Each season different players will rise to the occasion and provide a real bump to their team’s chances. This list is not a measure of talent, as much as it is a list of the most impactful players this season. Season results, combined with “what have you done for me lately”, are just a couple of the factors taken into account on our Player Power Rankings.
1. Robert Lewandowski
Lewandowski has been quietly dominating the Bundesliga, notching his 3rd brace in four games. The number 9 for Bayern Munich has been incredibly productive; a continuous bright spot in what has been a relatively boring season in Germany.
2. Robert Huth
WHERE ARE THESE GUYS COMING FROM?! Just when you think Leicester City is done pumping out results from never-heard-from-before players, they pull another one out of the woodwork, who magically captures more points for the Foxes.
3. Carli Lloyd
The USWNT opened up their Olympic qualifying campaign with a 5-0 victory over Costa Rica. Right in the middle of it all was Carli Lloyd, wearing the captain’s armband and putting the ball in the back of the net. Besides a good performance, the biggest news out of the USWNT is that Hope Solo is considering skipping the Olympics over fears of the Zika virus.
4. Petr Cech
Just when Arsenal needed a performance to regain confidence and keep the race close, Cech was solid between the pipes. A clean sheet against Bournemouth calmed some of the nerves for the Gunners and their supporters. The grizzled veteran is still a top class keeper who has some tricks up his sleeves.
5. Aleksandar Mitrovic
Newcastle are not going down easy. The club is playing their new additions Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend, but it was Mitrovic who scored the decisive goal in their 1-0 victory. The win lifted them out of the relegation, but just barely. The battle to stay up is a very important one, and every point in absolutely critical.
6. Alejandro Bedoya
Sometimes forgotten in France, Bedoya is in great form for Nantes. His flowing hair is flawless, and of course he is scoring some pretty important goals too. The past two rounds of Coupe de France, Bedoya has come on as a substitute and scored the winning goal in both matches in the final minutes. The midfielder is in the prime of his career, playing the best ball of his life.
7. John Brooks
It might seem like there are quite a few US players on the list this week, but they are providing a lot of great entertainment value around the globe. Brooks inked an extension at Hertha Berlin, and then led the defense in stifling Dortmund’s potent attack in a 0-0 draw. He is one of the biggest rising stars in the Bundesliga, proven by Bayern Munich’s interest in him. He is establishing himself and becoming more consistent as well, a problem that has held him back thus far.
8. Gianluigi Buffon
Buffon is still kicking it around, leading to a 14-game win streak for Juventus. The Italian keeper has been around forever, but he is still one of the best in the world at stopping shots. It is amazing that the 38-year-old is still this good, but like the wine in Italy, keepers continue to mature with age. Juventus will continue to be a power as long as Buffon is around.
9. Hugo Lloris
Tottenham have risen to 2nd place in the Premier League, largely on the shoulders of Lloris. Lloris has easily been the keeper of the year, allowing under 20 goals all season. Spurs hold a 9-goal differential lead over Arsenal, the critical tiebreaker due in heavy part to Lloris. The Frenchman has gone to an entirely new level this year.
10. Leicester City Bettors
Sportsbooks are starting to kick themselves for giving the 5000-1 preseason odds on the Foxes to win the Premier League. Sure, only Leicester City fans would bet on their team to win it, but there are multiple who put down some cash. Some are getting offered deals now to prevent the huge payouts, but most are turning it down in hopes of the huge payoff. With a 5 point lead, their prospects are looking pretty good right now.