Player Power Rankings: January 5th, 2016

1. Jermain Defoe

It has been a rough couple years for the Sunderland striker, but he showed that he still has the skills to pay the bills. A brace in a critical cellar dweller matchup with Aston Villa was needed. They are now 4 points from safety, which is an achievable gap. Defoe had better lace up his boots each and every week if he wants to stay in the Premier League.

2. Wayne Rooney

The Captain brought some flair back to Manchester United with a cheeky backheel flick goal this weekend. Rooney returned from injury and is inspiring his side, which have been lackluster in his absence. He also took sole possession of 2nd place on the all time Premier League scoring charts. The Red Devils sit in 5th place, clinging to hope for a Top 4 finish.

3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Wasquehal in the Coupe de France. With most of the regulars staying at home to rest, it was Ibrahimovic who was the hero as usual for PSG. He is still performing at a very high level for a 34-year-old.

4. Karim Benzema

The Frenchman has been an underappreciated piece at Real Madrid. The forward put in a goal over the weekend in a 2-2 draw with Valencia. Real Madrid’s number 9 is a great teammate on a squad full of stars, so it is nice when he gets his spotlight time. With the January window open, expect the transfer rumors to pick up for Benzema.

5. Anthony Martial

Martial and Rooney

This kid really came out of nowhere this year. He has been one of the most consistent performers for Man United, both setting up and scoring goals. He is still only 20 years old, and has time to further develop his game, but he has already shown the quality to compete at the highest level. He has meshed well with some of the older veterans at Old Trafford, and will lean on them for advice as his career continues.

6. Xherdan Shaqiri

Either on purpose or by accident, Shaqiri scored what is likely to be goal of the year. His beautiful lobbed goal wasn’t going to be touched by any human goalkeeper in the world. He has really fit in at Stoke, and the Potters have risen to 10th on the table. Shaqiri has proven that he is not the bust that some had labeled him to be after his exit from Bayern Munich.

7. Diego Costa

So goes Costa, so goes Chelsea. The Blues have had a couple of rebound performances, with Costa leading the way up front. After being dangerously close to the relegation zone, Chelsea have grabbed some points and breathing room. Their star striker needs to continue his good form to put any relegation questions to rest.

8. Sergio Aguero

Manchester City have had a relatively quiet season, despite being in the Top 3 and having a legit shot at the title. Aguero isn’t breaking any records, but he is coming up big in the clutch for The Citizens. His 2nd half winner grabbed the points for City, who are 3 points behind Arsenal. Aguero will be a big part of the offense if City are going to make a title push.

9. Gareth Bale

Since most leagues haven’t had much action over the holidays, it doesn’t take much to make this week’s list. Bale putting a goal in is enough for him to be included. Bale is one of the most talented players in the world, and he has to share the ball with plenty of other stars as well.

10. Bruno

There isn’t usually very much excitement in La Liga beyond Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid battling it out, but this season has given us a little bit more. Bruno and Villareal have been nipping at Real Madrid’s heels for most of the season. Bruno’s injury time penalty this weekend garnered the club 3 points and kept them within striking distance.

 

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About the author: Dominic Habjan

 

I am a contributor to SoccerPro’s blogs, and truly enjoy writing about the World’s Game. I support Sporting KC, US National Team, and Slovenian National Team. I follow the Premier League but don’t necessarily have a favorite club. I am an avid sports fan, but prefer college to professional leagues in every sport with exception to soccer. I love the Mizzou Tigers, KC Royals, and KC Chiefs. Outside sports I enjoy movies, music, and musical theatre.

Website: https://www.soccerpro.com

 

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