Who has the best Premier League midfield?
The Premier League is littered with countless top stars all over the pitch.
Among the strongest positions in the English top-flight at present is midfield.
Bruno Fernandes and Kevin De Bruyne are among some of the very best creative midfielders in the world.
N’Golo Kante is also one of, if not the best, defensive-minded midfielder currently plying their trade in Europe.
Kante would also win the 2018 World Cup alongside fellow Premier League midfielder Paul Pogba, whilst Chelsea’s Jorginho was one of the standout performers at Euro 2020, which his Italy side won.
But which club has the best midfielder overall at present? 101 have taken a look at the very best midfielders in England at present to try and come to a definitive decision.
The first club we must examine is Manchester United. As already briefly mentioned, United have in their ranks some incredibly talented midfielders.
Bruno Fernandes joined Man United at the back end of the 2020 winter window. He would then go on to almost single handily secure the Red Devils a Champions League berth in 2019/20, scoring eight goals and seven assists in just 14 league appearances.
Fernandes once again lit up the Premier League in 2020/21 – notching a staggering 18 goals and 11 assists in 37 PL games.
Man United also have Paul Pogba to call upon in midfield who, on his day, has proven himself to be an exceptional midfielder, especially in the attacking sense.
Where Man United are seriously let down though, is in defensive midfield. Right now, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer only has an ageing Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay who he can choose to play deep.
Matic was a top-quality CDM (central defensive midfielder) in his prime, but it is clear he is no longer what he was. Fred and McTominay, meanwhile, cannot operate as a sole CDM, meaning Solskjaer often has to either drop Pogba or move him out of position to accommodate the McFred pivot.
So, whilst United do have some unquestionable talent in their midfield, they will not have the best in the league until they acquire a world-class defensive midfielder.
Next up comes a side who may perhaps be overlooked somewhat when it comes to the quality of their midfield.
Leicester generally operate with two central midfielders and a central attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 or a 3-4-1-2 or they can use a more traditional 4-4-2 which requires just two central midfielders.
For the former two options, James Maddison is generally deployed as the main CAM (central attacking midfielder). This is an incredibly solid option to have, with Maddison a consistent provider of goals and assists – he scored eight and assisted seven in 31 league games last term.
Then, slightly further back, Leicester are in possession of one of the best midfield pivots in the division.
Wilfred Ndidi is extremely reliable defensively, perhaps only behind N’Golo Kante in this regard across the PL.
Then, partnering the Nigerian is Youri Tielemans, who is the slightly more attack-minded of the two. Tielemans is the perfect central midfielder. He is energetic, quick, has a wide range of passing in his locker and can also be effective in his own box.
Brendan Rodgers has also acquired the services of 22-year-old Boubakary Soumare this summer. Soumare – who won Ligue 1 with Lille in 2020/21 – will no doubt be an excellent option to rotate with the aforementioned duo at the base of Leicester’s midfield.
Liverpool have, for several years now, had one of the most consistently solid midfields in the Premier League.
Fabinho is an exceptional central defensive midfielder. Jordan Henderson is a very experienced leader whose footballing ability goes underappreciated somewhat by many.
But, that is only two-thirds of Jurgen Klopp’s midfield three, with Georginio Wijnaldum now having left for PSG on a free transfer.
As a result, it will be interesting to see how Liverpool function when they are forced to do without Wijnaldum, a man who was an ever-present and one of the Reds’ most reliable options.
Of course, you may be pointing out that Thiago will easily slot into Wijnaldum’s place. However, the Spaniard has had a pretty rough start to life in the PL and whether or not he can actually produce what Klopp wants in a central midfielder remains to be seen.
Liverpool though, do now also have Curtis Jones to call upon in midfield as well. The 20-year-old continued to improve the more he featured last campaign, and he should be set for a very bright future on Merseyside.
Chelsea now operate with a 3-4-2-1 formation, which Mason Mount is generally deployed as a left or right inside forward in this system.
So, for the basis of this series, he should probably instead be considered a part of the Blues’ attack, rather than midfield.
That, though, does not mean that Chelsea’s midfield is lacking in quality at all. N’Golo Kante is one of the best midfielders in the world and any side who can deploy the Frenchman have a chance of winning something every year.
Outside of Kante, Tuchel has Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic to call upon. The former did not have the best start to life in England, but his quality has since shone through with the Italian putting in some stellar showing en route to picking up both the Champions League and Euro 2020. Mateo Kovacic is also a serious workhorse for Chelsea who always puts in solid 7/10s every week.
The final team on this list is, of course, Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s men have dominated the English game for years now and boast one of, if not the best midfields.
Fernandinho, despite his age, continues to be a key figure at City. His ability to control and start attacks from deep is superb, as is his tactical fouling to break up opposition attacks.
Rodri, 25, has also continued to improve since his move from Atletico and is becoming a viable Fernandinho replacement.
Further forward Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and occasionally Phil Foden, make up City’s star-studded midfield
De Bruyne is, of course, probably the best creative midfielder in the world and Gundogan has just had a superb 2020/21 campaign. And, though not official yet, Jack Grealish looks set to be added to City’s midfield ranks this summer as well:
Jack Grealish poised to join Manchester City from Aston Villa on a five-year contract in £100m deal.
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) August 4, 2021
So, given City are up there in terms of both depth and quality when it comes to midfield, they probably deserve the title of the best midfield in the Premier League.
This article was edited by Ben Browning.
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