in a far worse position.

Martin Dubravka has made the most saves of any Premier League shot-stopper this term, while only four goalkeepers have kept more clean sheets. Furthermore, Dubravka has made the most saves from shots inside the six-yard box than any other goalkeeper in Europe’s top five leagues.

The Magpies are the joint-lowest scorers in the EPL this season, so Dubravka deserves every ounce of praise that comes his way for keeping his side clear of the bottom three.

Norwich City – Teemu Pukki

Teemu Pukki took to the Premier League like a duck to water at the beginning of the campaign, netting six goals in his first five top-flight appearances.

Admittedly, he failed to live up to his early-season record across the subsequent 23 games. But there is no denying that Pukki is Norwich City’s most influential figure.

The lethal Fin registered an astonishing 30 goals and 10 assists during the Canaries’ promotion campaign last term, and he is the only EPL player to have been directly involved in over half of his team’s goals this time around.

Young prospects like Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons have shone at Vicarage Road recently, but Pukki is indispensable to Norwich.

Sheffield United – Dean Henderson

I don’t imagine that Chris Wilder is the kind of man who likes to heap praise on individual players. The Sheffield United boss is an old-school manager, so his side is built on teamwork and togetherness.

Following promotion from the Championship last year, the Blades have taken the Premier League by storm. Sheff Utd has one of the meanest defenses in England’s top tier, and this is largely down to Dean Henderson.

The on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper is currently enjoying his second season at Bramall Lane, and he has quickly established himself as one of the country’s hottest young talents.

In fairness, every member of Sheff Utd’s backline has been colossal throughout 2019/20. But Henderson is a cut above the rest.

Southampton – Danny Ings

Where would Southampton be without Danny Ings? Well, they’d be joint-bottom of the Premier League with Norwich, and that’s a fact.

Ings’ 15 strikes account for 43% of Saints’ overall EPL tally this season, and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side would be 13 points worse off without his efforts. To say that Ings’ goals have been vital for Southampton would be a massive understatement.

The former England striker netted 13 goals in a 16-game hot streak from September to January, transforming himself from Liverpool flop to Southampton hero in a matter of months.

Tottenham Hotspur – Harry Kane

Harry Kane joined Tottenham Hotspur’s youth academy all the way back in 2004. Almost 300 first-team appearances later, he finds himself third in the club’s all-time goalscoring charts.

Now 26, Kane is already a Spurs legend. He claimed back-to-back EPL Golden Boot awards in 2015/16 and 2016/17, scoring 54 goals in 68 league outings across the two campaigns. He has also finished as the club’s top scorer in each of the past five seasons.

Strangely, Kane’s importance to Tottenham is perhaps most evident when he isn’t on the pitch. The club captain has been unfortunate with injuries in recent years, and the team always struggles for goals when he is sidelined.

Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura deputized admirably in his absence, but Kane’s goals cannot be replaced.

Watford – Abdoulaye Doucoure

I toyed with the idea of handing Watford’s MVP title to Troy Deeney. Of course, the loyal forward is an icon at Vicarage Road. But there is another player who is arguably more prominent for Watford.

Yes, Deeney’s goals have saved Watford on numerous occasions over the years. But Abdoulaye Doucoure’s general impact on the team is unparalleled.

With well over a century of Premier League appearances under his belt, the Frenchman is now a complete midfielder. He has played a starring role for the Hornets ever since he arrived in England in 2016, operating both in a deeper role and further forward.

Doucoure’s rampaging runs are essential to the way Watford operates, and the team would be spineless without him.

West Ham United – Declan Rice

Declan Rice has played every minute of every Premier League game so far this season, and for someone who is still just 21, that speaks volumes about his ability.

Alongside club legend Mark Noble, Rice has established himself as a key figure in the heart of West Ham’s midfield. His work rate is second to none, his ball-winning abilities are fierce, and his passing range is vast.

The Hammers have endured a below-par 2019/20 campaign as a team, but Rice’s individual efforts deserve recognition. He has been West Ham’s best player by some distance.

Wolverhampton Wanderers – Raul Jimenez

Wolves have had so many standout performers in recent years. Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves have both been sublime in midfield, while the emergence of winger Adama Traore has been a joy to watch.

However, Raul Jimenez’s input over the past two seasons cannot be ignored.

The Mexican had experienced humdrum spells with Atletico Madrid and Benfica before joining Wolves. But he adapted to the Premier League seamlessly and has since become one of the division’s most deadly forwards.

He has consistently found the back of the net for Wolves, and without him, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side would be nowhere near as dangerous.

Final Thoughts

I’m sure you’ll agree that choosing just one standout player from each Premier League club is a tough task. After all, there are so many elite players in the EPL!

I’m interested to hear who you think deserves a spot on the list of Premier League MVPs. Sergio Aguero, Jamie Vardy, Sadio Mane? Why not discuss your views in the comments section below?

Also, for more content like this, head over to our soccer blog.

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