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ESPN Select Most Important Player In Each Premier League Top 6 Side With One Interesting Inclusion

Premier League LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United is closed down by Eden Hazard of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The US sports media is not Premier League fans favourite source for comment and opinion on the beautiful game.

They do however often make predictions and calls that grab headlines, and they have certainly managed that this time. In selecting who they believe to be the ‘Most Important Players‘ of the top six in the Premier League ESPN’s Alexis Nunes and Janusz Michallik make some choices that are difficult to disagree with. The pair agree on Zlatan Ibrahimovic being Manchester United’s most important star, while both also list Alexis Sanchez as the player most at the heart of Arsenal’s title tilt.

One selection that will raise eyebrows is the that of Claudio Bravo as Manchester City’s most important player.  Bravo has proved himself to be one of the least effective shot-stoppers in the Premier League, and the statistics more than bare that out;

City can boast of many other star performers in their squad. Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero have been at times irrepressible this season in torturing opposition defences.

The notion of Bravo being their ‘most important’ player however, is more credible than one may initially think. So often have Premier League goalkeepers been praised as excellent ‘shot-stoppers’ that they phrase almost lost all meaning.

Bravo has, however, in his own unique way shown their value. While his composure on the ball is hard to dispute, his inability to effectively deal with crosses or to block shots is staggering. Indeed, Pep Guardiola’s press conferences often take on the tone of strident defences of his keeper and the footballing strategy he underpins rather than any other aspects of their games.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 15:  Tom Davies of Everton lifts the ball over goalkeeper Claudio Bravo of Manchester City to score his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park on January 15, 2017 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Given how central he is to any conversation about Manchester City, he must be their most important player. He is directly responsible for more goals than any of their other players, even if they are scored at his end.

His importance could be greatly diminished in one swoop however. We are currently in the middle of a transfer window, and a team of City’s funds could surely afford to replace Bravo with a competent shot-stopper who will not feature in back-page headlines quite as regularly as their current number one. Until such a signing is made, Bravo being their most important player may be a notion Manchester City fans have to learn to live with.

The complete list of their selections are as follows:

Chelsea: Diego Costa and Eden Hazard

Tottenham: Harry Kane and Christian Ericksen

Arsenal: Alexis Sachez

Liverpool: Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho

Manchester City: David Silva and Claudio Bravo

Manchester United: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.