Midfielders have once again taken the Premier League by storm with 5 of them being amongst the Player of the Season nominees. So let’s see who are the best Premier League midfielders of 2020-21 season:
Since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, some of the best midfielders ever have played in the competition. the high octane and fast-tempo style of football which is the signature of the Premier League demands powerful midfielders like Patrick Vieira, Frank Lampard and Kevin De Bruyne, all of whom have won the Player of the Season award, to dictate the games. So much so that often the teams that don’t have world-class midfielders fail to challenge for any trophy, even if they have a powerful forward line.
And this season has been even more so than before, with 5 of the 8 Player of the Season nominees being midfielders. These are players ranging from the most defensive midfielders to ball distributers, playmakers or even bona fide goal scorers. so we thought it that it would be a great idea to give recognition to some of these midfield generals and see what made them the
best Premier League midfielders of 2020-21 season
Being the most complete players in football, midfielders are able to both defend and attack, at least to some extent, and as such many of the best Premier League midfielders of this season have played in different positions, ranging from a sweeper to even a winger. So with that in mind, here they are:
We start our list of best EPL midfielders of 2021 with a player that might’ve gone under the radar a bit but his performances at Leeds were impressive nonetheless. The Brazilian Raphinhia didn’t even start the 2020-21 season in the Premier League as he was at Ligue 1 side Rennes, managing to play 6 games before joiningLeeds United
for £17 million in October of 2020. And since then he has figured extensively in Bielsa’s plans at Leeds by playing multiple roles in midfield.
seems just the sort of player that fits Bielsa’s tactics perfectly. The 26-year old possesses great technique and shooting ability as well as having the ability to change the tempo of the game with his long balls or crosses. All in all, a perfect player for a team that wants to keep the ball and create chances in the attacking third. He has been mainly used as a right midfielder in Leeds’ 4-1-4-1 formation and has created 64 chances and made 56 successful dribbles in the 26 starts he’s had this season.
Apart from his impressive creative stats, Raphinha has the end results to show for it as well, having scored 6 goals and provided 9 assists this season. what’s impressive about him is that practically his every stat is near identical to Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, with both players having a similar amount of game time. That comparison alone and the fact that Grealish is a Player of the Season contender should tell you why Raphinha is one of the best Premier League midfielders of 2020-21 season.
Despite Leicester City losing out on qualifying for next year’s Champions League, once again in the final weeks of the season, they were able to go toe to toe with the Big 6 and even win an FA Cup for the first time in their history, all of which were achieved due to the massive influence of players like Wilfred Ndidi. The Nigerian has been one of Leicester's standout players since his arrival from Genk in 2017 but this season, Ndidi showed what he is truly capable of and became one of the best EPL midfielders of 2021.
Although Ndidi’s preferred position is defensive midfielder, he started the season by playing as a center back but after a couple of games he picked up an adductor injury that kept him out for practically the first half of the season, as he missed 15 games. On his return,Ndidi
managed to score his only goal of the season against Chelsea and helpLeicester
keep a clean sheet as they went on top of the League.
Apart from his solitary goal this season, Ndidi has managed 4 assists as well but where he truly shines is in his defensive stats. Wilfred Ndidi has managed 3.7 tackles and 2.3 interceptions per match, being first and second in the league respectively in those stats. with him breaking down attacks and keeping Leicester’s defensive form solid, they managed to stay in the top 4 for the majority of the season and even win a trophy.
Ndidi himself managed to become one of the best Premier League midfielders of 2020-21 season. now the question is that will he remain at Leicester this summer, especially when several big clubs are after him?!
Phil Foden was always headed for big things, ever since his debut for Cityzens back in 2017. The English prodigy was part of a great generation ofManchester City
’s academy players like Jadon Sancho, Kelechi Iheanacho and Brahim Diaz but unlike his former teammates, he decided to try his luck at Manchester City instead of moving to another team to get game time. Since Foden is exactly the type of player that Guardiola favors, he has gotten his chance to play at his boyhood club. his role at City has increasingly gotten bigger to the point that he was one of the
best Premier League midfielders of 2021
City did not start the 2020-21 Premier League season strong at all, due to the fact that Sergio Aguero was mostly injured and his replacement Jesus was underperforming as a striker. they did not hit their best until a little before January 2021 when Guardiola solved City’s problem of not having a decent striker by relying on midfielders likeFoden
and Gundogan to score the goals that were needed. Foden in particular became integral to City’s great form as the 21-year old could play almost any position in midfield or attack with ease.
Manchester City then went on a streak of 19 wins in the league which all but confirmed their league title. they also managed to reach the final of League Cup and Champions League, winning the former against Tottenham and losing the latter against Chelsea.
Nonetheless, Foden’s incredible performances, which saw him score 9 goals and assist 5 times in the league, announced the arrival of a genuine talent who is on his way to be one of the world’s best players. At 21, Foden is already one of the best Premier League midfielders of 2020-21 season and gives England fans much hope for the upcoming Euros.
Another English youngster who is on top of his game right now is Chelsea’sMason Mount
who is also a Player of the Season nominee. Mount didn’t reach the place he is today with ease however, as he had to prove himself at various stages and on several loan spells to finally get into Chelsea’s first team. After having a breakout season last year, under the management of his childhood hero Frank Lampard, Mount was once again one of Chelsea’s top performers this season and his great form, especially in the second half of the season, helped Chelsea get into the top 4 and win their 2nd Champions League title.
Mason Mount is one of those complete midfielders that could play any role in midfield or even up top. Although he favors more attacking roles, Mount has been known to play even deeper roles as a box-to-box midfielder or even a defensive midfielder. The fact that Mount has always been a guaranteed starter for Frank Lampard, Gareth Southgate and now Thomas Tuchel, shows how talented a player he is and the integral role he plays atChelsea
or England’s national team, because of his versatility.
With 6 goals and 5 assists, Mason Mount’s numbers may be lower than some of the
best Premier League midfielders of this season
but without the quality that he adds to Chelsea’s attack, Chelsea would’ve certainly not been competing for a top 4 spot in the league and won their 2nd Champions League title. with 87 chances created, Mount stands a cut above all the rest of Chelsea’s creative players.
Mount has truly been one of the best Premier League midfielders of 2020-21 season and was justly named as both a Player of the Season nominee and a Young Player of the season nominee. His great form gives England fans much hope for the Euro’s as they go into the competition as one of the strong favorites.
Tomas Soucek andWest Ham United
have both been among the biggest surprises of the season, with Soucek possibly being the best Premier League transfer of the season. the lanky Czech midfielder was West Ham’s best player last season as well as being one of the best Premier League midfielders of 2021, as he helped the Hammers challenge for the top four and finish 6th, above Arsenal and Tottenham, and qualify for the Europa League.
At first glance,Tomas Soucek
might be dismissed as just another strongly built defensive midfielder but in truth, he is so much more than that. Soucek who is a contender for the Player of the Season, made his loan deal to West Ham, which started in January of 2020, permanent at the start of the season and celebrated it in style by scoring the first goal of the 2020-21 Premier League season.
The Czech midfielder who is 1.92 m (6 ft 4 in) tall, can play as either a defensive midfielder or a box-to-box midfielder. For a player of his height, Soucek shows a surprising amount of talent when it comes to carrying the ball into attack as well as his all-around play. Rather than restrict his performances as a box-to-box midfielder, Soucek’s height only serves as a bonus, helping him in both defensive and offensive aerial attacks.
Soucek was one of the few players who started every game in the 2020-21 Premier League campaign and the 26-year old managed to become West Ham United’s joint top scorer by scoring 10 goals. he was one of the main reasons West Ham had such a great season and was certainly one of the
best Premier League midfielders of 2020-21 season
. Tomas Soucek was rightfully named as a contender for the Player of the Season award and if West Ham manages to bring in more quality players like him, they could very well see themselves competing for European places for at least a few seasons.
Jack Grealish is undoubtedly the most sought-after English player in the past couple of years. Grealish has been a part of Aston Villa since 2001 and despite heavy interest from bigger clubs in the past, he has stayed loyal to his boyhood club, where he first captained them to secure a Premier League promotion and then helped them survive relegation onVilla
’s first season back to the Premier League. but none of those achievements could even come close to the amazing performancesGrealish
produced this season as one of the best Premier League midfielders of 2021.
A highly technical player and one of the best dribblers in the league, Jack Grealish likes to play on the left flank where he can utilize those skills to create numerous chances for players like Ollie Watkins. Grealish can also play a more central role behind the strikers. He is the 10th best dribbler in the league with 66 successful dribbles and has the third most number of chances created while having significantly less game time due to injuries than Mount and Fernandes who are above him. He is also the most fouled player in the league (110) for the second season in a row.
Aston Villa certainly started the season quite well, defeating the reigning champions Liverpool 7-2, with Grealish scoring twice and assisting three times in that game. but their form definitely suffered when Grealish’s injuries started piling up. Even then, Jack Grealish’s 6 goals and 10 assists along with the great performances from players like Ollie Watkins and El Ghazi, secured an 11th spot finish for Villa, which was a significant improvement over their last season.
Grealish finished the season as one of the best Premier League midfielders of 2020-21 season and was subsequently nominated for the Player of the Season award. Now Aston Villa fans impatiently wait to see if their captain finally leaves the club after the Euro 2020!
At the start of the season, the odds of Ilkay Gundogan being Manchester City’s top goal scorer was perhaps, with the exception of goalkeepers, lower than any other Manchester City player. but the German midfielder surprised us all when he stepped up big time for Manchester City, especially when the club needed him the most, following injuries to both Aguero and De Bruyne. Gundogan was able to not only provide goals and assists but also provide a much-needed leadership for Manchester City and become one of the
best EPL midfielders of 2021
Gundogan started the season on the sidelines due to being tested positive for COVID-19 but after he slowly made his way back to the first team,Gundogan
became instrumental to City’s success midway through the season. he was the focal point of City’s aforementioned streak of 19 wins and picked up two consecutive Player of the Month award for February and March, becoming the first ever City player to do so.
With the lack of dedicated goal scorers in Manchester City’s squad, Guardiola relied on his team’s strength which was its various world-class midfielders, such as Gundogan, Foden or De Bruyne. When all these creative and technically gifted players bombarded the opposition’s box with chances, Gundogan, who likes to arrive late at the box, started scoring more and more, which altered the course of what was to be a severely disappointing season to one of City’s best ever in recent history.
With 13 goals and 1 assist, Gundogan has become Manchester City’s top goalscorer this season. although the likelihood of him picking up the Player of the Season award is low as that award will probably go to Harry Kane, it is undeniable that Gundogan may be the player that decided the Premier League title for the Cityzens. Germany fans will rejoice as they have one of the best Premier League midfielders of 2020-21 season in their squad for the upcoming 2020 Euros.
What could be said aboutKevin De Bruyne
’s abilities that haven’t been said before. The Belgian playmaker has been consistently amongst the world's best players since he joined Manchester City in 2015. Last year, De Bruyne hit the best form of his career winning the Player of the Season award but this season, De Bruyne’s form suffered a bit as he picked up a few serious injuries and even then, the 29-year old was impressive enough to be one of the best Premier League midfielders of this season as well as being nominated for the Player of the Season award.
The 2019-20 season saw De Bruyne equal Theirry Henry’s record of 20 assists in a single season. this season however started slow for both City and De Bruyne. With no striker up front to finish the chances De Bruyne was creating, City was dropping points. So Pep Guardiola changed his tactics to accommodate his legion of great attacking midfielders with De Bruyne as the orchestrator of City’s attack. De Bruyne played almost half his game as a central midfielder and the other half as the attacking midfielder. He even got to play some games up top as a forward!
Although De Bruyne’s form was far from the brilliant one he had last year, he still managed to score 6 goals and provide 12 assists this season, winning his 3rd Premier League title and 5th League Cup with Manchester City. De Bruyne’s season ended in tears however as he suffered a horrible injury in the Champions League final. Manchester City lost the final and De Bruyne’s appearance in Euro 2020 is in doubt but the Belgian will certainly come back stronger next season as his work at Manchester City is not finished yet!
When Manchester United acquired Bruno Fernandes’ services from Sportng Lisbon in January of 2020, no one expected him to perform in such a brilliant fashion, despite him being a great player. Last year, Fernandes ended up being one of the transfers of the season, picking up two consecutive Player of the Month awards, even though he only joined United halfway through the season. he carried that great form into this season as well, picking up another 2 consecutive Player of the Month awards, becoming the only player ever to win 4 Player of the Month awards in a single calendar year in the Premier League.
Fernandes was without a doubt United’s star player this season, providing that X-factor that could turn games in favor of Manchester United. He scored, he assisted and he even defended occasionally as he ledManchester United
from a disappointing start to the season to them challenging Manchester City for the title. but unfortunately for United, the strikers that were in front ofBruno Fernandes
did not perform as well as he did, which saw the Red Devils fall out of the title race in the final weeks of the season and settle for the 2nd position.
With an impressive 18 goals and 12 assists, Fernandes’ 2020-21 season has been one of the stand-outs in Premier League history, alongside performances from midfielders like Frank Lampard and Yaya Toure. Fernandes has truly been the
best Premier League midfielders of 2020-21 season
and was rightfully nominated for the Player of the Season award. Even though United finished the season empty-handed, if they manage to bring in a quality striker this summer, with Fernandes as playmaker they could truly challenge for the title next season. they might even win it!