The 2016/17 Premier League is already surging towards the halfway mark, and attentions will soon turn – even at this early stage – towards which players will be crowned the best in each position at the season’s end.
One position which is already set to be hotly contested is the right back berth, with plenty of established, quality stars all vying for one of the most important positions on the pitch.
Judging by a recently conducted 90min poll, though, there are just two major candidates for the role, with one just pipping the other by all of 1%.
Just seeing off the competition from Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne, Arsenal’s speedy right back Hector Bellerin takes the crown with 31% of the total votes.
The 21-year-old is certainly one of the standout candidates on offer in England’s top flight. and is more than deserving of his first place finish thanks to his talent and unquestionable ability.
Bellerin was named as the quickest player back in FIFA 17 ahead of its release back in September and, despite not officially being the fastest footballer in the Premier League, still possesses a top speed that few can match even in arguably the best league in the world.
Couple his athleticism with his crossing ability, positional sense and art of perfecting the sliding tackle, and it’s not difficult to see why Bellerin was courted by former club Barcelona so much before he penned a new contract at the Emirates earlier in December.
Perhaps a tad unfortunate to miss out on top spot due to Bellerin, Liverpool’s Clyne has more than made his mark at Anfield after perfecting his trade with Southampton earlier in his career.
The 25-year-old is of a similar ilk to his Arsenal counterpart – quick, terrific at delivering balls into the box and more than able to win possession back – and, as such, can be disappointed to be eased out into second place.
Clyne’s productivity could be better, with just two goals and five assists to his name from 71 appearances since joining Liverpool, but his stats aren’t a long way off Bellerin’s – three goals and 11 assists in 89 games – which just goes to prove how tight the running was between the league’s two best right backs.
Surprisingly someway back in the bronze medal position is Chelsea’s auxiliary wingback Victor Moses, who scooped 19% of the votes cast.
Moses has enjoyed a renaissance to his career under Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge after a number of successive loan spells away and, as a wingback in the Italian’s 3-5-2 formation, might not be considered an orthodox full-back. Nevertheless, the 26-year-old has been in impressive form this season – helping himself to four goals and an assist as the Blues head into the festive fixture period at the summit of the Premier League.
Absolute robbery, everyone knows @VictorMoses should have won Ballon D’Or. Ronaldo and Messi lucky they have mates at FIFA.
— Chelsea HQ (@Chelsea_HQ) December 12, 2016
Could he have received more votes? Maybe, but perhaps his nomadic loans at other clubs have tainted his abilities in the eyes of some fans.
Not far behind his London rival, Tottenham’s Kyle Walker sees himself positioned in the middle of the pack in the poll.
The ex-Sheffield United starlet was seen as the next big thing to come out of English football at one point, but hasn’t lived up to the heights that were set for him all those years ago.
Despite this, Walker has managed to cement a regular starting place in Spurs’ lineup throughout his career at White Hart Lane, and regularly comes up with goals and assists to complement his defensive duties so he can’t be as bad as some supporters – both Tottenham and neutral – make him out to be.
Bringing up the rear with 2% of the votes each are Stoke City’s Glen Johnson and Southampton’s Cedric Soares. Johnson has had to contend with a number of niggling injuries in recent seasons, which may be a major reason behind his low score.
Soares, however, has proven more than capable of being a mainstay in the Saints side in the Premier League for years to come, and was part of the Portugal squad that secured a first ever international trophy at Euro 2016 in the summer.
That he, in particular, only picked up a paltry number of votes is quite odd, but then those with a greater share of the ballots cast do who for top four sides and, as we all know, with greater success comes a more global fanbase.
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