Without Jude Bellingham, where would Borussia Dortmund be right now? They've been missing Marco Reus, Mats Hummels hasn't been up to pace (literally), and all the newboys haven't quite hit the ground running as expected (perhaps Salih Özcan aside). This has meant that Jude Bellingham has needed to carry the weight of the team on his shoulders, getting on the ball at every turn to work his magic.
Around this time last year, Brighton & Hove Albion made a stunning swoop for Ecuadorian midfielder Moisés Caicedo, who at the time, was playing for Independiente del Valle in the Ecuadorian Serie A. They swiftly sent him on loan to Belgian First Division side Beerschot for the beginning half of the 2021-22 season, where his success in Belgium prompted the Seagulls to immediately install him in the heart of their midfield for the remainder of the campaign. Now an Albion regular, Moisés Caicedo has been one of the Premier League's standout midfielders since his re-arrival in the Prem, as an up-and-down 'Shuttler' capable of covering ground all over the pitch. Here is our analysis of Ecuador's supreme midfielder Moisés Caicedo.
We tracked every single CPL game over the course of the season to come up with our unique rating system. We compile that information alongside each player's defensive, attacking and possession rankings. We present the players that are more than ready for that next step, whether that be playing in the MLS or somewhere in Europe. If rumours have it, Marco Bustos may already be on his way. Here is our analysis of the best '10's' in the CANPL.
After this long-haul search of central midfielders in the CPL, four key figures stand out as being above the level of the league. Ollie Bassett is perhaps the most obvious to catch the eye when you watch him play, and his defensive awareness does not necessarily manifest in crunching into tackles and accumulating positive defensive stats like some of his peers. Here is our analysis of central midfielders inside the Canadian Premier League.
When asking the question of what player to sign, it's important to examine the most relevant information for your context. If you desire to find a true '6' who can hold down the midfield and play as a lone wolf - anchoring all on their own, Andre Rampersad might be your best bet. If looking for someone slightly more savvy in possession, Alessandro Hojabrpour is worth the swing. If you're looking for someone to play in a double pivot and dynamically venture box to box, Diego Gutiérrez is one of the best that the CANPL has to offer. Here is our analysis of the best defensive midfielders in the CPL.
Central midfielders come in a variety of forms, and the roles occupied have become vaster and more complex as each year rolls over. We now have Mezzalas, Registas, Destroyers, Shuttlers, Box-to-Box players and Playmakers taking up the reigns in midfield. Europe bears the most fruit when it comes to finding 'world class' talents in any position, and we are currently blessed with the likes of Jude Bellingham, Pedri and Jamal Musiala tearing it up on the grandest stage. But today we thought it fitting to analyze three alternative candidates, that could one day reach that 'world class' stardom. Here is our analysis of the strongest up and coming central midfielders under the age of 21.
Throughout the past five to ten years of watching Manchester United, I had thought of myself as one of Scott McTominay's biggest fans. The Scotsman is often over-criticized when he doesn't play well, and under-praised in the big matches where he's always a central figurehead. But then out of nowhere, at the height of Scott McTominay's resurgence, a fairly well established Twitter account tweeted about the glory of Scott McTominay, causing quite the stir among the tactics and analytics community. . So with that, I analyze just how good Scott McTominay actually is, and whether or not we should be thinking of the Scottsman along the lines of @EBL2017, in line with the outrage sparked from the tweet, or somewhere in the middle. Here is my analysis of how good Scott McTominay might just be.
As the ball-dominant magic-wand sorcerers in central midfield, 'Midfield Maestros' accomplish feats that few other players would be capable of showcasing to the world. They ooze class every time they touch the ball, always looking dangerous as they dribble, carry or skillfully dance their way around the opposition. But beyond technical precision and pizzazz, 'Midfield Maestros' might be some of the most tactically adept out there, possessing the awareness of space that very few have mastered. Here is our analysis of the Midfield Maestro.
The 'Tempo Setter' is a unique player type to our system, taking into account the possession-based players that operate in a 'number 8' position, and thrive when given the ball in the half-spaces. Youri Tielemans, Christian Eriksen and Jordan Henderson feature as some of the best within the role from an emblematic perspective, perfectly exuding the cucumber coolness required. But the likes of Thiago and Tchouaméni also stake a claim despite their extreme exceptionalities on the ball, due to the high influence they present in keeping the game moving along from a withdrawn position. Beyond the streamlined skill of Thiago, they tend not to be the flashiest of players in their teams. But 'Tempo Setters' are key to setting the tone of a football match, and conducting the orchestra from start to finish. Quite simply, without their class and composure in possession, the whole entire musical production could crumble.
As goal-contributors, defensive warriors and midfield engines all wrapped up in one modem, 'Box to Box Midfielders' end up being some of the most imperative members of their squads. Unlike other midfield player types, they consistently catch the eye for their attacking performances, even when deployed in a deeper, defensive, 'number 8' role. The likes of Conor Gallagher, Sergej Milinković-Savić and Georgia Stanway perfectly encapsulate the role, helping us to qualify and quantify more of these 'Box-to-Box' engines in the future.
Not all 'Shuttlers' get the credit they deserve, even despite being absolute engines and motorcyclists for their teams. They respond brilliantly at all ends of the pitch through that tireless energy and appetite for the game, whilst prioritizing a defensive approach to life in football. N'Golo Kante serves as a perfect reminder of what 'Shuttlers' should strive to be - a player who wonderfully goes box-to-box with ease and admiration, without mitigating their resolute defensive responsibilities.
Throughout his prestigious career, Jorginho has forever been criminally underrated. When moving to Chelsea under the influence of Maurizio Sarri, Jorginho repeatedly became the subject of media conversation over his role in not providing the same defensive gusto as N'Golo Kante, even though he was never meant to. The conversation sparked a new role for Kante that he still plays in to this day, where the Italian midfielder continues to operate as a quintessential 'Deep-Lying Playmaker' (DLP) for the team. Not only that, but it helped to reshape and restructure the conversation about defensive midfielders in the modern game, and the importance of finding players that fit together within a functional midfield unit. Chelsea have done a lot right over the past few years, but the balance they've struck in midfield between Kante, Jorginho and Kovacic has been one of the key highlights.
Many of England's starlets have been achieving much deserved acclaim after their impressive tournament win, but an underappreciated star of the competition comes in the form of Martin Adeline, France's exceptional midfield destroyer. The 18-year-old left PSG just two years ago to grow his career elsewhere, and after playing 8 games this season in Ligue 1, he looks to have boosted his reputation a step further at the Euros this summer in Slovakia. The dynamic midfielder showed much promise for France at the competition, helping lead his team toward the semi-final stage of the tournament. Here is our analysis of Martin Adeline, and his performances at the Euros.