Home » Premier League POWER RANKINGS: Virgil van Dijk continues his defensive dominance but who is No 1?

Premier League POWER RANKINGS: Virgil van Dijk continues his defensive dominance but who is No 1?

by Press room

With the lead of the Premier League changing hands twice and big results in the battle to avoid the drop, it proved to be another action-packed weekend in England’s top flight.

Liverpool briefly went top after holding onto a 1-0 victory over in-form Newcastle in the lunch-time kick-off on Saturday, before Manchester City instantly responded with a resounding 4-0 thrashing of Leeds to go back to the summit.

Meanwhile at the bottom, Leeds are well and truly in the relegation scrap now after Burnley and Everton both picked up massive victories against Watford and Chelsea respectively.

Fourth place also changed hands twice over the weekend with Tottenham taking the final Champions League spot by beating Leicester – only for Arsenal to jump back ahead after making it three wins out of three.

With that in mind, meet your latest Top 10 of our Power Rankings.  

LAST WEEK’S TOP 10

10. Wout Weghorst (Burnley)

9.  James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

8. Luis Diaz (Liverpool)

7. Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)

6. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

5. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

4. Christian Eriksen (Brentford)

3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

2. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

1. Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle) 

10. Rodri (new entry)

With all of Manchester City’s attacking talent, their supremely gifted defensive midfielder Rodri can go under the radar despite his consistent displays.

The Spanish midfielder enters the Power Rankings for the first time this season after his commanding performance against Leeds on Saturday afternoon. 

Rodri got the ball rolling for Pep Guardiola’s side at the weekend, getting across his man to glance a header past Illan Meslier from a Phil Foden free-kick.

It follows his stunning goal in the 5-1 win against Watford a week before in which he chested down Gabriel Jesus’ lofted pass and unleashed an unstoppable half-volley into the top corner.

But it is his defensive exploits that keep City ticking while protecting their back four and he has a huge role to play over the coming weeks if they are to win both the Premier League and Champions League.

Rodri scored Manchester City’s first goal of four as they reclaimed the top spot in the league

9. Kevin De Bruyne (Down seven)

The second Manchester City player to make the list but there is an argument to say he is fortunate to do so.

Kevin De Bruyne was rested for the trip to West Yorkshire as he was left an unused substitute ahead of their massive Champions League semi-final second leg clash against Real Madrid.

The Belgian playmaker was not needed as a very strong City team were able to dismantle Jesse Marsch’s side with relative ease.

This means that the new LaLiga champions will have to deal with a fresh and dangerous De Bruyne.

Given his recent form in the Premier League, which is the reason why he remains in our top ten, he will be the man that Carlo Ancelotti’s side most have to be wary about at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.  

Kevin De Bruyne tumbles down the rankings after he was rested for the Champions League

Kevin De Bruyne tumbles down the rankings after he was rested for the Champions League

8. Bruno Guimaraes (Down seven)

Another man who slides down our top ten is last week’s number one Bruno Guimaraes.

There were periods of the game where the Newcastle midfielder was left chasing shadows in their 1-0 defeat to Liverpool – their first loss at St James’ Park in the league in 2022.   

Despite this he was still the Magpies’ most lively and effective midfielder out of their starting three.

He seemed the most likely to unlock Liverpool’s formidable defence with his forward passing and he had a late effort saved by Alisson.

Though he, nor his team-mates, could halt the Liverpool juggernaut, there were still some positive signs from the new hero on Tyneside.

It will take a big performance from the Brazilian to remain in our top ten next week, as Eddie Howe’s side travel to league leaders Manchester City.  

Bruno Guimaraes was lively despite chasing shadows at stages against Liverpool on Saturday

Bruno Guimaraes was lively despite chasing shadows at stages against Liverpool on Saturday

7. Jordan Pickford (new entry) 

England’s number one goalkeeper is the second player on this list to make the rankings for the first time this season.

Jordan Pickford has faced his fair share of criticism during his top-flight career, with doubts always raised about whether his club form matches his impressive displays for the national side.

There were some heroic performances by Everton players in their huge 1-0 victory over Chelsea, with particular notable displays by goalscorer Richarlison and Yerry Mina who put in a big defensive shift. 

Pickford though gets our nod after some massive second-half saves which could be the difference between the Toffees staying up, or playing second-tier football for the first time since 1954.  

Mason Mount’s superbly hit volley struck both posts and bounced out to Cesar Azpilicueta who looked like he had an easy finish with Pickford down on the ground.

Pickford did brilliantly to cover his ground and stop the Chelsea captain from scoring.

From the resulting corner he then made another great save to deny Antonio Rudiger from close range.

It meant Everton held on and are now just two points behind Burnley and Leeds, with a game in hand over the pair.  

Jordan Pickford made some heroic saves that could keep Everton in the Premier League

Jordan Pickford made some heroic saves that could keep Everton in the Premier League

6. Luis Diaz (Up two)

There’s not many more compliments we can pay for Liverpool’s dazzling winger Luis Diaz.

The 25-year-old Colombian is a constant source of danger every time he plays for Jurgen Klopp’s side and even though he only joined the club in January, he is a strong shout for signing of the season.

Every time he was on the ball he had Newcastle’s defenders petrified and it was a performance worthy of a goal.

The £37.5m signing plays with a swagger you’d expect of someone who has been playing Premier League football for three seasons, yet alone just over three months.

It’s very telling that Diaz has been picked over Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino for some big games in recent times and if he continues to improve then Premier League defences will be dreading coming up against him for a long time to come.  

Luis Diaz was again a constant menace as Newcastle defenders struggled to handle him

Luis Diaz was again a constant menace as Newcastle defenders struggled to handle him

5. Bukayo Saka (Up one)

A few weeks ago, it looked like Arsenal had thrown away a top-four finish after consecutive defeats to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton.

Yet with four games to go, Arsenal are in the driving seat after victories over three of their rivals for European places in Chelsea, Manchester United and now West Ham.

A key part of their impressive return to form is the displays of Bukayo Saka, who again made a goal contribution against West Ham.

After scoring in his previous two matches, it was the 20-year-old’s cross which was headed in by Rob Holding to put the Gunners ahead at the London Stadium.

It wasn’t just his assist though, it was his overall display as he had the beating of Ryan Fredericks every time in an avenue which was probably not exploited enough.

He was replaced by Emile Smith Rowe with over ten minutes to play and looked in a little bit of discomfort, having picked up a slight knock against Manchester United.

Keeping the youngster fit will be key for Arsenal’s prospects of making the Champions League for the first time in six years.  

Bukayo Saka bagged an assist as Arsenal beat one of their rivals for Europe in West Ham

Bukayo Saka bagged an assist as Arsenal beat one of their rivals for Europe in West Ham

4. Son Heung-min (New entry)

After a grand total of one week outside our top ten, Son Heung-min has jumped straight back in after his stunning performance against Leicester.

The 29-year-old is now just three goals behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot following his brace against the Foxes, while he linked-up with Harry Kane once again to provide his partner an assist.

Son’s in-swinging corner found Kane who opened the scoring in the 3-1 victory.

He then showed great composure when Dejan Kulusevski found him in the second-half, as he allowed the ball to run across him, turned and fired home to double their advantage.

His second goal of the game was the pick of the bunch and arguably the weekend, as he unfurled a wicked curling strike into the top-left corner which Kasper Schmeichel could not do a thing about.

Antonio Conte’s side travel to Anfield to play Liverpool on Saturday before they then face Arsenal in the North London derby next week.

These two fixtures could define Tottenham’s season and Conte will be hoping that his front three of Son, Kane and Kulusevski are working perfectly in tandem for both games.  

Son Heung-min took his goal tally up to 19 in the Premier League this season against Leicester

Son Heung-min took his goal tally up to 19 in the Premier League this season against Leicester

3. Gabriel Jesus (Up four)

Gabriel Jesus is in arguably the form of his life at Manchester City and he followed off his four-goal effort against Watford with his 13th finish of the season against Leeds at the weekend.

The Brazilian was originally brought to the club as the man to replace Sergio Aguero, and despite netting 58 goals in 156 Premier League appearances, he hasn’t convinced Pep Guardiola that he is the man to provide the club with the world class striker they desire.

However, he has stepped up when City most need it in the dying stages of the season as they hunt Premier League and Champions League success.

In April, he netted six top-flight goals which marked a considerable improvement on the two he had scored in this campaign before the 2-2 draw with Liverpool.

He also found the back of the net in City’s 4-3 victory over Real Madrid in the first-leg of the Champions League semi-final last week.

Given his current run of form it seems a certainty that he will start in the second-leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, as well in the majority of the games that Guardiola’s side still have to play in the closing weeks of the season.  

Gabriel Jesus scored six league goals in April compared to just two before then

Gabriel Jesus scored six league goals in April compared to just two before then

2. Virgil van Dijk (Up three)

Mohamed Salah scooped up the prize for the FWA Player of the Year, though if you were to look at another Liverpool player to be handed the achievement then Virgil van Dijk would present a very good argument to the case.

The Dutchman has been back to his dominant best in the second-half of this season, with Liverpool keeping 20 clean sheets – ten of which have been in their last 12 league matches.

Against Newcastle he was again calm whenever called upon, while the Magpies’ forwards could not match him in the air – even with the emergence of Chris Wood in the final stages of the game.

He showed a particular great moment of composure as he completed a dribble to get out of trouble when closed down by several Newcastle players.

Liverpool have conceded just six league goals in 2022 and a big part of that has been down to Van Dijk’s dominance at the back, as well as the excellent partnerships he has formed with Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate.

Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool have looked very difficult to break down since the start of 2022

Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool have looked very difficult to break down since the start of 2022

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Up two)

Cristiano Ronaldo is back on top of the Power Rankings after scoring his sixth Premier League goal in his last four outings.

Similar to Son Heung-min, Ronaldo has been edging closer towards Mohamed Salah and the top of the Golden Boot charts in recent weeks.

It’s a big ask for the Portuguese superstar with just two matches remaining but you can never rule him out and he has two hat-tricks to his name in the last two months.

During United’s 3-0 victory over Brentford, the 37-year-old thought he had doubled their lead after he found the net on the back of a Juan Mata pass – only for it to be disallowed for offside after a VAR review.

Ronaldo later won a penalty after a brilliant bit of forward’s play when he outmuscled Rico Henry like the Brentford player wasn’t even there. A frustrated Henry then clattered into the back of Ronaldo inside the penalty box.

Given Bruno Fernandes’ poor run of form from the spot, Ronaldo was the one to take it this time and he made no mistake to smash it into the bottom-left corner.

So it’s Ronaldo who takes the top spot after taking advantage of the absent Kevin De Bruyne and last week’s number one Bruno Guimaraes slipping down the order.

Ronaldo could face stiff competition from the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Gabriel Jesus, Son Heung-min and others, if he is to remain on top of the pile. 

Cristiano Ronaldo is back to the top of the list thanks to his display against Brenford

Cristiano Ronaldo is back to the top of the list thanks to his display against Brenford

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