Paul Merson picks the Best Player from each of the Premier League's top six sides

Paul Merson has chosen stand-out players from the Premier League top six
Paul Merson has chosen stand-out players from the Premier League top six

The Premier League put on a brilliant show in 2022 and lived up to its billing as the best league in the world. Manchester City were exceptional under Pep Guardiola and thoroughly deserved to win the league title after an incredible comeback on the final day of the season.

Real Madrid went on to beat Liverpool to the UEFA Champions League trophy. I expected the team that scored first to win, and the Spanish giants were as clinical as ever. Liverpool will not be disappointed with their performances this year and deserve their parade after a phenomenal season.

Chelsea have had a few issues with consistency this season. They got the better of Tottenham and Liverpool and gave Manchester City a run for their money, but didn't turn up against the Premier League's lesser teams.

Tottenham Hotspur pipped both Arsenal and Manchester United to a place in the UEFA Champions League and will do well to secure another top-four finish next year. Here's my take on the stand-out players and those that didn't quite live up to expectations in each of the Premier League's big six this season.

#6 Manchester United

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League
Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League

Best Player - Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is probably the only player at Manchester United who hasn't been a disappointment this season. He's individual numbers add up and he has been their most consistent player over the past year.

While Ronaldo did score his goals, I don't think he helped the team much. The new manager's got a hard job coming up. If you keep Ronaldo for another year, that's another year without much of a plan. If he does well next year and Manchester United come third, it's a waste - because he'll leave after that.

Manchester United need a plan for the future, and they need to start addressing it sooner rather than later.

Second-best Player - David De Gea

David De Gea was the only other player close to Ronaldo's level at Manchester United. He's an excellent shot-stopper - if I'm a manager, that's the first thing I want in a goalkeeper. I thought he was back to his best.

Not good enough - All of them

Picking only one player from the rest of the United squad is a horrible task. Most of them were a joke this season. Apart from the occasional showing of consistency from Scott McTominay and Fred, none of the other players deserved more than a five on ten for the season.

#5 Arsenal

Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Best Player - Aaron Ramsdale

I could've just as easily gone with Bukayo Saka here, but Aaron Ramsdale has been exceptional. He's had a couple of shaky performances, but he's exceeded expectations and has been outstanding in most of the games he's played.

When Arsenal were chasing him around last year, I was sitting here wondering why they wanted a goalkeeper who'd let in more goals than anyone else in the last three years. Arteta got it right here, and Ramsdale's made me eat my words.

Second-best Player - Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka was a close second to Aaron Ramsdale and has been a revelation for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta. He's been a threat in the final third and has enjoyed a great season.

Not good enough - Alexandre Lacazette

I thought Alexandre Lacazette would kick on after Aubameyang left, but he didn't really get going. He's a much better player than his performances this season have shown him to be. Arsenal have been linked to Gabriel Jesus and I think he'll be a great fit alongside Eddie Nketiah, who's going to get better.

Arsenal will have to pick a new captain next season, and I think it'll probably be Ben White. They need a player who can lead on the pitch with his performances, and White fits the bill.

#4 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley - Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley - Premier League

Best Player - Son Heung-Min

Son Heung-Min was absolutely outstanding for Tottenham Hotspur. He won the Golden Boot in the Premier League and he's been phenomenal. He works his socks off and rarely gets the credit he deserves.

Son hasn't been named in the PFA Players' Player of the Year shortlist, and I think that's pathetic at the highest level. He's been consistent all season and on current form, he can walk into any team in the world.

Second-best Player - Harry Kane

Harry Kane turned his season around brilliantly in 2022. He was only a few goals behind the Golden Boot himself, despite having barely scored a goal in the Premier League until December.

Not good enough - Emerson Royal

This might be a bit of a harsh one, but I thought Emerson Royal was going to be better than he was. He played every week under Antonio Conte, but he never managed to meet expectations in the Premier League.

#3 Chelsea

Chelsea FC v Atletico Madrid  - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg Two
Chelsea FC v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg Two

Best Player - Antonio Rudiger

Antonio Rudiger's been absolutely outstanding for Chelsea. I can't remember him having a bad game if I'm being honest. He's been consistently brilliant in the Premier League this season.

Rudiger's going to be a massive miss for Thomas Tuchel next season. He's going to be a hard one to replace, and I'm not sure if the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Jules Kounde can fill his boots. If there is a worry for Chelsea this year, it's finding Rudiger's replacement.

Second-best Player - Mason Mount

I'm a big fan of Mason Mount - he was consistently good for Chelsea throughout the season. Reece James was also excellent but was injured for a long period. Chelsea's title race went out the window when James and Ben Chilwell got injured.

Not good enough - Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku has been disappointing all season. He started well against Arsenal and we all thought, "Okay, here we go!" We haven't seen him do that again since - he just never got going.

If Chelsea can get their £100 million or anywhere near that amount back for him this summer, they'll sell him. A loan would be of no use to anybody - it wouldn't help Thomas Tuchel one bit.

#2 Liverpool

Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Best Player - Fabinho

I'm going to go out of the box here and pick a player whose absence caused Liverpool to struggle. If Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah do not play, Liverpool still manage to win. Fabinho, however, is a necessity in Jurgen Klopp's team.

Liverpool's midfield isn't particularly strong, and Fabinho holds his team together admirably. He's an absolute must in the midfield three and has played pivotal roles in their best performances this season.

Second-best Player - Alisson Becker

With all the talent that Liverpool have on the pitch, we forget that Alisson has made so many brilliant saves for them this season. I could've gone with Salah or Van Dijk, but this lad makes big saves at big times in big football matches - more so than any other goalkeeper.

Not good enough - Naby Keita

Naby Keita's signing didn't really do much for me. I was a bit shocked when they brought him on in the Champions League final. Liverpool needed a goal, and he's scored one goal in about a million games.

#1 Manchester City

Manchester City v Aston Villa - Premier League
Manchester City v Aston Villa - Premier League

Best Player - Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne was the best player on the pitch in Manchester City's 2-2 draw against Liverpool. If he hadn't played that game, City wouldn't have won the Premier League.

When push comes to shove, De Bruyne steps up for his side. He missed a part of the season and struggled with a bad ankle, but he's a big-game player and took Manchester City to another level when he came back.

Second-best Player - Riyad Mahrez

This is a hard one, but it's impossible to look past Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez has had to compete with Grealish, Foden, and Sterling, but he's played in all the big matches this season. That tells you everything you need to know about his impeccable season.

Not good enough - Aymeric Laporte

When Aymeric Laporte first came to Manchester City, he was on a different level. Two years ago, if Laporte wasn't fit, City were in trouble. This might be slightly harsh, but I don't think he's kicked on since then.

Jack Grealish also had a poor season, but it was always going to be hard for him in his first season at the club. Laporte has still been consistent this season with Dias alongside him but isn't irreplaceable at the club.

The most impressive manager - Eddie Howe

Newcastle United v Liverpool - Premier League
Newcastle United v Liverpool - Premier League

Newcastle had money, but they never went out and bought silly. They bought smart players - the kind that left other clubs wondering why they didn't think of the bargain in the first place.

Eddie Howe was exceptional at Newcastle and turned their Premier League campaign around. People forget where they were before he joined the club, and they've now comfortably secured a mid-table finish.

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Edited by Paul Merson
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