Who are the best midfielders in the Premier League, as we launch into the 2023-24 season? Here’s our top five.
No position’s performance dictates the outcome of a match more than the mids tasked with pulling the strings, orchestrating play, and breaking the game up.
Throughout its lifetime, the Premier League has boasted some of European football’s finest midfielders; like Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard of a by-gone era, right through to the modern greats.
And it’s time to reflect on which ones are the best of the best, heading into the new season. We’ve already unveiled our top five strikers, who put the finishing touches on the work most commonly created by their mids.
Even with the departure of some of England’s finest ever midfielders this off-season, with N’Golo Kante flying off to Saudi Arabia and Ilkay Gundogan linking with La Liga champions, the field of Premier League midfielders is still ripe with premium players.
England’s topflight possesses every profile of midfielder for every profile of Premier League side. Prolific ball winners, elite-level dribblers, deep-lying playmakers, elegant and tough ball-winners.
So here are the Premier League’s five best midfielders for the 2023-24 season.
Best midfielders in the Premier League – Top 5
Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City
Last season might not have been the Belgian’s brightest, exemplified by his baron run following the end of the World Cup break and beginning of April. The 32-year-old played 11 of 13 possible matches, assisting thrice and scoring once on that run. Even with this lean period, City’s mercurial star led the league in assists (16) and swept the ball into the back of the net seven times.
He remains the pre-eminent creative talent in England. With Ilkay Gundogan departing and City’s new back three system offering the freedom to bomb forward without much regard for preventing opposition counter attacks, we could see De Bruyne elevate his game to a new level in the 2023-24 Premier League season.
Martin Odegaard, Arsenal
In his first season as the Gunners’ captain, the Norwegian showed signs of realising the potential many knew he possessed when Real Madrid nabbed him in 2015. He rewarded Mikel Arteta’s faith with his best goal scoring season (15) from his free-roaming number-10 position.
An intelligent footballer with an elite spatial awareness and fantastic understanding of when to bomb into the box or prowl space on the edge of the box, few possess the ability to thread the needle more effectively than the Norwegian. As Arsenal aim to improve on their faltering title-charge this Premier League season, their captain’s performances will be key.
Rodri, Manchester City
He is far from the most eye-catching footballer on the planet, but can anyone else do what the Spaniard does? Probably not.
With the elegance and grace of a ballerina, the former Villarreal midfielder sweeps up opposition attacks before opponents even know they’ve started. Covering every blade of grass in City’s charge to the treble, Rodri’s defensive stats are far from elite but viewers of Guardiola’s side notice him like a lighthouse in the dead of night. He is City’s heartbeat when the side is in possession; each of his 75 passes per game pumping the blood necessary for successful attacking raids.
Casemiro, Manchester United
Don’t let the ill-discipline of his league-leading two red cards detract from the Brazilian’s brilliance. He missed seven games last season, including crucial losses to Newcastle and Arsenal, but when he was on the pitch, Casemiro was enormous.
He averaged 3.2 tackles per game, third-most in the league, and made 1.2 interceptions per 90. His output was crucial in Manchester United’s resurgence under Erik Ten Hag, often mopping up opposition counterattacks and acting as a crucial defensive lynchpin in an otherwise soft Manchester United midfield. In the 2023-24 season, any chance of United’s success rests squarely on the shoulders of their Brazilian defensive midfielder.
Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United
The Portuguese star flew under the radar last season, in part due to the high standards he has set throughout his career to date. Bruno Fernandes’ eight goals pales in comparison to some of his other seasons, and while his eight assists also doesn’t look that great, that’s not to say his creative output was minimal.
No player created more chances than Manchester United’s middle man (32). With the arrival of Mason Mount likely to remove some of the creative burden from Fernandes and free him up defensively, we could see the Portuguese star rocket to the top of the Premier League’s midfielder standings.