One of the finest sights in football is that of a quick-footed wizard beating players with ease before dispatching a killer cross or a spectacular goal.
We have seen some of the best dribblers in the world in England’s top flight, none better than the legendary George Best. But in these days of possession stats, quick passing and pressing, the art of the great dribbler has been made a little more difficult.
The Premier League still has its fair share of twinkle-toed full-back tormentors though – players who can beat an opponent in the blink of an eye and the threat they pose means they also cop their fair share of fouls.
Wilfried Zaha – Crystal Palace
The Eagles’ wing wonder is a classic case of opposing players resorting to fair means or foul, though sometimes he doesn’t help himself.
One of the most recognisable images in the Premier League is that of a wide-eyed Zaha sat on the floor with outstretched arms, pleading with the officials.
Usually he has a good case, but there have been occasions when the cameras have caught him employing the dark arts of deception.
But when he stays on his feet, the Ivorian star is one of the best in the business in being able to beat players in the tightest of spaces and with an ability to score stunning goals.
He’s been Palace’s most productive player since returning to Selhurst Park in 2015 after an unsuccessful spell at Manchester United, and now he’s the chief tormentor of defenders in the league.
Jack Grealish- Aston Villa
But there is one player who opponents like to stop more than the Palace man, and that’s Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish. He’s won the most fouls in the Premier League this season with a shin-cracking 127 – beating even Zaha into second place.
Grealish is Mr. Villa, a fan and the club captain. He plays with his heart on his sleeve but sometimes his passion overshadows the outrageous skill he possesses, turning quickly and caressing the ball with ease.
When the league is up and running again, the Premier League 2020 here at SBOTOP won’t make good reading for Villa fans and we reckon they’ll return to the Championship alongside bottom club Norwich City.
The best – if not their only chance of survival is a few more weeks of Grealish magic.
James Maddison – Leicester City
With 13 goals and 10 assists from 64 appearances since his transfer from Norwich City, Maddison has become one of the most exciting young players in the Premier League. And if he can find consistency, then he could become an England international fixture for years to come.
On his day, he is Leicester’s most creative player and that’s saying something in Brendan Rodgers’ group of highly talented footballers. He is also one of the best dead ballplayers in the league.
Dwight McNeil – Burnley
Turf Moor academy product Dwight McNeil burst onto the Burnley scene halfway through the 2018/19 season and at one point, he was the teenager with the most assists in European football – outshining the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s England star Jadon Sancho.
Now at 20, he’s an old fashioned winger who beats players, reaches, or nears the bi-line before putting in a pin-point cross for Chris Wood or Jay Rodriguez to convert.
Misty-eyed Burnley fans compare McNeil to 70’s icon Leighton James, called as the ‘Welsh Wizard’ who famously skipped past full-backs, and then dragged the ball back to beat them again.
McNeil doesn’t have that arrogance but he certainly has the confidence and has attracted attention from some pretty big hitters in European football, notably Juventus in Serie A, and Manchester United in the Premier League, with Leicester City also watching his progress.
Adama Traore – Wolves
Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves have been one of the biggest Premier League 2020 news again. After their first season back in the top flight culminated in a European adventure, they are up there again in sixth place and thriving in the Europa League.
Traore’s emergence as one of Wolves’ best attacking players has been a real bonus for Nuno. The Malian international is strong, quick, and can change direction in the blink of an eye, making explosive runs which have resulted in six goals and 10 assists in all competitions this season.
His dribbling skills are exceptional which makes him one of the best in England, sparking rumours of a return to Barcelona.
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