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. Luis Suarez
Put in 4 goals during a single match and you deserve the top spot in the power rankings. Luis Suarez is the man this week, leading the Barca trio in their demolition of every team standing in their way. Everything is going right for Barcelona, and Suarez is leading the way.
2. Lionel Messi
“The king has returned.” One of my favorite lines from the Lion King is appropriate regarding Messi’s return from injury. A hat trick will do wonders for his confidence, if there were any worries from the superstar. History will remind us in the future just how brilliant Messi is, along with his amazing highlight tapes and record book domination.
3. Jamie Vardy
Another goal of the year nominee is in play, as Vardy’s strike against Liverpool was a piece of art. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he almost stood up and clapped over the goal. Vardy is the Premier League leader in goals, while also leading the Foxes to the top of the table as well. This is the kind stuff that movies are made for, and Vardy is a storybook character.
4. Michael Bradley
Sure, the MLS is out of season, but the General led the US in a friendly against Iceland last week. His cool demeanor and leadership qualities were evident as he led his squad to a thrilling 3-2 victory. He added a slick assist on Jozy Altidore’s chip, and added a second on Steve Birnbaum’s winner. He is now tied for 8th all time for US caps, and took over 3rd in all-time assists for the US.
5. Ross Barkley
The midfield stalwart for Everton buried two penalties in the club’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle. Barkley has been one of the more consistent players in what has been a trying season at Everton. Through it all, Barkley has kept his cool, and demonstrated that by burying two penalties to put the game and 3 points on ice.
6. Wayne Rooney
Just when you think Manchester United is dead in the water, they give a brilliant performance that suggests they have something left up their sleeve. Wayne Rooney has come back from injury with a freshness that we hadn’t seen in awhile. He continues to score, including during the 3-0 smacking of Stoke.
7. Harry Kane
The Hurri-Kane is sweeping the Premier League off its feet as Tottenham have become legitimate title contenders. Pundits have admitted they are a Top 4 team, but with Kane scoring again, they are beginning to admit that the trophy is a real possibility. Kane scored a brace against Norwich, giving Spurs 3 points and launching them to 3rd on the table, ahead of Arsenal on goal differential.
8. Allan McGregor
The Championship doesn’t get a lot of media attention, but there is excitement in the 2nd tier of English football. Hull City was relegated last year from the Premier League, but look to be heading back up, as they are tops on the table in the Championship. McGregor has been a rock in between the posts, including three straight clean sheets. If they finish the deal, McGregor will be a big reason why they return to the Premier League.
9. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez
The Mexican international has been on an absolute tear for Bayer Leverkusen, scoring 21 goals in total this season. Chicharito has made it a priority to prove people wrong, as some had written him off following unsuccessful stints at Manchester United and Real Madrid. He has definitely proved his worth thus far.
10. Christian Pulisic
The 17-year-old American teen’s stock is on the rise. After getting promoted to train with the first team over the winter break, he made his Bundesliga debut for Borussia Dortmund last week. On top of that, he has been named to the club’s Europa League squad for the second half of the season. Pulisic has a Croatian passport, bypassing work permit problems, but still is uncapped for international play.